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Woman made loan modification; bank sold house

November 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
What would you do if you thought you had a loan modification but the bank sold your home anyway? One homeowner went through that experience. Here's what to do to keep it from happening to you.For more than 50 years, Cheryl Dameron's has lived in her home.

"I love this house and I've known my neighbors since I was a little girl," said Cheryl.

After Cheryl's mother, Betty, passed away, she took control of the Brea house. But then the economy cut into her finances and Cheryl had trouble making the mortgage payments.

Her lender, Wells Fargo, then sent her a notice of default, the first step of a foreclosure.

"Then I contacted them about a loan modification. We made an arrangement and I went through my probationary period fine," said Cheryl.

Then a few months later Cheryl received a letter from Wells Fargo offering her a full loan modification, which she says she signed and sent back to her bank.

Cheryl figured it was a done deal, but her troubles were far from over. At about the same time, without Cheryl's knowledge, Wells Fargo sold her home.

"I came home and there was stuff plastered all over my front door saying that my home had been sold," said Cheryl. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't know where to go, who to turn to."

So Cheryl turned to attorney Khuong Tien, who says large banks typically have one department handling loan modifications and another for foreclosures. That, he says, can be a problem.

"Quite frankly, when you have not only large banks with so many different departments dealing with one another, and then you have additional parties, eventually things, invariably, something will go wrong," said Tien.

So I called Wells Fargo to get their take on Cheryl's problem and was told the sale of her home was being rescinded and Cheryl should be able to stay in her home.

The company e-mailed a statement: "We are pleased that we have been able to offer Ms. Dameron a loan modification, which we are working toward finalizing. We work hard to keep our customers in their homes when they encounter difficulties. Foreclosure is only a last resort after all available options for keeping the customer in the home have been exhausted."

Wells also has some advice for homeowners with mortgage troubles:

  • Call your lender if you are having trouble, or think you may have trouble making your mortgage payment.
  • When you call your lender, be sure to have account information handy.
  • Don't ignore the problem. The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan.
  • Open and respond to all mail from your lender.
  • Call your lender frequently.
Wells Fargo is planning a home preservation workshop next month.

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