The Washington Post recently reported on the plight of one such family from Prince William County, Virginia. Mike and Kathy Wales, with their two kids, were featured in an all-too familiar story concerning attempts at preventing the bank from foreclosing on their family home. But theirs is no ordinary tale...
The family had run into trouble with their mortgage repayments following a series of medical emergencies, involving their seriously ill son Alex. The 10-year-old had been diagnosed with a rare neurogenetic disorder, which had left the boy blind, and reliant on a wheelchair. His 13-year-old brother, Zach, also suffers from the disorder, but has so far escaped serious illness. The Waleses had been seeking mortgage modification with Chase bank, in order to stay in the family home.
Mike and Kathy bought the 3-bedroom home back in 2006, during a period when prices were exaggerated, and credit was considerably easier to secure. Initially, they were able to meet their monthly payments of more than $3,200, but things started to change after Alex underwent some intense, and lengthy, bone-marrow treatment at the University of Minnesota. The family's medical insurance covered the majority of treatment costs, but further life-threatening complications saw him return to Minnesota. While their son was in hospital, the Waleses missed a payment on the mortgage, kick-starting a process which saw the family receive a Notice of Intent to Foreclose from the bank, declaring that they were in default.
The couple, both Air Force veterans, continued to make significant payments but were not able to meet the full monthly amount, and before long, had fallen behind considerably. Unfortunately, attempts to arrange a modification were refused by Chase, on the grounds that the family's income was too high to qualify under the terms of the federal program.
This was despite having been told in early September, that their application had actually been approved. According to a Chase representative, foreclosure had been halted and the Waleses would receive the necessary documentation via FedEx as a matter of course.
The paperwork never arrived. Naturally concerned, Kathy Wales called the bank only to be told this time around, that their application had been denied. Within days a notice had been applied the front door of the home declaring that the property now belonged to Fannie Mae.
Following the initial Washington Post article, however, there has now been a speedy reversal of the foreclosure, and Chase have consequently proposed a modification to the Waleses mortgage. But Mike and Kathy, having had their fingers somewhat burnt by the bank, are taking no chances and are proceeding with extreme caution. It appears that the initial application was seriously mishandled by Chase, and although the family are encouraged by the institution's apparent change of heart, a decision will not be made by Mike and Kathy until they have had the paperwork closely inspected by a lawyer.
So, it looks as if things might just work out for the Wales family after all, and Alex will get to stay near his many friends and supportive neighbors in the home he loves. But, it goes to show just how easily the banks can get things wrong, and also, how flexible they can be when push comes to shove.
Northern Virginia REALTOR®
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