Probe: Feb. 22, 2002

February 22, 2002

QUESTION: I am on the verge of losing my home. Is there an agency out there to get my house out of foreclosure? I have been disabled since I was hurt on the job in 1998.

My worker's compensation checks stopped in February. I looked into getting a loan but that would just make my payments higher. The bank said I need $7,700 to catch up on my mortgage.

I feel like just walking away from it but I have my elderly mother to take care of and my youngest child is a senior in high school.

My house payments are $900 a month. I had been holding things together but I have used up all my resources. I don't know what to do now. — Struggling, Imperial


We don't know of a program to help you keep the house, although there are things you can do to postpone losing it, according to Linda Moore, a real estate broker.

The day the lender filed the notice of foreclosure, you had 111 days to sell the house, get another loan or work out something with your present lender.

Selling the house may be the best option. At least you would recoup some of your equity. Moore said the housing market is so hot, you might unload the house in a month.

Some lenders will put a foreclosure on hold if the house goes into escrow, she said.

Since you don't have a second mortgage, refinancing may be an option. With today's low interest rates, refinancing could reduce, not increase your payments.

If all else fails, hire a lawyer and file for bankruptcy. It could put a foreclosure on hold. But you will have to pay off the loan eventually.

QUESTION: When we bought our house, we took advantage of an "upgrade" at Gordon's Carpet. When one saleswoman set my share of the upgrade at $1,200, I couldn't decide.

After my husband and I talked it over, I went back for the upgrade. The initial saleswoman was on vacation so I told another saleswoman we had decided to take the upgrade.

When the job was completed, I found the price was not $1,200 but $1,700. I did not agree to the higher price. When I said I wanted the upgrade, I meant I wanted it at the first saleswoman's estimate, not the second. — Upscaled, El Centro

Gordon's Manager Erin Sanders said she has no record of a $1,200 estimate to install carpet and tile in your house. She said she does have a contract signed by you for an $1,800 job.

She promised that if you have a written estimate showing the lower price, she will give you a refund. If you don't have it in writing, Sanders said, you owe her $259.62.

We're afraid you're stuck even if you airily signed a contract calling for $1,800 worth of work without reading it.

UESTION: I had a run-in with the law (public drunkenness) and part of my sentence was to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I live in Holtville. Since they tore down the J & M Cafe, I don't know where they hold Holtville A.A. meetings. I need a meeting in English. — Tippler, Holtville

Of course, after a night of imbibing, everybody is bilingual. It's either "Gimme a Bud," or "Cerveza, por favor."

Turning Point holds meetings at 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday in the Lutheran Church hall.

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