(Almost) Everyone knows about the housing crash that ruined many peoples’ lives and help throw the country into an economic tailspin.
Lots of people are aware of the government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that came from that financial ruin.
Few people have heard of the Hardest Hit Fund, which was for all intents and purposes a “bail-out” for the states that were…you guessed it!…the hardest hit by the housing crash.
I happened to stumble upon the site and said “what the fuck, I qualify so let’s see what happens”.
My Experience With The Housing Market Crash
I purchased my home at the end of ’06 which apparently was pretty much the top of the market.
2 years later, I was laid off, and out of work for 9 months (yet I never missed a single payment of any kind to anyone)
Then when the market tanked half of my development went into receivership due to non-payment of mortgages or HOA dues, or abandonment and the valued took a nosedive so there was no chance of me being able to take advantage of “historically loooooow rates”.
I got no assistance with my own mortgage using the original HAMP and HARP iterations, and you can read the story of how HARP 2.0, the revised HARP program helped me (barely) and that was a pain in the ass from beginning to end.
Still, I have yet to miss a payment or even make a late one, and I’m tired of being punished for being responsible damn it!
So, I decided to try this program and see if I can finally get some help considering I’ve been screwing myself by continuing to pay a mortgage on a property that isn’t worth even 1/2 of what I owe, and being the good little boy I was raised to be and not simply walking away (thereby saving me tens of thousands in the process).
My Dealings With The Hardest Hit Fund
Monday September 29, 2014
This is the day I discovered the Florida’s Hardest Hit website. After reading through all of the qualifications and benefits, I realized I may finally be able to get some relief for my (seriously) underwater condo.
I filled out the application online, then sent my advisor the entire support document package: bank statements, loan statement, last 60 days of pay stubs, copy of the deed, etc. I would later read that I didn’t need to do all that until I was contacted when the application was approved (but I figured the whole process may be smoother if I get everything done quickly and as complete as possible).
Wednesday October 1, 2014
Ah, the day every person applying for anything dreads…the day of “More info Needed” subject lines in the old inbox.
So, I open it to discover that the advisor is asking for one more older pay stub, and copies of my social security card and drivers license. I kind of start panicking a bit as I’m very cautious with my personal information and wonder what the hell they would need the social security card and license for.
Then I realized that it doesn’t really matter much, as I already provided that information in the application package, so a shitload of fear disappeared and I was able to breathe again.
Within a few minutes of sending the remaining info, I got an email with an underwriting authorization form to sign and return. Could it be that easy? Is it really possible to get through the process with minimal time and energy spent?
I seriously doubt it, but for now I’ll just have to sit back and wait….
Thursday October 16, 2014
I hadn’t heard anything in a while, and, truth be told, I was trying my best to not even think about it at all.
What I did do, for whatever reason, was log into my CreditKarma account just to see what was going on there when I noticed it…
There was a hard pull on my credit profile from October 7th.
After a little research, I discovered that the pull was made by a company that works with mortgage and car lease companies, so I was a little confused since I wasn’t actually applying for a new loan with this program.
I sent an email to the agent handling my application, and after a while he got back to me saying that it was a routine check to make sure my mortgage was current.
Ok, no big deal, until….
He also said “Just received notification from underwriting wanting to know if you’ve received Hard Hit Funds in the past.”
That really got my blood pressure up a little because, after 2 weeks of not hearing anything, the underwriting department all of a sudden just happens to make a request for information the same day I make an inquiry!?
Then they say that on the very same day my situation passes the examination and the package will be sent to my mortgage company?
I’m not so sure about all of that….
Wednesday October 22, 2014
So it has been almost a week since this “consumer advocate” or whatever the firm is called supposedly sent in my application to my mortgage company for approval.
What do I do?
Of course I call Chase to see if there has been any activity on my account.
And wouldn’t you know it….there hasn’t been any activity on my loan account since the last time I contacted them.
So, the second I get off the phone with Chase, I head right for my email and fire off a message saying:
Just out of curiosity, has the file actually been sent to Chase?
I ask because I found it odd that 2 weeks had passed since I submitted the last of the documentation and nothing was ever requested by your underwriting and then the day I make contact they have a question and send it out. This also led me to follow up with Chase since it has been almost a week and they have nothing on file regarding any action or contact on my loan account since the last time I dealt with them.
I’m sure you can see how this would be a concern to me or anyone else in my position.
We’ll see how long it takes to reply and what kind of information is contained, but it’s fair to say I’m starting to get just a tad bit annoyed with how this is all being handled………
Thursday October 23, 2014
Shortly after I got into the office this morning I received a response from the agent handling my application. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was expecting:
Yes it was sent to lender as I previously mentioned. We still have not received approval as of yet. Your file is pending lender review
That was it, the entire response. No confirmation of the day it was sent, not mention of how or whether there was any proof of delivery.
Now, being an accountant, I get people bugging me all the time about whether we sent in their taxes or when their refund will come, but I’m able to give them peace of mind. I can send them an electronic transmittal verification, or an e-file acceptance notice so they can rest assured their documents were taken care of properly and when I claimed.
I figured at the very least I would be told “Sure, your package was sent to chase via [whatever delivery method] on this date”, but I guess that may be asking for too much.
So I replied:
See, that’s my problem…the lender has no record of any communication on my account after a week, which includes any documents sent on my behalf.
Then, I received a followup message:
You might not be speaking with the correct person and I have no idea what area it’s sent for approval.
We’ve seen this before where homeowners try to get information from lender while it’s pending review and most times if not all they are not being helped. You usually don’t get information until they receive funding
I was not very happy with this, considering someone should know what’s going on at that office, and if this person’t doesn’t then they should find out from someone who does know so that they can make me more comfortable about the situation and doing business with their firm.
Thursday October 30, 2014
So I finally received word from the agency handling my application congratulating me on the approval of my application!
They told me that once the final document package was received and subsequently forwarded to the state, the state would fund it within a week. I was also told that the mortgage lenders recast the loans during this process–applying the funds to the principal and then re-amortizing the loan thereby lowering the monthly payments as opposed to accelerating the loan payoff schedule–which is what I was hoping for.
So I rushed to print out all of the docs, sign them, get them witnessed, and literally ran over to the management office to have it all notarized so I could FedEx it back to the agent for final processing.
I wanted to make sure that the agent had it in their hands on Friday morning so that it wouldn’t be delayed any further by the weekend.
Of course after I caught my breath following all of my rushing to get the envelope in the FedEx box as quickly as I possibly could, I called Chase to find out exactly if the recasting information was true.
Well, come to find out, it was indeed true.
In fact, the recast was approved on October 24th, and I was further informed that a letter goes out detailing the payment info within 7-10 days, and that I should call back if I don’t hear anything by the end of that time frame, since there was nothing else noted on my account, and the underwriter assigned to my file was on her first day of vacation today.
Thursday November 6, 2014
After waiting for 2 weeks without receiving any information about the status of my loan, I decided to call Chase again.
I felt that I had given them the requisite amount of time to send me the notices I was told I would receive, so I was interested in finding out what was going on.
Again, the person who was assigned to my account in underwriting was not at her desk, although this time she was in the office.
The representative said that she would try to contact the underwriter for more information and call me back to let me know what the status was…..
Monday November 10, 2014
Well, as you can probably tell, I didn’t receive any phone calls from Chase since I was told that a representative would call me back.
So, I wrote a (fairly) scathing message to the mortgage division via its private message system:
I’ve called several times regarding the status of my Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund acceptance and subsequent mortgage recasting. I have been told several times that the casting was approved and done. I was also told that it was done on October 24th and a letter should go out 7-10 days after that to notify me of what is to happen.
Unfortunately, I have yet to receive any kind of correspondence, and each time I call, the person who was doing the paperwork was either on her first day of vacation or in the office but not at her desk . The last time, on Thursday November 6, I was told that I would receive a call back either when she got back to her desk or when someone was able to get some information for me.
I’m starting to get a bit frustrated at the lack of communication and information I have received during this time. No one seems to be able to connect me to the person handling my paperwork. No one seems to be able to give me information as tow what my payments are going to be or when this will take effect. No one is able to tell me why I haven’t received any kind of notification.
I would appreciate a call, and soon , as to what is going on with my account and why I’m having so much trouble getting the assistance I seek.
Thank you very much for you help I hope .
I did receive a call back within a couple of hours this time.
This time, I was given different information.
I was told that back on October 24th, the recast was indeed approved, but it wasn’t yet calculated because they have to wait until the funds are received and applied to the loan.
She had said that the funds were actually received on Friday November 7, and generally takes about 5 days at most.
She also said that she was going to personally take care of it and make sure that it received priority service, and she’d keep an eye on the account to make sure it was taken care of.
I was also assured that I would get a call and an email when the documents were finalized, and I could plan on hearing something by the 5th day at the latest, but it shouldn’t even take that long with the prioritized status.
Friday November 14, 2014
Well, guess what?
I never received any communication from Chase, so I called yet again around 3:00pm.
This time, at least there was activity, and this representative told me that the recast had been completed at 1:30, not even 2 hours prior to my call.
But, unlike all of the other times I had called, this time I was able to confirm that the process had been completed,
In fact, I was given the FedEx tracking number that the last of the documents to be signed were sent in, and you know what…
It actually was done when someone said it was!!!!
It’s scheduled to be delivered on Monday November 17, so we’ll see how long it now takes to wrap everything up and see the new payments reflected on my statement.