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Refinancing: Justice or Injustice

Who Is Really Paying the Price of Refinancing?

I just had a revelation, an incredible revelation.

I’ve been trying to refinance my home since May of this year.  No one wants to do it.  Why? Because I have no debt to speak of, I’ve never been late on anything (going back to 1974) and I’m not in the process of foreclosure or bankruptcy.  WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO OURSELVES?????

My parents taught me to be honest, forthright and do the right thing.  This has been my mantra my entire life (sometimes to my own detriment).  When it comes to life, my priorities are this: God, family and financial responsibilities.  In that order…

My kids and I always pray over our food, and thank God for another day in hopes of survival and treating others with the same courtesy we expect.  If I have to choose between going somewhere with friends or family, my family trumps that card.  Then the financials – mortgage, utilities, food, and “other”.  In that order….

So the questions I keep getting are “Are you in the process of foreclosure?” and “How far behind are you on the mortgage payments?” and “Have you filed bankruptcy?” and “Are you planning on moving within the next six months?” and my answers are always the same “No, zero, heck no, and with the current property values, I’m going nowhere!”.

You know I’ve written about keeping up your property to help increase values.  At my current pay, I need the refinance to continue to maintain and upgrade my property.  I’m one of the folks who are fulfilling my contractual obligations, even though my pay was reduced by half due to a layoff, and after six months unemployed.  I’m not trying to run away from a poor economy, or a depressed
community, I’m actually sticking in there trying to improve things.

I remember when home ownership was a privilege.  You had to meet a certain standard in order to get into a home to call your own.  Thanks to my fav…predatory lending…anyone could own a home, they just juggled the numbers and ended up getting folks in houses they couldn’t afford.  Then priorities ran amuck with expensive cars, lots of clothes and everything came before that contract. Incredible.  Now the folks actually living up to their promise are getting to pay for the ones who were just trying to take advantage of the system.

When did we get permission slips to run away from our responsibilities?  To break our promises?  I’ve had enough!  Now I’m being punished because the folks around me don’t have the wherewithal to do what they promised they would do.  They abandon their homes and move to another area not so depressed.  Vows mean nothing anymore, do they?  I mean think about it! Promise?  Only if it’s convenient at the time.  Honesty?  Well, we might tweak that for certain circumstances.  What happened to a home and family life?

Wake up, folks!  This is the real world!  This is your life!  Get a grip, take  ownership in what is yours, and develop it into what you like and want!  Adjust accordingly to survive.  This does not mean getting Food Stamps when you drive a BMW.  If you continue to bury your head in the sand, or run from reality, you will never be content.  However, if you’re happy and content with the way things are, then by all means, keep on keeping on…just don’t complain when things don’t go your way.

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Micah Scott September 04, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I understand and appreciate your delimma Marguerite but I have some questions...is your refinancing problem based on credit score or property values...or a combination of both? Or maybe its that your income is not falling at or below the level where 32% of your disposable income can be allocated for the estimated mortgage payment (I'm not sure of that percentage its been a couple of years since I went through the process)? It seems that nowadays these are the sticking points for financing and/or refinancing a home. And I agee that the homeowners that pay on time and meet their "contractual obligations" are the most overlooked in the refinancing process, but the blame for the conditions of the current housing market should be shared across the board. Home ownership is a privilege and "predatory lenders" (both large & small) use that American belief to relax lending rules, tweak numbers and allow people (both the innocent & the greedy) to buy more house than they could afford. It was only a matter of time before this house of cards would fall and in 2008 (or there abouts) it fell miserably. Its not JUST the homebuyers' fault...its not JUST the lenders' fault...Its not JUST the sellers' fault...its not JUST the builders' fault...like I said, there is enough blame to go around. Its just a shame that the ones being punished the most in this rebuilding of the housing industry are the same ones who kept the industry going through its darkest hours...
Micah Scott September 04, 2012 at 09:24 PM
(continued)"The honest forthright people doing the right thing"
Marguerite Girard September 04, 2012 at 10:38 PM
My credit score is great. They all said (including my own lender) "you don't appear to need help". That's the bottom line. Darn shame.
Bonnie September 05, 2012 at 04:07 AM
We purchased our home in 1989, choosing a modest home at 1/2 the cost the real estate agents told us we could qualify for. Good thing, as we have had our ups and downs. We tried to refinance our FHA mortgage a couple of years ago, but failed when the appraisal (at a cost of $450!) was below the loan balance. The mortgage broker said "Sayonara" and stopped returning our calls. This year, I found the FHA IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Loan), also known as a streamline refinance; there is also a VA IRRRL. No appraisal required, must be current on payments, with a decent credit score. Reduced our rate from 8.5% to 3.25%. Closed in a few weeks and lowered monthly payments by $450. Payback on closing costs was less than 3 months! The moral of the story: do not rely on a mortgage broker or a lender to help you find the best option for your situation. As with many situations in life, you are on your own to find the best path. The Internet makes information so much easier to find, but info on the IRRRL can be elusive. See the HUD information below. Do not rely on any other source: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/buying/streamli Also, approved lenders list: http://www.hud.gov/ll/code/llslcrit.cfm This is not a paid endorsement. I call this justice to those who have lived within their means and continue to pay their bills!
Joe Arrington September 05, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Ms. Girard has presented an excellent example of our national as well as our local problem. She has demonstrated how well intended government designed programs implemented by bureaucratic laden for profit institutions usually end up serving the self interest of both groups resulting in hardly if any help for those who need it most. The "fix" serves no useful purpose and the needed cure continues to be ignored.

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