Pam Marron Home Lending

Perception of Short Sellers is Half of Story

March 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Yesterday I had a conversation that hit me to the core, as so many have done over the past 2 years. I spoke with a mortgage banker in California who was calling to find out how to get the foreclosure code corrected on credit for a past short seller. I was elated, thinking here is another person in my industry that “gets it” and wants to help underwater homeowners. We dove into conversation and shared views about real estate markets in California and Florida.

I asked him about strategic defaulters as this was a topic he brought up. “How many strategic defaulters do you deal with?” I asked. His reply, “4 out of 7”.

“How do you know this, do you talk to these people?” I asked.

His reply was the pat answer of a majority of folks that I speak with. ”You can tell because they still have money and they are only late on their mortgage payment.”

That’s the definition and perception of a strategic defaulter to the majority of folks (who are not the underwater homeowners).

I have been in the mortgage business since 1985. For the last two years I have felt differently about short sellers, differently than everyone around me.

What I see is another side of the story.

For years, realtors have told me about clients who brag about how they got away with a short sale when it appears everything is status quo and good. Here’s the reality. Lenders don’t approve a short sale without a hardship.

 Every time I get a call, I have to drill for the gut of why short sellers are selling. This is not offered upfront unless it is obvious, like there is a death or a divorce. People are used to sharing their best attributes to get service, not their hardship. Oftentimes what I learn is not even known by their realtor.

I would wager a huge bet that a very large majority of underwater homeowners who approach a short sale are harder off than anyone, including the press, think. This is not meant to garnish sympathy for these folks. They don’t want it. Many cringe at the humiliating process that they see coming, being labeled as a “strategic defaulter” and dreading that their home sale may affect their neighbors’ home values. I get the call when their lender tells them they can’t give them help until they go delinquent on a mortgage payment.

Here is where the confusing blur between a true short seller and a strategic defaulter lies.

All of us have been brought up by the rule that good credit is needed to get a mortgage to “enter” and own a home. Short sellers are shocked to learn that in order to “exit” that home, they can’t just sell it unless they have the money to pay the difference. In order to sell a negative equity home, an approval must come from the bank. That approval is often tied to a verbalized implication that you must be delinquent on your mortgage in order to get the short sale approval to exit.

Why is this? Two reasons that I can see.

1.      It is an assumption that if you are behind on your mortgage payment, you must have a hardship.

2.      Servicing fees are paid to service delinquent loans

However, the idea that we are told that in order to get help, we need to do something so against what we have been taught… to pay our bills on time and keep good credit… is foreign to the majority of us. This is the reason for an overwhelming number of calls.

And I can attest that the lenders are outright telling these folks to be delinquent. I am on the 3-way calls with them and hear it.

Here’s a “strategic” default: when a homeowner purchases another home knowing they will default on the first home after that additional home closes. (Lenders already see this and guidelines require qualifying for both homes and hefty reserve requirements for both homes.)

I go back to the conversation at the beginning, with the California mortgage banker who perceived the majority of short sellers were “strategic” because they were only late on their mortgage payment. If we report those who pay the mortgage late but stay current on everything else as “strategic defaulters”, additional blame and consequences need to go both ways and placed on the lenders, who have made going delinquent on a mortgage a requirement in order to provide short sale approval. And, this is even after new FHFA short sale guidelines effective 11/1/12 that state FNMA and FHLMC mortgage holders can proceed with a short sale while being current on their mortgage and with a hardship.  

I am not going to get all “social worker” here. I am not a sucker who these folks have convinced with a bad story. If it doesn’t make sense to me, I have no problem telling them there is no way I will be able to convince an underwriter of their plight and why.  

Take another look at what you see, versus what you have read about on strategic defaults. The reason these folks are going delinquent is because this is the option they are given, other than handing over a huge pile of cash they do not have, to exit. Many of them are borrowing from others and their 401k’s to stay current on what they have. Many now have to exit, as they would also do if the home was not underwater.

Perception is only half of the story.

If no short sale credit code, problem persists in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Automated Underwriting System

March 17, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Erroneous short sale coding will continue to cause havoc in FNMA and FHLMC automated underwriting systems until we 1) make a short sale specific code and 2) place accountability for correction where “Dual Tracking” caused erroneous foreclosure code.

 

A good start. FNMA sees the the M-8 or M-9, per the following Desktop Underwriter Clarification, “DU identification of a previous foreclosure or preforeclosure sale” just out March 13, 2013. And they acknowledge…

  A preforeclosure sale or short sale is the sale of a property in lieu of a foreclosure resulting in a payoff of less than the total amount owed, which was pre-approved. At this time, there are no codes provided in the credit report data received by DU that specifically identify a preforeclosure sale.

 

FNMA

 Desktop Underwriter Clarification  

 The DU identification of a previous foreclosure or preforeclosure sale    March 12, 2013

Recent requests for clarification on how Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) identifies a foreclosure and a preforeclosure sale have been received. This document is being provided to clarify the DU identification of these significant derogatory events.

 Foreclosure Identification

When reviewing the credit report data received, DU reviews the manner of payment (MOP) codes and Remarks Codes associated with each tradeline, and the Public Record information to determine if a foreclosure has occurred.

Mortgage accounts, including first liens, second liens, home improvement loans, HELOCs, and mobile home loans, will be identified as subject to a foreclosure if there is a current status code or MOP code of “8” (foreclosure) or “9” (collection or charge-off); or if there is a foreclosure-related Remarks Code present in the credit report data and associated to the tradeline.

Interpretation: M-8’s and M-9’s (also an “8” in the payment history triggers this) and foreclosure related remarks will be identifier for foreclosure.

If a foreclosure was reported within the seven-year period prior to the report date associated with the tradeline, the loan casefile will receive a Refer with Caution recommendation and will be ineligible for delivery to Fannie Mae as a DU loan.

The statement above about “Refer with Caution” finding may be interpreted that an M-8 or M-9 IS a foreclosure and a resulting “Refer with Caution” will be considered correct. There is no explanation that the coding initially placed on the credit by a lender could be incorrect, or the distinction between foreclosure and a pre-foreclosure/short sale criteria.

Most underwriters are simply turning these files down upon receiving a “Refer with Caution” finding or requiring that the credit be corrected. Past short sellers who are eligible for a new mortgage are denied or prolonged from getting a new mortgage due to NO SHORT SALE CODE which is producing errors in credit repositories that reflect a short sale as a foreclosure.

The problem is STILL the incorrect coding, and there are two reasons why this error will continue to plague past short sellers in the mortgage industry and further:

1. Because…

a. Short sales are not common except for the last 4-5 years

b. Short sales are shown as a foreclosure most often on FNMA and FHLMC automated underwriting findings

c. many in the mortgage and banking industry don’t know there is no short sale credit code and the only indication is typically the statement “settled for less than the full balance” on a credit report

 … underwriters reflect that a short sale should be treated the same as a foreclosure and a denial backed up by the Refer With Caution is proof. In almost all cases, underwriters require the credit error to be fixed.

Hopefully, lenders will start recognizing this error and look closer, rather than issuing a denial with little or no effort to find out if the past loan can be proven as a short sale.

 2. Dual Tracking: though legally supposed to be halted, this practice of continuing with a foreclosure is still being practiced by lenders, even with a pending short sale and the homeowner in the process, and results in an erroneous foreclosure code parallel to the short sale. This is a major reason that many successful short sales show up as a foreclosure.

 NOTE: On loan casefiles where DU determined a mortgage or HELOC account was subject to a prior foreclosure, if the account was actually reported in error, or the foreclosure was the result of extenuating circumstances, lenders have the option to manually underwrite those loans (assuming the appropriate waiting period has been met) in accordance with the Fannie Mae Selling Guide.

 

Preforeclosure Sale Identification

A preforeclosure sale or short sale is the sale of a property in lieu of a foreclosure resulting in a payoff of less than the total amount owed, which was pre-approved. At this time, there are no codes provided in the credit report data received by DU that specifically identify a preforeclosure sale.

With DU Version 8.2 in December 2010, DU began issuing a message based on the presence of Remarks Codes E0047 (Settlement accepted on this account), T0140 (Settled for less than full balance), or R0107 (Account legally paid in full for less than the full balance) on a mortgage or HELOC account. However, because those codes can be used on any account for any reason, DU is not able to use those codes to identify a preforeclosure sale with 100% accuracy, so it is not able to fully automate the preforeclosure sale waiting period or eligibility requirements.

When DU issues the preforeclosure sale message the lender must confirm that the preforeclosure sale had been completed two or more years from the credit report date, and must confirm that the loan casefile complies with all other requirements specific to preforeclosure sales as specified in the Fannie Mae Selling Guide.

NOTE: On loan casefiles that receive a Refer with Caution recommendation because DU determined a mortgage or HELOC account was subject to a foreclosure (based on a current status or MOP code of “8 or “9”, as stated in the Foreclosure Identification section above), if the account was actually subject to a preforeclosure sale, lenders have the option to manually underwrite those loans (assuming the appropriate waiting period has been met) in accordance with the Fannie Mae Selling Guide.

Lender Responsibility

For all mortgage loans, the lender is responsible for reviewing the credit report, as well as all credit information, to determine that the credit report meets Fannie Mae’s requirements and that the data evaluated by DU was accurate.

If a foreclosure or preforeclosure sale was not clearly identified in the credit report, the lender must obtain copies of appropriate documentation for the event and ensure that the appropriate waiting periods and eligibility guidelines have been met. The documentation must establish the completion date of a previous foreclosure or preforeclosure sale.

Additional information is available in Appendix A of this document, as well as the Fannie Mae Selling Guide.

For More Information

For more information about these topics, lenders may contact their Fannie Mae customer account team; and mortgage brokers should contact their DO sponsoring wholesale lender.©

 

Appendix A: Fannie Mae Selling Guide Sections

The following section of the Selling Guide further describes how DU determines a foreclosure, provides information on the message issued on a preforeclosure sale, and is the official policy statement of Fannie Mae.

 B3-5.3-09, DU Credit Report Analysis

DU applies the following guidelines to prior foreclosures:

• Mortgage accounts, including first liens, second liens, home improvement loans, HELOCs, and mobile home loans, will be identified as a foreclosure if there is a current status or manner of payment/MOP code of “8” (foreclosure) or “9” (collection or charge-off); or if there is a foreclosure-related Remarks Code present in the credit report data and associated to the tradeline.

• If a foreclosure was reported within the seven-year period prior to the credit report date, the loan casefile will receive a Refer with Caution or Refer with Caution/IV and will be ineligible for delivery to Fannie Mae.

• If the filed date and the satisfied date of the foreclosure are both unknown, but it appears that the foreclosure occurred within the seven-year period prior to the credit report date, the lender must confirm that the foreclosure did not occur within the most recent seven-year period.

• Foreclosure laws vary by state and the time it takes to complete the process may vary by state. DU assumes that the date the foreclosure was reported in the tradeline is the date of the foreclosure sale or liquidation. The lender must confirm that all foreclosures are satisfied.

 Preforeclosure Sales or Short Sales

DU is not able to identify preforeclosure or short sales in the credit report data. Lenders must manually apply the preforeclosure sale requirements to DU loan casefiles, regardless of the underwriting recommendation received from DU.

DU will issue a message on loan casefiles where the borrower’s credit report indicates an account may have been released to a preforeclosure sale. The recommendation on the loan casefile will not be changed when this information appears on the credit report, though as stated above, the lender must ensure the loan complies with all other requirements specific to preforeclosure sales as specified in B3-5.3-07, Significant Derogatory Credit Events — Waiting Periods and Re-establishing Credit (05/15/2012).

 Note: B3-5.3-07, Significant Derogatory Credit Events — Waiting Periods and Re-establishing Credit (05/15/2012), also contains additional requirements pertaining to underwriting borrowers with a preforeclosure sale, short sale, or extenuating circumstances. DU is not able to identify preforeclosure or short sales in the credit report data, or whether the borrower’s derogatory credit history was the result of extenuating circumstances. Loan casefiles that receive a Refer with Caution or Refer with Caution/IV recommendation due to a bankruptcy or foreclosure action that was caused by extenuating circumstances may be manually underwritten if the lender has the appropriate documentation that these events occurred, the applicable minimum time period has elapsed, and the loan meets all requirements of this Selling Guide that pertain to manually underwritten loans.

 

 

Numerous Problems Surround Underwater Homeowners: To Get Short Sale Approval, Throughout Process, and Afterwards

March 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Problems Outlined. There are solutions. Anyone listening?

If you are having any of problems noted below, please email Pam Marron at pmarron@tampabay.rr.com or call 727-375-8986.

1.) Credit:

  •         Short sales incorrectly show up on consumer credit as a foreclosure. This one error extends the wait period before getting a new mortgage approval from the short sale minimum wait timeframe of 0-2 years to the minimum foreclosure wait timeframe of 3-7 years. 
  •         Why can’t this easily be corrected? Because there is no specific short sale code. 
  •         Previous short sale lenders and their attorneys usually will not change the incorrect foreclosure credit code. A credit code change can be made by a credit repair company that demands a downgrade of the credit code if the mortgage did not close as a foreclosure. However, this results in extra cost and further delay for past short sellers.  
  •         It has been claimed by credit reporting agencies that the erroneous credit code is also affecting other consumer credit of past short sellers.

2.) Credit and Denial through Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Automated Underwriting Systems:

  •          Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC) automated underwriting systems (AUS) are reading short sales incoreectly as a foreclosure, which results in a denial for the past short seller of a new mortgage after the required wait period.
  •          Mortgage underwriters are reluctant to override the erroneous FNMA and FHLMC AUS findings even when provided proof that the past mortgage was closed as short sale because of fear of buyback of loan  if nthere is no “Accept/Approve” through AUS.

3.) Problems Created by Ignoring Dual Tracking:

  •          Lenders have illegally proceeded with “dual tracking”, continuing to process a foreclosure even though the homeowner has entered the short sale process. This results in a “Foreclosure Started” credit code, which is then reported as Foreclosure, noting the (Method of Payment (MOP) as an M-8 or “8” on payment history.

Dual Tracking results in additional costs to get fixed and a delay of getting a mortgage for the past short seller.

4.) Banks Ignore FHFA Short Sale Guidelines Effective 11/1/2012:

         Banks are still requiring underwater homeowners to be delinquent even though the 11/1/12 FHFA Short Sale Guidelines <http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/24211/shortsalesprfactfinal.pdf>  which allows FNMA/FHLMC homeowners to be current on their mortgage. This needs to stop.
·      Though FHFA states that all ten 10 hardships listed on the Uniform Borrower Assistance Form 710  <
https://www.fanniemae.com/content/guide_form/710.pdf>  are eligible, lenders are still using the previous three “D’s” for hardships: death , disability, divorce and have now added relocation.

 (Note: Eight of the ten hardship reasons are noted on the FHFA Fact Sheet. However, Reduction in Income and Other: A Hardship Not Covered, are not noted on the FHFA Fact Sheet. Additionally, Legal Separation is not noted on the FHFA Fact Sheet with Divorce. FHFA has confirmed that all hardships listed on Form 710 from August 2012 are included.)

5.) No Refinance Program for NON-GSE Mortgage Holders:

  •          There is no refinance program for underwater non-FNMA or FHLMC conventional mortgage holders! There is a streamline FHA and VA loan for government mortgage holders. Conventional non-FNMA/FHLMC mortgage holders are beholden to investor rules which often require default on the mortgage before considering a short sale.

6.) HARP 2.0 Problems:

  •          HARP loans do not allow a refinance to an underwater homeowner with a past short sale for specific time frames. This can be a detriment to those homeowners in underwater areas where the likelihood of having another mortgage that may have had to short sell is high. Also, there is a difference between FNMA and FHLMC waiting periods for past short sellers who want to refinance with HARP:
      •  FNMA: won’t allow a HARP refinance on property if borrowers had a past short sale unless the current refianced home is at 80% LTV and it has been 2 years since the short sale, or at 90% LTV and 4 years after the short sale. This prevents many who have already had a past short sale from getting relief for a prolonged period of time.
      • FHLMC: will allow a HARP refinance on current property if the short sale was 2 years past.
  • Underwater homeowners are being turned down for HARP by current lenders because of the lender’s overlays, which may not be actual HARP guidelines. Underwater homeowners do not get the message that they may still be eligible for the HARP program through another lender without overlays.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A group in New Jersey called Loan Value Group, LLC (LVG) is successfully working with Arizona and a number of other states to contact, educate and convert eligible borrowers to HARP. LVG is the only company offering this service free of charge to the borrower and the state and so far, have acheived 80% contact rates and greater than 90% conversion rates. LVG could launch this program within 60 days to help the state of Florida! Learn more about what LVG is doing here!

7.) HARP 2.0 and VA Loan Refinance Ineligibility to Ex-Spouses, Widows, Widowers:

  •          HARP refinancing, which allows a refinance for underwater homeowners, is only available If the current mortgage holder is on the note. If the ex-spouse was give a quit claim deed to the home per the divorce but is not on the note, they cannot do a HARP refinance without the original note holding spouse staying on the mortgage. (How many divorced spouses can you find that are willing to refinance a home with their ex-spouse?) 
  •        On VA and FHA loans, the same holds true: widows and widowers who are not on the note but are on the deed and title as the spouse cannot get the attention of the bank to refinance the loan, for modification help or for a short sale unless they are late on the mortgage payment, which triggers the lender to contact them. Then, due to their late payment on the mortgage, they are not eligible for a refinance!  (If there was equity in the property, the widow/widower could simply refinance.)
  • HARP is the only refinance option for GSE held underwater mortgages, and an FHA or VA Streamline refinance is the only option for underwater government mortgage holders. When lenders refuse to work with ex-spouses, widows and widowers if they are not on the note, this problem can destroy the lives of the ex-spouse needing the refinance to lower payments, as well as the ex-spouse who holds the note, when the lender requires a mortgage delinquency in order to short sell a home.

8.) No Qualifying of Short Sales Before Submission by Most Professionals:

  •          Realtors and title companies are improperly entering prospective short sellers into the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program through HAFA, not HAMP. Additionally, very few are taking into consideration “waterfall qualifying criteria” which requires >31% front debt to income ratio in order to be considered for HAMP and >55% back end debt to income ratio in order to be considered for HAFA for a short sale, especially when proceeding while being current.

Often, underwater homeowners trying to apply for a short sale while being current are told that “the investor required a 31 day delinquency in order to be approved for the short sale”. This is in direct conflict with the HAFA guidelines that allow for Imminent Default, which means the ability to make mortgage payments on time with the threat of soon being delinquent if something is not done. In these instances, homeowners are turned down simply because they did not enter MHA through the modification route of HAMP first, but entered at the foreclosure alternative route of (HAFA) first.  

9.) Chinese Drywall Mold Repairs Required to Made Before Short Sale Approval

  •          Homeowners who have Chinese drywall mold problems are required to make repairs prior to getting approval for a short sale. Chinese drywall is a health hazard and has caused homeowners to move out when the mold begins affecting family health.  Some lenders do not know what Chinese drywall mold is, but lenders that do know require a costly and lengthy report to confirm that the mold is present. Then, lenders often require underwater homeowners to pay for the repair which can cost $20,000 and up. Frustrated underwater homeowners who don’t have the money for negative equity and then must short sale certainly don’t have the extra money to repair Chinese drywall problems.

Bright Spots and Challenges Ahead for Short Sellers

March 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Homeowners Try to Get Short Sale Approved While Being Current but Lenders Make it Impossible to Proceed!

Short Sale Bright Spots

There are some bright spots.

Lenders like Wells Fargo and Chase are doing the right thing with portfolio loans, allowing underwater homeowners to proceed with a short sale without being delinquent.

Institutional investors are coming into areas and purchasing homes at nearly market price when the rent meets sustainability numbers. These same investors have deep pockets and rehab homes back to safe, livable standards and get the eyesores next door back in good shape. Some of these investors even allow for a rent-back, allowing short sellers time to repair credit and prepare for the next place they will live in.

And the Federal Housing Finance Agency provided a new short sale policy that allowed short sellers to get approved while being current on their mortgage payment, with hardships listed on the Aug. 2012 Form 710.

Challenges Abound

But that is it. Lenders are either unaware or are ignoring the other 6 hardships. Underwater homeowners that are trying to short sell while being current are STILL being turned down for the following reasons, even after the Nov. 1, 2012 FHFA policy that states they can be current:

  • The “investor” states they must be 30 days late to complete the short sale.
  • The lender disqualifies the hardship even though it is listed on the 8/2012 Form 710.
  • The lender tells them there are too many people they have to help that are already late. Why should they help someone current on their mortgage?

And, unlike a refinance that has equity, widows, widowers and ex-spouses in a divorce that were deeded or willed a home cannot get a HARP refinance or other refinancing for underwater homes unless they were already on the mortgage.

There is no credit code for a short sale, so when short sellers are in the clear to repurchase a home, their short sale credit is reported as a “Foreclosure” through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems. This can be corrected, but is costly, time consuming, and often results in further delay to get back into a home purchase.

Non-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage holders have limited mortgage product available to refinance, unlike the HARP 2.0 available for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Conventional  portfolio mortgages have NO options.

And, a good number of realtors blame underwater homeowners, holding them responsible for careless financing and low sales prices that keep values down in real estate markets. Though realtors desire listings of underwater homes, many are reluctant to help those that they perceive made the housing crisis what it is.

Attention finally coming to Short Sellers and Underwater Homeowners…. and Immense Thanks to all who are helping!

March 9, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

You know when you finally get somewhere when you have been trying for a long time, and it finally happens? It is finally happening, and thanks to the staff at U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis’s office, I am going to Washington, D.C. to share targeted problems of short sellers and underwater homeowners with agencies and politicians that can help with solutions.

I am extremely grateful to so many who understand the plight of these folks who are not able to exit underwater homes without major damage to their credit and most often, without proper direction that is no shorter than 4-6 months.

 Since the inception of this challenge which was never meant to be a challenge, the stories from across the U.S. and right here in the Tampa Bay area have bothered me to my core, and the folks that are helping have been troubled as well.

I am grateful to so many who have helped, many on their own dime when I couldn’t afford their services in this fight.

Attorney Chae DuPont, with Morris and DuPont Law Firm, who taught me there is a way to qualify homeowners for a modification and short sale, who is brilliant at finding the best avenue for underwater homeowners that takes into account the WHOLE picture, including education and preparation for what happens after the fact. To attorney Julan Mustafa with Morris and DuPont, who has referred countless folks who he thought I could help when they weren’t in need of attorney services. To the” dynamic trio” staff at Morris and DuPont, who are pit bulls at getting to the final resolve for the clients, and who are an inspiration to me to keep going. And Jorge Fajardo, head of Loss Mitigation, a veteran mortgage professional, who can understand the mortgage technical aspects of incredibly complicated situations.

To Marilynn DeChant, owner of DeChant Public Relations, who introduced me to Shahra Anderson, Executive Director for Senator Bill Nelson, and who, along with much help from business partner Lia Gallegos, helped me quickly get together a White Paper that went via Ms. Anderson to the White House last year.  Ms. DeChant has continued to support this effort and arranged to meet with Greg Giordano at (now) Fl. State Representative Mike Fasano’s office and has been at meetings with U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis’s staff.    

To the staff of U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Elizabeth Hittos and Michael Ciminna, who have helped us with aspects of this problem since August of 2012, and have offered guidance to key people for this trip. To Michael Ciminna, thank you for your efforts to help our veterans and to Elizabeth Hittos, for your support of bi-partisan solutions on this underwater housing crisis affecting so many in Florida. And thank you to Senator Bill Nelson’s Executive Director, Shahra Anderson, for working with us on behalf of Senator Bill Nelson’s office, and for your bi-partisan efforts with the staff at US Congressman Gus Bilirakis‘s office.   

To Greg Giordano at Florida State Representative Mike Fasano’s office, who heard the plight of underwater homeowners and short sellers and who got Fl. Representative Mike Fasano on board with a plan to bring an expansive platform of help to these homeowners in the near future.

To realtors Roxanne Amato and Lorraine Seddon with Future Home Realty, who gathered important statistics on numbers of underwater homeowners affected in Florida starting in April of 2011. This was the beginning, as an eerie loss of buyers was the hunch of major problems coming.

To realtors Laura Bech/ At Home in Pasco and Diane Chisholm/Prudential Tropical Realty, who gave me my first clients who had past short sales and helped me learn what these folks were REALLY going through.

To realtor Christie Johnson, Remax New Dimensions, who I met thanks to Marilynn DeChant. Christie strongly sees the value of helping underwater homeowners who want to be current on their mortgage but proceed with a short sale. Christie Johnson referred me to Robin Furer, First National Title Services, who arranged a meeting with Laura Salemme, First National Title Services owner. Laura Salemme, very experienced in title but also a veteran mortgage professional, clearly saw the challenge of helping short sellers proceed while being current, and was willing to hire a person who would do nothing but meet this challenge. I am grateful to FNTSDirect.com for looking forward to what this means…. to help these past short sellers get back on their feet and re-enter the housing market with credit intact. This is the title company I will recommend to all.

To Realtors Jim Chapman and Dan Stephenson with Prudential Tropical Realty, who saw the ”pinpoint” of credit problems I saw coming, saw WHY we had to correct it, saw the benefit it would provide to the real estate community and provided the first support.

To Gunther Flaig, builder/developer in Tampa Bay, Florida, who recognized that correcting this problem could affect the ability of new homeowners to come back into the real estate market. Many homeowners coming into model homes cite they’d love to buy a new home but can’t due to constraints of selling an underwater home. Gunther saw that paying attention to this and helping these homeowners  to keep their credit intact can help these folks prepare themselves for a new purchase after a short sale.

To the clients that worked so hard with me to get approved for another home when they met the REAL guidelines of a mortgage purchase after a short sale. You know who you are, and I am grateful that you allowed me to get involved to learn how to help. That’s the only way. I know these folks are humiliated by press that slanders them as a “strategic defaulter” when they were given no choice but to be delinquent by their lenders. Most of these clients will not go public with problems they are encountering, comparing it to a divorce: they thought they were done and then I make them relive the bad experience again. Thank you for facing this and getting through it.

To Ken Harney with the Washington Post, who “gets it” and has enlightened me to all sides with his thought provoking articles.

To Terry Clemens, Executive Director of the National Consumer Reporting Association, who encouraged me to keep up the fight last year before the election when I became angry that the problem was ignored because of the election.  Much was going on to help behind the scenes. Terry Clemens and Renee Erickson, another NCRA board member and with Acranet, Inc., invited me as a speaker to the NCRA Conference in Dec. 2012 where I met many credit agencies facing the same problems I was having. This conference is also where I met Tom Oscherwitz with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and was able to present the serious credit error of a foreclosure on short sale credit that is stalling past short sellers from re-entering the housing market. Because of Mr. Clemens, along with Mr. Oscherwitz and with the help of Avantus Credit, we have been able to see problems in back end code on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac automated underwriting systems.  

To Frank Pallotta, Managing Partner with Loan Value Group, LLC, (developers of the Responsible Homeowner Reward program), who is now working with Arizona and many other Hardest Hit Funds states to help eligible underwater consumers with the benefits of the HARP 2.0 program when additional lender overlays prevent an approval. This is an important program that every state that has underwater homeowners needs to seriously consider. Frank Pallotta also provided me a path at the beginning and shared contacts that could help at high levels. Locating those who truly see the plight and can help was critical.

To Joe Gendelman, Fl. Regional Director for National Credit Federation, who patiently figured out a way to get creditors to correct the erroneous error of the foreclosure code when the loan closed as a short sale. He is also regional director for Business Credit Ally which helps business owners separate their personal credit from their business. Small business owners are fearful of what delinquent mortgage credit will do to the growth of their business.

To those of you with select lenders who are doing the right thing and not requiring underwater homeowners to be delinquent while they proceed with a short sale. You know who you are. I cannot name you, but wish I could.

To those of you at the U.S. Treasury: you have helped more than you know… to listen, intervene and direct to the proper resources when homeowners and I have been at the highest frustration. You have helped with FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac connections.

To the present housing department at the White House: keep pushing The Plan to Help Homeowners Refinance rolled out by President Obama in March of 2012 that can help many of the 16 million underwater homeowners that do not have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan and cannot take advantage of HARP 2.0. It was your fact sheet that showed us how a shorter term mortgage could get underwater homeowners back into a positive equity position.     

Grateful to all, Pam Marron