Lisa Muntean


These are taken from our 100 Stories of What Wall Street Broke Tumblr page

As a homeowner, I would have never suspected that the decision to buy a house would end up tearing my life apart rather than securing my future. Like many, I thought this was a huge pivotal point that responsible people come to.

I purchased a home in 2007, even waiting over 6 months for the price to go down on the house I fell in love with as the market continued to fall. I lived in the house until 2011, when I could no longer afford the payments.  I called the bank to see if I could receive a modification on the loan to only be told that I don’t qualify for a modification because I am not behind in my payments.  I continued to point out that without assistance, I will become behind which is what an ethical and moral person is worried about, being responsible.  The lady went on to explain to me that if I didn’t pay the mortgage, I would not qualify to refinance the loan because I would be ruining my credit rating. I could not afford to refinance anyways, if I had the money for the fees then I would HAVE the money for the payment!

I had decided early that I had to put my family first especially being a single mother; my children and I had to have our basic needs met and the bank had made it very clear that any money I tried to apply to the loan would be a waste unless it was the full amount and consistent, we could be kicked out anyways. After 10 months of non-payment, the bank called and wanted to work out a modification! I had already moved out to an affordable rental many months ago. This is all I wanted many months ago prior to removing my family from their home and paying moving costs.

After wondering if it even made sense to take them up on their offer, I decided to follow through after all and try to rent the house out since I still would not be able to afford to live there or to move back. The bank set up a staggering 40 year loan and the mortgage was still higher than I could rent it for. I was determined that there was a “right” way to do this and that if I was dedicated I would still be able to make everything work out to save my integrity and credit. I rented the house out for $200 less than the new mortgage amount, and paid the difference myself. I used the deposit they gave me to properly prep the house (paint, pool, sprinklers, utilities on, and AC repair), and pay for rental documents. I chose a family that the father was a handy man by trade to hope I wouldn’t get any calls to fix anything, since I couldn’t!

After a year, the family had a loss of a job. They decided as a family of 5 to move back in with their parents. I did not charge them for the last month of rent to make up for the deposit money I had spent which puts me a month behind on the mortgage. I knew that renting the house again would not let me make up for that month that I could not afford to pay myself.

With a deep need to ‘fix’ it again, I had convinced my mother to move back into the house with me and the kids. I figured that I would keep paying the mortgage even though it was behind and catch up with my tax return. I called the bank thinking that they would be happy with my intentions, that I was still not willing to give up like most already had.

I put in my notice with my landlord and was ready to move back in until I got a call from the bank that said that they could not wait until my tax return came for the missing payment even if I continued to pay the other payments just staying 2 months behind. I could APPLY to re-modify again if I wanted, BUT they could not guarantee it would go through because it may be too late already, that I may be kicked out if I move back in. I could not believe the effort I put in to just hit a brick wall and they didn’t seem to care if I tried or not! They even went on to freeze my checking and savings accounts, actually stopping my direct deposits including my child support from out of state.

These people not only had no respect for someone really trying and sacrificing to be responsible to them, but they didn’t care that they had blocked my source of income to pay my other (including ones to them!) and to take care of my family. I was even told that they froze my teen daughter’s account because I am the adult sponsor of the account, as she was saving for a car.

After attending PLAN’s homeowner’s town hall with Legislators hearing my story, several weeks later my daughter’s account suddenly was not frozen and I was told that it never was to begin with but mine still all are. I also learned from the attorney from Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada at the town hall that they don’t need to work with me; I had private mortgage insurance that the bank can claim.

My credit is shot, I have two kids ready to start their lives as adults and I cannot even take a college loan or co-sign a car for them. I can’t take out a college loan for them; my oldest is forced to stay here for school this year. Education is everything that I stand for; I wish I never bought a house.