Florida Foreclosure Sparks Reverse Mortgage Feud

Reverse mortgages continue to catch heat via some negative press, this time regarding one Florida couple who sought solace from the loan but have recently become victims of foreclosure, though for mysterious reasons, according to an article by The Florida Times-Union. 

Such is the case for Jimmie Thompson, 78, who took out a reverse mortgage on his Jacksonville home to fund some home improvement and renovation projects in hopes of giving his 65-year-old house a facelift.

Though he succeeded, Thompson later found himself and his long-time girlfriend Carrie Smith, 78, in foreclosure, despite claims of having made payments on time. Rather, it was Nationstar Mortgage (NYSE: NSM) who sued the couple and foreclosed on the house, claiming Thompson and Smith had stopped living at the residence, a key violation of the mortgage agreement.

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In another twist of the story, it turned out Thompson did not know Nationstar made that claim because he cannot read, according to The Florida Times-Union. Furthermore, Thompson believed Smith must have discarded whatever mail Nationstar sent, having done so unknowingly because neither knew that Nationstar owned their mortgage since they had obtained the reverse mortgage from Jacksonville-based Everbank.

Despite affirmation from several neighbors who vouched for Thompson and Smith against the claims that the couple had moved, a few weeks ago a judge declared the couple no longer owned the home. 

Though some uncertainties remain regarding the rationale behind the foreclosure proceedings, Nationstar spokesman John Hoffman commented in the article not specifically on the lawsuit, but on how the company approaches foreclosures in general.

“As it relates to a determination of a house being vacant, the company undertakes great care and caution to make such a determination in any foreclosure situation,” Hoffman said, without explaining the protocol used to decide if a house was vacant. “Foreclosure is always a last option.”

Read more at The Florida Times-Union. 

Written by Jason Oliva

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