Hurricanes, Deaths And Foreclosure Challenge Florida Family

Published on May 15th, 2014 by AHP Administrator

GWB: Flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area is visible from Air Force One Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005, as President Bush was alble to survey the ravages of the storm during his return from Crawford, Texas to Washington D.C. White House photo by Paul Morse

Florida currently has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 407 homes in some phase of the process. Tony Coward knows this all too well, as he has lost one property to foreclosure already in Tallahassee and is struggling to find a solution to keep the home him and his wife live in. When the Cowards purchased a two bedroom condo for their daughter in Fort Lauderdale back in 2005, she had just become a single mother and needed help raising her handicapped daughter. They have struggled to keep this property from becoming another Florida foreclosure casualty throughout the years, and with the help of American Homeowner Preservation (“AHP”), they have finally weathered the storm.

“Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma–that’s when our troubles started. We had four deaths in our family related to that hurricane, two of them left kids behind, young kids.” Tony said. “We were trying to help family relocate and pull themselves together, so money was going all over the place.”


Coward’s Florida Condo

When Tony’s daughter married, her husband was relocated for work and they moved
north to the west coast of Florida. Tony hoped that his daughter would eventually move back and he would have the home for her to stay in. Tony found tenants to occupy the condo after his daughter moved, but it turned out to be a nightmare. He had to ask the first tenants to leave after they overcrowded the condo, and the next tenant caused over $6,000 in damages and tied them up for more than a year in eviction court.

Tony’s financial struggles were beginning to mount, and in addition to his daughter’s condo and his own home, Tony invested in a townhome for his son in Tallahassee before the hurricanes. His son would be going to school there for 12 years and Tony figured he would pay about the same on a mortgage as he would in rent. Tony ended up losing the townhome to foreclosure, and his daughter’s condo nearly suffered the same fate when it went into foreclosure.

“It was in 2008, just before things went crazy with the housing market.” Tony said. “It made sense to try to save it because it had a little bit of decent value at the time, so we took money from our 401K and got it back under control.”

The Cowards paid $14,000 to get the condo out of foreclosure, and tried to work out a modification with their lender. “Right after we got it out of foreclosure I said, ‘listen, we’re in trouble, before it gets bad– because I had only missed a few payments– can you help us out? Reduce the interest rate or something so we don’t get caught up in all this trouble?” Tony said.

Their lender would not work with them to find a modification, and Tony contemplated getting rid of the condo because it seemingly brought nothing but trouble. When Tony received a letter from AHP in November he believed it was a scam, but took it to his attorneys to see if it was valid. He did not hear back from his attorneys, so assumed the offer was no good. When he was contacted a second time by AHP, he was advised that the offer was legitimate and it was a good option to get the condo out of foreclosure once again. For $3,000, the Cowards were able to reduce the payoff amount on their loan from $118,100.20 to $31,350 and the monthly payments were dropped from $553.36 to $330.00.

Along with their modification from AHP, the Cowards are having a great year with their daughter’s husband finally receiving a transfer back to Fort Lauderdale and their son’s graduation from medical school. With his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter back in the condo with a newly modified mortgage, Tony said this is the first time it has seemed like a worthwhile investment.

Tony knows others who are dealing with foreclosure and has seen many homes in Florida succumb to the sweeping plague across the state. Tony believes in what AHP is doing and feels the company could go a long way in fixing the foreclosure problem in Florida.

“Do you know how much burden this took off of me? My hair was falling out. I was going bald—not gray—bald.” Tony said. “You could make a major impact if banks would allow you to work with people. I would love to switch my primary residence to this situation, instead of trying to fight with my current lender.”

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