It continues to amaze me all the things that are constantly changing in the world of foreclosures. Recently, I offered to do some research for friend facing possible foreclosure so that they can understand the timeline that they are dealing with. The mortgage company was the same as for one of my short sales and is where my personal mortgage is so I figured it would be worthwhile to do some investigation.
Being the analytical person that I am, I figured it would be easy. I track foreclosure notices in the paper daily and those usually state who the foreclosure is being processed by. So I start with the recent notices that should have had something happen to them. I check the Bureau of Conveyances (BOC) to see what documents have been filed on the previous (sometimes still current!) owner. There I can see the dates that NTC (Notice to Close) and when actual foreclosure papers are filed. This is all public information. I can also check the Hawaii Information Services records to see if/when the property title went to the bank. Then I would expect that the property become a bank-owned listing.
What I found was somewhat confusing. The NTC was usually filed by the bank that appeared to be the 1st mortgage holder. When you are looking at BOC information you need to pay attention to mortgage numbers, TMK’s and/or lot id’s to make sure who are comparing apples to apples. However, the actual foreclosure is posted and title transferred to a totally different bank. So I started investigating.
Most of the mortgage companies are mortgage servicers. They don’t hold/own the “Note” but merely service the mortgage. We know that many notes are held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You can check to see if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by clicking on the links and completing a short questionnaire. If it is not owned by Fannie or Freddie, it could be owned by almost anyone. This is where things get really interesting.
I asked around my office and got some more information and started doing some internet research. I can not possibly share everything I learned but in summary, if you are facing foreclosure you should find out. In some cases it is not trackable and if are lucky, you may be able to keep your house. I don’t know if this is a few, occasional or many!
Here are some good reference articles that I ran across:
- Who owns my note and where is it? My personal story.
- Lost Track of Who Owns Your Mortgage? Chances are You’re Not Alone
- Who Owns My Mortgage?
- Once a Mortgage is Originated, Where Does it Go From There? Who Ends Up Owning Foreclosed Loans?
This shows that the issues in the mortgage companies run deep but may work to your advantage. It is important to find out as much as you can and don’t believe anyone who promises anything. Each case is different and complex. There are far more mortgage, loan renegotiation and stop foreclosure scams than there are legitimate businesses. Don’t trust anyone who requires you make a payment right up front. Even with an attorney, I would interview several to make sure they have experience and are willing to work hard on my behalf.
Can you trust your real estate agent? First make sure they are a REALTOR who is bound by the REALTOR code of ethics. This means a lot. Since real estate agents are usually only paid when you successfully sell your home, they may encourage you to do that. But many realize that helping you may add more referrals in the future. Many agents don’t want to deal with Short Sales because they can be a long and frustrating process. Some agents are not familiar with the issues and complexities of foreclosures and short sales so ask a lot of questions to see what they know and how they may go about helping you. If you are looking for a honest and hard-working agent who cares about your personal needs, give me call.