Welcome to the Fearless Innovator Podcast, my name is Mechiel Kopaska and I am your host.
Today’s episode. Are you facing foreclosure?
If there is one thing, I’m great at it’s vision. I have the tendency to envision how something may look in the end. I don’t want you to mistake this for creative ability because I clearly can’t even draw stick people. I’m confident this skill was developed because of the brains I hung around as a kid, which were my dad and my grandpa. Both of them were visionaries . I also believe that because I’m this way, I have the ability to weigh risk differently or even overlook risks that others may consider to be too risky. It’s kinda like jumping into the future and seeing the finished product without looking at the steps it takes to get there and just reacting and making it happen. There is of course, a downside to this way of thinking, things can come crashing down which creates new issues that perhaps you don’t think about.
This very thing happened to me but it’s how we react to the change or difficult time that matters.
After the closing on what I would now call my primary residence, if you recall I lived with the sellers for 6 months, so my plan to move forward with my vision was on hold. When we finally settled and they moved on, I was free to make my plan happen.
I had purchased 1.65 acres that had a double-wide trailer and a 2-story stick-built house. The upstairs of the 2 story was a 1200 sq ft house and downstairs was a 6 car garage. I lived in the upstairs unit. My goal was to sell off the double-wide and build a custom 4 bedroom home with a pool on a construction loan and then flip the property and sell it off and make huge profits! Then move on to another property and do the same thing! I was just living up to the nickname Nomad that my parents had always called me because I loved moving! I know I’m not your typical kind of person – I do love to move because I like getting rid of stuff
Shortly after the completion of the custom home – which took 2 years and 30 pounds later to build, the market crashed and the real estate market tanked! I was able to refinance the home out of the construction loan but clearly, I wasn’t moving anywhere! My house was already worth way less than I had even paid for it but I had steady employment and I was able to maintain my household.
Then the unexpected happened – My J.O.B. decided to Quit Me – hence the name of my book, Why my J.O.B Quit Me…jumpstart your Firing got it’s name. Not only did my J.O.B quit me, I learned that I was in menopause and I was still suffering with the passing of my father and one day after My J.O.B Quit Me, my best friend died of colon cancer and the relationship I was in would soon end.
I took the next two weeks off to go be with my best friends’ family and to gather my thoughts. I knew that while I was gone, I would not focus on the issues that were mounting back home. When I returned home, I knew I needed to begin to seek new employment opportunities because I knew I would not be able to make my mortgage payment. And then I made it even tougher on myself and decided to start my own consulting business – which also meant that I did not have a steady stream of income coming in like that of an employee.
I decided to reach out to the mortgage holder and explain my situation well in advance of the doomsday that would occur in about 3 months. I reached out to them and they had me send a written letter to the foreclosure dept. I did as they told me to do and in 4 weeks I received a written response back and it basically said – no, we won’t help you and you’ll be in default and we will begin the foreclosure process. I had attempted to do the right thing by telling them in advance but I quickly learned that banks or lending institutions really don’t care about you, they just want your money, so they can lend it to someone else. No personal touch you’re just a number to them.
Well, this scared me to death because I didn’t want my house going into foreclosure and I knew my credit score would take a hit! I started reaching out to people that were way smarter than me. I talked with my CPA, my real estate mentor Jim and my lawyer and do you know what they all told me? I was completely floored! They all told me to quit paying my mortgage – because the only way you could get the banks attention was to quit paying them! To me, this was the riskiest thing I had ever done!!! I’ve always paid my bills on time and my credit score was always in the mid 700’s. I didn’t want to ruin my credit, are you kidding me???
I continued to seek out anyone else that would offer different advice, I found nothing!
I gave in and the very next month, I preserved what money I had and quit paying my mortgage. Within 1 month, I got the nasty graham which was the threat to foreclose on me. They were right, now I had their attention, so I called the foreclosure department to figure out what the next steps were – they offered again no advice – didn’t give a shit about me. Their updates mainly consisted of the steps they were taking and the timeline in which it would happen. No help at all.
It was during this time that my mentor Jim suggested that I call the Modification team. He mentioned that in rare cases he had seen only a select few people ever get a modification even using a lawyer, but it would be worth it for me to give it a shot as a last resort. A modification is basically restructuring the loan to make it more affordable and, in this case, would enable me to keep my house. I had never heard of this; it was the blind leading the blind. I called the Modification team and started the application process. About 3-4 months, later I finally heard from them and they accepted my application! I was thrilled, but I still had no idea what this meant. I was then assigned to a modification processor and she became my point of contact for the next 6 months. This process was daunting, exhausting, redundant and seemed like they had me chasing my tail and it felt like I was just checking off boxes and there was no end in sight. I was constantly delivering documentation and on phone conferences. At the same, time I would get updates from the foreclosure team. They too were getting super close to foreclosing on me and it was then that I realized the Modification team and the Foreclosure teams were not on the same page about my current status. Turns out these 2 teams don’t even talk to each other…. Now, I had to mitigate and negotiate between their own two teams! I attempted to hurry the modification team so they would finish before the Foreclosure team. Finally, I had a final checklist of items that I needed to complete, once I completed it, all I needed one was internal signature and it would be done.
The final step was for me to go and take a “budgeting class” to teach me how to budget. I made the appointment with Fred and I proactively sent him my monthly budget that I’ve used for years, thinking he would review it and offer me new advice.
I arrived at his office, he called me back to his desk and started to explain that the budgeting class would start in about 15 minutes but then said I received your budget Ms. Mechiel and I’m not sure I even understand why you are here. I said, me either, but you already know how to budget, I said yes, sir. I said sir, I just need you sign off on this line right here and I’ll be on my way! He signed my paper and the modification was complete shortly after that! I had saved my house!
The moral of the story – there are always solutions to issues, you just have to be willing to seek out the answers!
These same principles more than likely aren’t’ available today but the fact remains that banks really don’t want to help you, if you’re facing foreclosure, reach out to me at fearlessinnovator.com there is more than one way to skin a cat!
Thank you for listening, I hope you were inspired, entertained or you learned something new!
Hey! I’m on the road to the Laconia Bikefest! Look for The Insane Wanderers and ask for Mechiel!
While I’m gone to Laconia my real estate business is on auto pilot and I’m producing income while I’m out riding around the countryside! If you want to know how, reach me at www.fearlessinnovator.com!
Catch me later…