I Lost My Home. Help Me Take on the Mortgage Bankers.

I'm posting this diary on behalf of Dan Smith. We got to know Dan while fighting back against the Mortgage Bankers Association opposition to foreclosure assistance. This is what he has to say...

My name is Dan Smith, and I'm an electrician with IBEW Local 952 in Ventura, California.  I lost my home because my mortgage broker lied to me about my interest rate.  I'm working with Progressive Future to take on the Mortgage Bankers Association and urge Congress to save millions of homes.  You can help by clicking here.

My wife and I sold the comfortable condo for which we had saved for years. We had figured out that we could afford to pay $2700 per month to share a bigger home with our one-year old daughter, with plans to have another child.  Our third month, we got a bill for $3600--33% more than we signed up for.  I called my broker and he said "didn't I tell you that you had a `teaser rate' that would go up?" No, he hadn't told me.  I was angry, but stuck--whatever they'd buried in the fine print was threatening everything I'd worked for.

After selling my truck and camper, working 80-hour weeks, and struggling to pay the increased rate for 16 months, I lost my home, I was left with a mountain of debt, and I ended up declaring bankruptcy.  I went in with a great credit score and a shot at the American dream.  I ended up deep in debt, bankrupt, with my credit shot.  You can view my full story here.

But, I'm not just sitting back.  I'm working with Progressive Future to confront the Mortgage Bankers Association and help make sure other families like mine don't end up out on the street.

The House recently passed a bill--at President Obama's request--to allow bankruptcy judges to adjust the terms of troubled mortgages.  Experts estimate this common-sense solution could save nearly 2 million homes--and I know it could have saved mine.

The Senate will vote on the same provision soon, but the Mortgage Bankers--the same people who got us into this mess--are fighting it.  They've spent nearly $20 million lobbying in Washington in the past decade, so they've got plenty of clout.  Progressive Future is collecting petitions telling the Mortgage Bankers to "back off" and I'd like as many people to sign as possible.

Thanks for helping out...and I hope you never have to go through what my family has over this past year.

Tags: Brave New Foundation, foreclosure, housing, Mortgage Bankers Association, Progressive Future (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: I Lost My Home...

Thanks for reading Dan's story. You can help us fight back against the Mortgage Bankers Association by clicking here.

by shelleyschreiner 2009-04-08 09:29AM | 0 recs
I am not sure sure I buy this

If I signed a mortgage, I would have read the fine print.

The mortgage rate and terms are clearly readable in any contract. If you have a variable rate, it says so.

In fact, one of the main determinants in the rate and type of mortgage you get, is whether or not it is a fixed rate, or variable rate mortgage.

This guy bought a home at a really bad time - the market was up, 2 years ago - then it tanked last year.

Whats more, a 2700.00 mortgage payment (the one he said he signed up for) at the common rates he would have got 2 years ago, means the cat is getting at least a 350,000.00 home. Which today would now be worth 200,000.00 by current market rates.

So he's upside down on his mortgage, working 80 hour weeks and paying 900.00 more than he'd planned. The neat thing about his trade is that
he gets a fairly standard hourly billing. Lets
take the lowball. Say. 20.00 an hour. Thats
an annual salary of about 40k, for which
a 300k plus home is not such a great choice -
but lets assume we're going to go with the lower billing rate for now.

Ok, so he needs to make up 900.00 a month -
he's going to have to make an add'l 225.00
per week.  Divide.  225/20= 11, lets say.
12 additional hours per week.

So he goes from a 40 hour week to a 52 hour week.
Welcome to the club. I work 60 hours per week.
He says he works 80 hours per week. If so, then
he'd be making quite alot more than he needed
to keep the mortgage going.

The main point I guess I'm making here, aside from the above points - is that mortgages are contract law, and you simply read the contract before you sign it. If the rate was variable, he shouldn't have signed it. The cat signed a variable rate mortgage, not a fixed rate.

I have no problems supporting the drive to get
better mortgage rates for people who can pay the mortgage back - but is this persons ordeal representative of the public at large?
Bankruptcy is pretty serious. Will this person actually get their home back, if the mortgage law thing gets passed?

Please help fill in the blanks here.

by Trey Rentz 2009-04-10 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: I am not sure sure I buy this

Don't disagree with most of your ideas: many people are living beyond their means. A 2,700 mortgage should mean that this carpenter should be making three times that amount to reasonably pay that monthly mortgage payment. He needed an $8,100 monthly income. He had to be making $97,200 a year. Do carpenters really make that kind of money?

The problem to some extent is the notion of the "American dream," which for sake of a better idea means living beyond your means.

However, if he was not told that his mortgage rate was variable, then he was deceived, no matter what his dreams were.

by MainStreet 2009-04-10 11:00AM | 0 recs
America is living beyond its means

1500 millitary bases?

Come on...

by architek 2009-04-11 06:04AM | 0 recs
I think that stripping the equity of the middle

I knew that this would happen - it seemed as if it has been planned for decades.

Loot a country before you pillage it, don't they say?

Stripping of equity is first step towards the creation of powerless disenfranchised people.

If you have no home, you can't vote.

Not long in the past, in US history, only property owners could vote.

In England, for a long time, only the unemployed (which effectively meant the aristocracy, who looked down on wage employment)
could vote.

(It was thought that people dependent on jobs could be told by their employers who to vote for,)

by architek 2009-04-11 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: I Lost My Home.

How the hell did he afford a 2700 a month mortgage in the first place?

As far as reading the terms, I think lawyers who "represent you" should be held liable for their rubberstamping contracts. They should be able to warn you of any irregular terms. You pay for their services after all even if the understanding is they are there just to formalize everything in legalese. They can take 5 minutes to go over the main points with you.

Also, where the terms were placed is important. It is highly impractical to read every single page of these kind of documents. If it was hidden somewhere on the 9th page, I think this guy has a case for fraud. If it was clearly in the area where the rate terms are discussed, the guy is a fool like half the country is.

by Pravin 2009-04-10 11:49AM | 0 recs
Propaganda tells us

buy buy buy.. They tell us the good jobs will come back, that they have a plan. "Green jobs" or whatever..

The fact is, they just want to keep taking our money until there isn't any more.

Game over.

by architek 2009-04-11 06:39AM | 0 recs
In the 30s

there was still some dignity in being poor..

In the 50s, they tore up the trolley tracks, and put the word out that only poor people lived in cities or rode busses.

They built new "modern" towns without sidewalks, They encouraged people to throw out the old, and buy new, each year.

A new car, new clothes, new TV, new cellphone, new wife, even if the old ones still are fine.

Just Say NO

by architek 2009-04-11 06:43AM | 0 recs

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