Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]