Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Near Philadelphia, the situation of Jay and Bonnie Silverstein [ . . . ] exemplifies the problems millions of us homeowners are facing.  Their story of hardship is similar to mine.

To summarize, the NPR story explains how the Silversteins had to "short sell" a home long after purchasing a newer home around the time of the economic crash that began in 2007.  Their mistake, they admit  [i.e., buying a second home before their first one was sold] cost them most of their retirement savings when they had to drain their 401(k) to make two mortgage payments for over two years.  But their other mistake, which so many of us are guilty of, was in having an overbundance of confidence in our financial institutions and the real estate market - obviously highly manipulated by the insiders.

Like me, the Silversteins have a modest pension and have been making timely mortgage payments despite being squeezed hard.  They, as I, have been unable to secure a re-fi which would lower their interest rate and, thereby, save them about $500 a month.  This is the amount I need and would receive if I were successful in securing a re-fi or modification of my mortgage through a lower rate of interest.  For me, it would mean paying only half of my income toward housing, not two-thirds, as I am doing now.

The Silversteins are in financial limbo because of a Freddie Mac rule that restricts people with a short sale in their history from refinancing for up to four years (after the short sale).

In my case, a Fannie Mae underwriting rule prevents them from considering income I receive from renting out rooms from time to time.  But this is the only income source available to me for supplementing my pension and social security benefits - which together total less than $3,000 a month.  My mortgage payment is slightly under $2,000 a month.

All of these struggles are continuing for us while the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae CEOs are earning millions of dollars a year in compensation.  Aren't you outrageous?  Isn't it time to do something?

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