Today Citi told me that I am eligible for the HAMP. Even though I suspect that there will be many prickly hurdles awaiting me, this is still a small miracle. This was my fourth attempt at the HAMP in as many months.
July -- "not eligible for HAMP" [not true], "maybe you'll be eligible for a different mod". No other mod offers given. I fall past 30 days late.
August -- "not eligible for HAMP", wait, you are [after I gently scream at her, poor rep], "must be an error". HAM error dept never gets back to me.
September -- Loss mitigation tells me I'm not eligible for ANY mod [but I'm eligible for HAMP, they just don't understand that, so I read from the gov't website], ah yes, I am eligible for HAMP but I can't get it b/c "I'm not late enough and I have $ left over p/m -- that's just the way the gov't designed the HAMP" [LIE]. I fall past 60 days late. Offered a payment program to bring my account back in order. I declined b/c, surprise, if I can't pay my mortgage how could I pay more than my mortgage p/m?
October -- [Today] I get a call asking to make a payment and why I can't make a payment. I end up going through my SAME numbers with him that I did with the other three reps previously but this time I'm approved!!! I did not see that coming
After going through all the details, I asked him why I was approved this time where I was denied the prior three times. He said that he thought it was b/c the previous reps didn't fill in the form properly. The last HAMP question they ask is something along the lines of "How much money do you expect to have in the next 30 days?" The way it was asked the first three times made me feel that they were asking about how much money would I have left over after expenses, which is $0 (I even clarified if that was what they were asking with at least one rep).
According to this guy the question is actually asking "How much income do you expect to receive in the next 30 days?" And therefore should have been my typical monthly income not $0. I'm not sure if this is true, but if it is: should the Citi HAM error dept have picked up on that, yeah, they probably should have. Should more that 1 in 4 Citi reps know what they are asking for, absolutely. For the sceptical; Is it worded that way to create "errors"?
I'm suspicious that the magic ingredient wasn't that question being answered correctly anyway, but rather that I'm finally late enough for Citi's liking. Perhaps their secret NPV calculator approves of me being 84 days late.
I know this is getting wordy but I want people who are looking for clues re how to deal w/Citi to have any clues I can offer, so here are my basics:
$539,100 @ 7.875%, 5 yr fixed, interest only, adjusts in 2012. Paid 599K for house in CA, Nov 07, 10% down. Property is probably worth between $520K and $550K. Zestimate is $549K. Monthly payment is about $3518 interest + $567 property tax + $368 PMI, for a total payment to Citi of $4453. I pay an additional $115 privately for insurance.
2.375% principal + interest. Usual HAM adjustment in years 6-8 to 5%. New payment $2246.48 + $662.33 escrow (presumably just for property tax of $567) = $2908.81. What happens with PMI, I don't know. And I thought the insurance had to be in there too... The rep couldn't tell me the length of the new loan or what the new principal was, but using a mortgage calculator, it looks like it might be 28 years (same term length left now) on around $550K, which means they're rolling in about $11K that I'm behind. Apparently the terms can change [that's okay, I've come to expect nothing less from Citi]. First trial payment is Dec 1st. Docs to be recieved within 30 days.
Even if I add PMI of $368, that will mean I pay $3277 where I used to pay $4453. That $1200 p/m less will make the difference and allow me to keep my home. I am also lucky b/c in going from a interest only to an interest + principal, my true savings is double that, around $2400 (my interest payment will go from $3518 p/m to $1088 immediately). That's if it all goes through, of course. I know I'm just at the start of the HAMP road with Citi. But it still much better than the viewless sad ditch I was in.
For those still reading, here are some more clues re my income/expenses:
Income -- small business income declined significantly with the recession. I took a second job. I used to earn $16K p/m, now, with two jobs, I net half that, around $7900.
Expenses -- About 3880 p/m for everything other than the mortgage. If anyone wants to know the breakdown, just ask. With the mortgage/property tax/PMI my total expenses for the month are $8433.
Savings -- 0
As you can see, I've been running a $500 deficit for a while. And my monthly expenses does not allow for unexpected bills. Previously, Citi had calculated I was $900 over [wasn't true, they didn't ask for all expenses. You have got to point them all out to Citi]. This time, seeing that I was $500 down every month, maybe that made the difference this time.
Hope that helps some of you, if only to show that we should all keep trying. [I'm sure I'll need someone to point that out to me in 30 days when the HAMP agreement still hasn't arrived... and again when I calculate 31% of my gross income and wonder where Citi learnt math...]