Bank of America made big news last week when they announced that they were indefinitely stopping all foreclosures and the sales of foreclosed homes because of the robo-signing scandal. In the press, this has been universally hailed as good news, taken to mean that families who are under water on their mortgages have more time before they’re kicked out by the sheriff, and may even have time to work out a deal to save their homes.
But I don’t see it as good news. I see the current freeze as more bad news for me and my family.
Among all the other things that go wrong in someone’s life during a divorce, finances become tighter and tighter. Take a sluggish economy and add a second household worth of rent and expenses, plus legal and other fees, and you can see why divorce often results in foreclosure and bankruptcy.
In our case, falling behind on our mortgage to the point that I was unable to make up the difference led to our house being foreclosed upon. All of Obama’s well-intentioned programs for loan modification didn’t work for us because qualifying for them amount to getting a camel through the eye of a needle. In the end, foreclosure was the only option.
So there’s a nice house in a nice neighborhood that’s been sitting empty for months. There’s a couple who has had a standing offer on the house since last February, but Bank of America and U.S. Bank (holder of the home equity loan) just can’t seem to get around to approving the offer and moving forward. They meant to delay the sheriff’s sale, but the person who works on the Pacific Time Zone didn’t get to work in time to call the person who works in the Central Time Zone (seriously), so the sheriff’s sale happened, even though there’s a buyer willing to pay what the house is worth. Three realtors and I have each spend literally scores of hours on the phone trying to get the banks to let this house be sold, all to no avail.
Meanwhile, I just want the house sold. Not only so that my old neighbors can get a new family on the street and not have an untended, empty house on the block, but also so that I can begin the long, arduous task of rebuilding my credit. This has already been a long, horrible, humiliating, and financially devastating two years. Bank of America and U.S. Bank’s continued ineptitude is only making my family’s journey through foreclosure longer and more painful.