LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - A woman who thought she had avoided a foreclosure after her bank approved a short sale, needed a Call for Action after finding out her home was auctioned off anyway.
Ivonne Dominguez is no stranger to hardship.
"Shortly after we bought the house, Wilma came around," she told us.
Not having the funds to fix up her home, and failing to qualify for help from FEMA, Ivonne got a loan through the Small Business Administration. But fixing up a new home after a hurricane paled in comparison to what came next.
"I picked up the first call-- all I could understand were just words here and there.... your son, Iraq," Ivonne remembered about the day she found out her son who was fighting overseas had been injured.
Burned over 80 percent of his body, Ivonne's son was fighting for his life. He was transferred to Texas to receive better care and that's where Ivonne and her youngest daughter spent the next year, so they could help.
"I was not going to leave his side," Ivonne explained. "I was there everyday."
Ivonne transferred her fulltime job with the TSA in Fort Myers to a part time job in Texas. Taking care of her youngest daughter and her son, now fighting for his life, Ivonne was barely making ends meet.
Meanwhile, her mother, a retired physician, was holding down the fort at Ivonne's home in Lehigh Acres taking care of Ivonne's other daughter still in High School. But then life threw yet another curve ball.
"I didn't know that Alzheimer's was setting in," Ivonne said.
During her year away from home, Ivonne learned her mother was slipping away. While the Alzheimer's diagnosis was a blow, she was able to manage, until last year. That's when her mother finally needed around-the-clock care which meant Ivonne could no longer afford a house payment. Wanting to avoid a foreclosure, Ivonne worked with a realtor and short sale negotiator to get her house sold.
"This should have been a slam dunk approval," Ivonne's realtor, James Warren with Prudential Florida Realty said of the bank's responsibility in agreeing to the short sale.
When working on getting short sales approved by a bank, James often teams up with Jackie Guadagna, also a realtor who now owns her own business, Black Tie Ventures.
For the last five years, Jackie has focused 100 percent of her time and business to working with banks and homeowners to work out a short sale deal in order to avoid foreclosure. She said Ivonne's case has been difficult.
"It's been very hard to communicate with them; all phone calls and emails go unanswered," she explained.
Finally, days before the home's foreclosure auction was supposed to take place, the bank approved the short sale.
"The negotiator actually sent me an email Friday, prior to the auction, telling me that they did succeed from getting it pulled from the auction," Jackie showed us.
Yet that never happened and the bank, Homeward Residential, bought the house back in auction. With no where else to turn, her realtor James, reached out to us.
"It's very shameful that it's gotten to this point, that we've had to go to outside sources to try to get her help," James explained.
After getting a hold of the bank we got this response:
"I did receive an update from our team that is working toward a resolution. Although I am not able to disclose specifics of this case, we are in the process of reviewing all of the facts relative to the customer's situation and are making every effort to reach an amicable resolution for all parties.
"As you might expect, there are many details to handle when dealing with the court system. We continue to work through this process."
Two weeks later, Jackie showed us the new short sale approval letter indicating that Homeward Residential was willing to rescind the sale and go through with the shortsale.
As for Ivonne, she knows firsthand of life's up's and down's and she credits a higher power for pulling her through and she's thankful for the little things in life.
"I just got a text yesterday at work from my son, 'I just wanted to tell you that I love you.' Things like that make your day," she said.
Ivonne's situation isn't finished yet. Her negotiator Jackie told us that Homeward Residential will be transferring to a new servicer on February 28th. What does this mean for Ivonne? Well, if the short sale closes before that date, nothing. Her problems are over and her house will be sold to the new owner.
If not, the new servicer, Ocwen, will have to issue another approval letter. While Jackie says Homeward Residential assured her the short sale approval will be honored by Ocwen, we'll stay on top of the situation and let you know what happens.