It was now 2008 going into 2009 and the housing market was getting a little shaky. Across America, people were buying homes, investing in mortgage-backed securities and using hedge funds to buy whole communities. My neighborhood was changing too, and I could see the effects. My neighbors on both sides had left and were gone. The old lady got moved out by her family and the family with the kids on the other side of me ended up moving as well.
New people seemed to keep showing up walking up and down the street as I would sit on my porch and think to myself, who in the hell is that? As I watched the news, I could see the effects of a “housing crisis” but could not understand what was causing the problem. Had people just randomly stopped paying their mortgages? Was there a domino effect of banks failing? Were the loan officers shady and stealing payments? I had no clue. All I knew was that I started to see a ton of homes being boarded up and abandoned.
Everywhere. No neighborhood was safe, just some areas had more foreclosed homes than others. My home was is the 44105-zip code, close to Slavic Village here in Cleveland, Ohio. This was the hardest-hit area in the world dealing with predatory lending and foreclosures. This area is still trying to make a comeback to this day. It is truly a sight to see when a street full of homes have been foreclosed on. Where did they go? What memories did they leave behind? It made me nervous, but I kept focused. I had already been homeless once; I was not entertaining that thought again.
I started to get a lot of financial and mortgage-related documents in the mail. During this time, I learned that my original loan was sold to another bank.
Wow. That’s awesome. I had no idea that my whole home loan could be sold and traded like a baseball card. Hmmmmmm………what was that about? I was sent a letter letting me know of the changes and the new address of where I could send my mortgage payment. I was current so there was no actual change except for the payment address so I wasn’t too worried, yet.
Life was still good. As time passed the new financer of my mortgage was now sending me flyers and cards in the mail, calling on the phone, warning me of the possible stock market highs and lows and how it could affect my mortgage rate. They strongly encouraged me to refinance now and get a better rate to lock my mortgage amount in and secure my home. Up until that time I believed I was secure and locked in already. This was all new to me. I called and talked with a loan specialist. My new mortgage company was on Som center road. I had no idea where that was, I was still doing all my working, shopping and daycare activities on the westside of Cleveland. The mortgage company stated that it wasn’t a problem and that they would make an exception and come to my house to talk business. Alrighty then, let’s get this ball rolling.
Two men came, they explained that because there was an impending fear that home values were teetering and could crash any minute, it was best to get a better rate. I would have to refinance my loan, to allow me to get lower monthly payments, spreading the payments over a new extended mortgage but locking my rate because now my loan was higher and worth more as a security backed interest. The Security backed mortgages, interest dividends, re-finance, rollovers, market value, and inflation were all words that I was not familiar with. I should have purchased a financial book, but Instead, I trusted what they said and believed them. They were in my home trying to help me, or so I thought. How nice of them.
I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess up my housing so protecting it sounded like a wise thing to do. I agreed, signed and was refinanced. I used the extra cash to pay down all my bills again, pay off my car loan and put some money to the side after taking us for new clothes, shoes and an afternoon at Chuckie Cheese’s, the kid’s favorite. I was the new Clair Huxtable, I loved it.