At the end of May 2008, I was laid off from my job of 4 1/2 years.
Unfortunately, the company couldn’t maintain it’s then-current employee base.
I wasn’t too worried, as I had plenty of savings to cover almost 6 months worth of expenses.
Plus I had been working on building AccountLancer, which hopefully was going to start to take off soon.
And, to be quite honest, I thought that I wouldn’t have that much trouble finding a replacement job (didn’t we all).
Well, as it turns out, it took me almost 8 months to find a steady gig .
There were some temporary projects in between that helped.
As many people out there can attest to, I needed to swallow my pride a bit and take somewhat of a pay cut.
Then the Obama Administration’s “Making Homes Affordable” program came to pass.
It was supposed to help the millions of people in trouble with their mortgage situations, so on September 19th, I finally decided to check it out.
Since Chase is my mortgage servicer, I started there, going to their page outlining the steps to take.
This was a bit confusing to say the least.
Step one was to call to discuss the situation, which on its own made sense.
However, the second and third steps were to explain what had happened and gather the information, respectively, which made little sense.
I would tend to think that gathering the information would be the most important step in the process, since being organized and having all the pertinent information ready would be necessary to complete the other step.
Then, you should call the service center and discuss your situation, having the ability to reference the information you gathered to best provide the representative with anything they may need.
The last step was to download and complete the documents, which seemed like an entirely new mortgage application:
- personal information sheet
- employment verification
- personal financial statement
- statement of monthly expenses
- summary of the circumstances surrounding your request
- as well as all of the prerequisite pay stubs, bank and investing statement and anything else that supported your valuations on the financial statement.
Well, I did things my own way by filling out the document package first, figuring that if I had everything all completed and organized in front of me, that I would be in a much better place to provide the representative with anything they may need.
So, after spending quite a bit of time filling out everything and completing the summary as best I could without writing a novel, I made the call.
As it turns out, the woman who answered my call (after only a few seconds, which was a welcomed surprise!) informs me that there is no phone call necessary.
There is no”pre-screening” process by which any of your information is put into a database or an account agent assigned to your particular case.
All you have to do is complete the paperwork and submit it to them, plain and simple.
She was very knowledgeable, I must say, as I asked a variety of question that didn’t necessarily apply to my situation but which I was curious about nonetheless.
One of my main concerns for my own situation was the use of an appraisal in determining worthiness of any kind of assistance.
I found it particularly interesting that among several sites, my residence could be valued anywhere between $72,000 and $219,500 which is quite a spread, so that is what lead to my curiosity.
I know for a fact that there have been many foreclosure sales in my area, and judging by some of these websites that “value” properties on the internet (including Chase’s own estimator), that they are taking these sales into consideration when valuing a property.
I also know that appraisals are generally supposed to exclude distressed sales such as foreclosures, so I wanted to know what I had to look forward to.
She informed me that there was no appraisal, since I was only looking at a rate adjustment, and therefore, there would also be no fees or closing costs unless I went with a straight refinance.
After everything was said and done, I took my packet, walked over to my fax machine, and sent it on its merry way over to Chase, as I was told that when using this method, the application gets logged within a few hours.
I also sent another set via FedEx the following Monday morning just to be sure that they would receive the entire package since I have plenty of experience with not getting faxes, or having the recipient’s machine have difficulty.
Now, for the worst part of the whole process:
I have to wait 6-8 weeks for the application and documents to be reviewed and processed and for them to notify me of any decision!
That seems like a very long time considering the goal of this program is to help people in need.
I mean, in 2 months, someone can go from being current with their payments to delinquent and get disqualified from this particular aspect of the program, thereby having to switch to one of the other options, and starting all over again.
Then again, at least the government is doing something to help the people it serves, rather than just the companies this time.