Make us your home page

Moving out: A family loses their home

CLEARWATER — Jerry and Vicki Raines might still be in their home if not for a misplaced cashier's check.

The Raineses sent it to cover two mortgage payments. The mortgage servicer claimed it was never received. Eight months later, after multiple phone calls, letters, and conflicting instructions, the servicer found the check. By then, however, the Raineses were too far behind to ever catch up.

Miscommunication pushed one more family living on the margins over the edge.

Life was never easy for the Raineses, but when they bought the home in 2003, after renting it for five years, there was enough money to go around. In 2005, the couple wanted to do some work on the house, which an appraiser said had doubled in value to $140,000. They decided to refinance.

"It seemed like a good idea," said Jerry Raines, who borrowed $83,000 at 9.3 percent.

Within two years, the Raineses were having trouble making regular payments and fighting the first of three foreclosure attempts by the servicer, American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. Finally, in February 2009 the Raineses worked out a loan modification. But two payments — a total of $1,531 — were due immediately.

The Raineses sent a cashier's check via UPS, next-day delivery. Records show the check was received and cashed well before the servicer's deadline. So the Raineses were surprised when they got a notice in April 2009 saying their account was in default.

Jerry Raines called the servicer and reached an agent in Pune, India.

"I asked them where my money was, and he said he didn't know," Raines said. "All I got from them was that I owe, I owe, I owe."

A spokeswoman for the servicer recently said the company erred by applying the funds to the wrong account. While the mistake was being tracked down, however, Raines, angry and distrustful, refused to make additional payments. Meanwhile, his income as a tire mechanic was dwindling. By the time the issue was resolved, the couple had spent the mortgage money elsewhere. Their house went back into foreclosure.

American Home Mortgage spokeswoman Philippa Brown said the company tried to contact the Raineses 95 times from January 2010 to September 2010, even though the Raineses had stopped paying. She said the company made "every good faith effort" to help out the Raineses once the mistake with the misplaced checks was discovered.

"There's nothing we can do unless they engage in the process," she said.

A financial statement the Raineses submitted in March 2010 shows their income had fallen so much that a modification would not have helped. His 38-year-old wife, meanwhile, suffered a stroke in May while the foreclosure was being battled.

By Halloween of last year, the Raineses accepted $1,000 from the servicer to leave the property in good condition. Their new home: a motel room about a mile away with a kitchenette, fold-out sofa, double bed and bath.

With his sons, ages 12 and 16, sprawled on the bed playing a video game, Raines, 48, said the family is pretending they're on vacation. His voice choked when he talked about the foreclosure's impact on his boys.

"My youngest didn't want to take anything when he left and my other boy was pretty much the same," said Raines, who owes $114,704 on a home that is on the market for $34,900. "They were devastated."

Jerry L. Raines, unemployed auto mechanic

Vicki Raines, unemployed bank teller

Loan Amount, $83,000

Foreclosure action filed: 10/29/09

Status: Home auctioned, bank re-possessed on 9/17/10

Moving out: A family loses their home 03/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2011 4:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]