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Baby Boomers can still retire, even on a tight income, by taking steps to stretch their dollars! 

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Be Prepared to Hear from Debt Collectors

if You Walk Away from your Home

How to Fight Back - One Person's Experience

 

Editor's Note: The contents of this article were contributed by a person who choose to remain anonymous.

 

I chose to "walk away" from my mortgage. I owned a small condo that decreased in value by fifty percent. It was no longer a good decision for me to make the payments, and the bank would not assist me, now matter what – I tried several times and approached several lending institutions. But because I did not have a “hardship” I could get no help.

I plan to retire in two or three years and if I had kept my condo, I would have ended up homeless. Fortunately, I was able to qualify for a new mortgage before I stopped paying on the condo and consequently purchased a new home. I was able to take advantage of a short sale and acquired a four-year old home for one-half of its original sales price. I will be able to make the payments on this home when I retire. Additionally, I live in a non-deficiency state and the original lender is not allowed to pursue me for the remaining balance of the loan.

My original mortgage was held by one of the major banks in the industry. When I quit paying my mortgage, they sold my loan to an aggressive mortgage collection company that disregarded the law in regards to a purchase money mortgage. I had no second trust deed on the property and the only loan I had was with the original lender – nothing more – the property was not encumbered in any other way.

The collection mortgage company called my office and continued to call my home up to 3–5 times  daily. Having worked for attorneys in the collection industry, I am aware of my rights. No collection agency is allowed to call your place of employment nor are they allowed to speak to anyone at your place of employment regarding the debt owed them. Additionally, they are not allowed to talk to ANYONE regarding your debt to them.

The first – and only – time the collection agency called me at my place of employment, I told them to NEVER contact me at my work again. They ceased immediately. They continued to call me at home. I answered the phone once and one of their agents was rude, threatening and bullying to me. According to the Fair Debt Collection Act, they can only contact you by mail if you request that mail is the only way you want to be contacted. Therefore, I wrote a letter to the mortgage collection company asking that they do not contact me at the following phone numbers – and I listed every number at which I could possibly be reached. It is important to send one letter by regular mail and one letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. Since my request, they have ceased calling me altogether and only send me letters.

If you make a decision to walk away from your property, you have rights. Do not let a collection agency bully or harass you – it is against the law, but they will attempt to take advantage of your lack of knowledge.
 

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