October 7th, 2010 11:02 PM by Lehel S.
LA PUENTE - Frances Ramirez sat in an empty living room holding back tears on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. She's on the verge of losing everything.
"My daughter and I have sacrificed so much," she said. "We finally had a home of our own. It's hard to imagine giving it all up."
It's been 19 days since Ramirez, 34, found out her La Puente home had been sold by Bank of America without notice. On Sept. 17, Ramirez and her teenage daughter received three days notice from the new owner to vacate their home.
"We expected to have until at least November, but then suddenly the bank just sold our home," she said. She is being sued by new owner Grand Hill Investments, which is asking for $60 for each day that she fails to vacate the house.
Ramirez spent the last two years fighting to keep the home she has had since 2004. Last month, she gave up on her dream and found someone willing to buy her house in a short sale for $228,000 cash.
The paperwork was filled out and Ramirez waited on the bank's approval of the sale. She was happy to finally put an end to her dream gone bad.
"A short sale isn't as bad as foreclosure, on your credit report," she said.
Instead, she stepped into a whole new nightmare when she found out that Bank of America had already sold her home as a foreclosure to Grand Hill for $210,000.
"I don't understand how this could happen," Ramirez said. "I even called the bank and asked them if I had
Bank of America did not return phone calls or e-mails for comment on the matter. An attorney for Grand Hill likewise declined to comment, citing attorney-client privilege.
Unlike the majority of foreclosures, Ramirez did not suffer from taking an unaffordable loan. In 2004, when she bought her home, Ramirez - who has since changed her last name from Sanchez - was working full-time at City of Hope and part-time at the Westfield West Covina mall. She secured a 30-year variable loan. But as the payments were about to change, she refinanced with Countrywide to get a fixed loan. Countrywide later collapsed at the start of the mortgage crisis and was purchased by Bank of America.
By 2008, she had lost both of her jobs and had to go on unemployment. "I called Bank of America right away to see if I could restructure my payments," she said. "I was in good standing at the time and continued to make my payments."
But Bank of America said they could not help her restructure because she didn't have a job, Ramirez said. She was referred to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "HUD told me the same thing," she said. "And I went back and forth for two years, trying to make my payments, trying to get help."
Ramirez said she was even advised by a Bank of America representative to stop making her scheduled payments so that she could qualify for a special payment program.
Eventually, it would all catch up to her. On Sept. 2 the bank moved to initiate foreclosure proceedings. Three weeks later the house had been sold without a single notice to Ramirez, she said.
She has a court date scheduled Oct. 18. Ramirez has been advised to seek legal representation, which she can't afford, and she remains uncertain as to what to do.
"I'm just not sure how far they'd go," Ramirez said, whiping tears from her eyes. "It's very discouraging to work hard for what you want. When you eventually get there, it's all taken away and you don't even know how or why it happened."