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It might be too late to save Jenny and Robert Click’s Dale City, Va. home, but they certainly aren’t the only Virginians facing foreclosure over the holidays. In recent years, Fannie Mae and other major mortgage lenders, including big banks like Chase and Bank of America, pledged not to foreclose on delinquent borrowers during the Christmas season.
But in Virginia, where foreclosure timelines are among the nation’s fastest—the average foreclosure takes a record 631 days—the paperwork never stops and now the Clicks, like thousands before them, are taking uneasy steps to downsize their lives and figure out how they’re going to bounce back. (See 9 inspiring tales of homeowners who bounced back after facing foreclosure.)
Annys Shin reports in the Washington Post that the Clicks were victims of a series of refinancing scams, the worst being $70,000 in equity that felt like “free money,” but put a strain on the family once Jenny started suffering from severe back pain and had to apply for disability. (See how to avoid short-sale fraud and other mortgage scams.)
The story is all-too familiar for Virginians in Prince William county, where more than 10,000 of the county’s foreclosures flooded the pike in 2008. RealtyTrac, which follows foreclosure data, pegs that number at closer to 5,000 this year.
The Clicks seemed resigned to their fate—”Who wants our lives, we have nothing!” she exclaimed at one point—but their dramatic situation makes us ask: Should they just default on their mortgage? Though it would temporarily trash their credit score, as we’ve reported, a strategic default could buy the time the Clicks say they need to compile the first month’s rent and security deposit they’ll need to move into their pint-sized apartment.
Read the full article on the Washington Post.
Do you know someone whose home was foreclosed on during the holidays? Tell us in the comments.