Veteran fights to keep his home

FAYETTEVILLE, NC Michael Sydnor has fought a lot of fights while serving 23-years in the Air Force – but none exactly like the one with his mortgage company Wells Fargo. Sydnor told Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "It was like a big game, a big game." A game Michael says started last summer, when he was checking his mortgage options online.

Like many struggling through this current mortgage crisis, Michael was locked into an adjustable rate mortgage, and he was trying to change it to a fixed rate. When his adjustable rate hit 9.2 percent, his monthly mortgage payment jumped. Michael called Wells Fargo and a representative told him to send in his financial paperwork. Michael says he did that and waited. "I called in December and they said we don't have the paperwork," Michael explained. He says he resent his paperwork a number of times. Each time he called to check on the status, he says he was told he would need to send in his paperwork again.

Finally in March, Michael got a glimmer of hope when he got an e-mail from a Wells Fargo rep assigned as his loan negotiator. Michael says he did exactly what the negotiator asked but still heard nothing. Meanwhile, things were getting tighter in Michael's household. He tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "I had money setback for emergency but with misfortune I had previous year, I was pretty much tapped out, it was drained. I didn't want to foreclose on my house."

So Michael reached out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. He tells her, "I was sitting at work wondering if that Troubleshooter stuff works and you called me back and I said I guess it does work." After I got in touch with Wells Fargo, a rep immediately got in touch with Michael. The representative told Michael he was locked in at a rate of 7.5 percent and he wouldn't have to make a payment until July. That's right, Wells Fargo offered Michael a loan modification and changed his adjustable rate of 9.2 percent to a fixed rate of 7.5 percent. Michael adds, "I'll be saving about $500 a month that's just in my payment." Michael is happy with his new fixed rate and looking forward to getting back on track.

We do want to thank Wells Fargo for listening to us, assigning a loan specialist to Michael and working with him on his rate. It's not easy, but if you're persistent, you'll get answers eventually. Here are some tips if you may be facing foreclosure right now. Don't ignore the problem, the further you're behind in your payments, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan. Also avoid foreclosure prevention companies; you don't need to pay fees for that, instead put your money to pay the mortgage. And most importantly, don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams! If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you might just be signing over the title to your property.

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