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Bank of America Won’t Talk to Us About Our Loan Modification. – Barbara

“Dear Steve,

I have written to you before and you were most helpful. Thanks

I got married 2 yrs ago and one or both of us has been unemployed for most of that time. Our home is in my husband’s name as he bought it back from his x-wife three years ago. My husband is working but not always getting the full 40 hours so our income is unpredictable. My unemployment will run out in a couple months.

We have two pieces of property, one in front with the home and one in the back of the property with a barn and an older mobile home on it. The property in the back is free and clear.

We have tried to work with Bank of America for a modified mortgage but that was like talking to a wall. We gave them the info that my husband had gotten a job but they didn’t respond to that information and refused the modification because they said we had no viable steady income.

I am 59 and my husband is a year younger. We have paid about three years on a 30 year mortgage and I can’t imagine how we could ever work until we are 87 to pay the home off. To me, it has become a noose around our necks. I am facing that reality, my husband is in denial.

I suggested my husband that he might miss a payment and Bank of America might be more willing to reconsider our loan modification but he refuses and seems to be in denial about our ability to hang on to the home and to work until we are in our late 80s to pay it off. I considered taking some money out of my retirement account so that some repairs can be made on the mobile home in the back of the property (on the condition the home is put into my name.) If push comes to shove, we can live there, and it could provide some rental income to carry us over the hump.

My question is this: Since the mortgage is in my husband’s name only, if I tap into my retirement account and we do loose the house, is there any way that Bank of America could force me to use the rest of my retirement account to cover the foreclosure expenses?

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Second question: This is the last month we can afford our health insurance. We live in Florida. Can medical providers take our home/land if we should have huge medical bills that we are unable to pay?


Dear Barbara,

Yes, I remember you mentioning the property configuration.

Bank of America has been nothing short of disgustingly horrible to work with on modification. The horror stories I have heard have been, well, remarkably bad.

I wish I have some hope the Bank of America would suddenly get their mortgage modification act together but I don’t that wish would come true.

The mortgage modification route certainly seems like a solution but let’s not lose sight of the fact that no lender is required to offer or grant a modification. The terms of the original financing need not be modified in any way. There is no law that I am aware of that forces or requires a lender to make any modification to the original loan, even if it makes logical and perfect sense.

Your suggestion of reaching into your retirement account scares the hell out of me. That money is certainly needed for the future but if you watch every penny closely the plan can make sense.

In fact it might make best sense to fix up the mobile home, leave the current home in your husbands name and keep your name off of it.

This might sound strange but it might just be the best bet is for you to stop making payments all together on the house. If you do it will get the attention of Bank of America but that is NOT a guarantee they will do anything on a modification. Again, they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

You could then use the money to instead pay the health insurance. A much bigger and more important debt considering your age and the fact that one surprise accident or illness could encumber the mobile home and piece of property you own free and clear.

Speaking of health insurance, you are in much better shape if you review your health insurance options rather than let the policy lapse. Maybe there are some more affordable options out there for you? The government has a good site to check on what options might be available for you. Visit and see what’s available.

If you stop making payments on the house, you keep your name off of it, then if the bank takes the property back your husband could file bankruptcy and discharge all the debts in his name, including any lingering liability for the mortgage.

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This would leave you living free and clear in your mobile home on your property and covered with health insurance. And that seems like the best outcome considering the situation.

Since the home is not in your name I can’t see any way Bank of America could suck you in. And medical providers can’t take your home or land but if you had medical expenses you could not pay you could be sued and a lien could be placed on the mobile home. If the mobile home and land is not in your husband’s name then his medical bills would not attach to the property of he was sued.

I think the bottom line is that unless you do something, nothing is going to change and the question for your husband is if he wants to hold on to the house or he wants a less stressed life moving forward and health insurance. Ask him that question for me and let me know what he says by posting his answer in the comment.

You did mention possibly renting out the mobile home but it seems that only makes best sense if you are making your health insurance payments and the rental income then allows you to easily make your regular mortgage payment on the house.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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