June 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm #1095
I did not see a relevant category for this so I decided to post it here. Hope that is alright. This is an excerpt from an email I’d sent to my MC and another follow up NACA person who contacted me regarding my MAP insurance. I have still not received a response.
Regarding volunteer service:
“On another note, you mentioned service to NACA, helping spread the word as I committed to doing when I entered the program. Believe me, I’d been turned down by three different FHA lenders prior to beginning my 1.5 year slog of clearing identified debts, saving money submitting the unending reams of paperwork…ah…I can smile now because it actually worked! But there were definitely some ‘crisis of confidence’ moments and communication hurdles to endure and several times I thought I was on the verge of cardiac arrest due to redundant time-sensitive requests made at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays, resigning MC’s and a general sense of helplessness in a void of silence.
I am a true NACA advocate. I believe in the program and thank God there are people like Bruce Marks out there fighting the good fight for us commoners against the Banks that are either all too eager to oversell us and get us in over our heads or (as is the case now) hyper-stingy and looking for any reason not to lend money without unreasonable catches, security deposits or other assurances.
I want to make the process “better” and smoother for the average Joe. Maybe set up some kind of an “information clearinghouse”. More specific than the forums (I only discovered these at the end of my NACA journey).
I want to help clarify what is happening in the process for newbees to give both the homebuyer and homeseller (agent, public at large) more confidence in both the program and the process. I realize this is a large proposition and I’m not sure where to start but I’m starting.
I’m afraid Google is not too kind to NACA. Horror stories fill the void and I must admit, I thought many times along the road mine would be another one. That I would spend the next 5 years bashing NACA as a bitter solace to the fact that I was and would forever remain a renter.
I propose a testimonial page for your Web site for starters. A place people can go straight away and hear it from actual homeowners about their trials and tribulations and words of encouragement and hope. Even a mode of contact, should both parties agree to communicate. The videos are great but they seem solely focused on the HomeSave program. I am not up to speed on that and I’m sure it’s important, but it shouldn’t bury the Homebuyer program, which, after all, is where it all starts.
I have never seen a video about a successful NACA home purchase.
The HAND program (though well intentioned and necessary) is also problematic due to the time sensitive nature of the 90-day NACA approval window and 45-day (at least) window from offer acceptance to close. I found it was hard enough to get one contractor through the convoluted bid, re-bid, re-re-bid, process, let alone the recommended three. I simply had to go with the one (the only one) willing to do what needed to be done within the timeframe and within my budget. Certainly there is room to provide enough time for competitive bidding to take place. I know this is encouraged by NACA messengers, however, I found it impossible in practice.
At any rate, this may get down to a structural problem. Perhaps it is true that, because NACA turns away noone, it has put itself in a position where it is now shortchanging the prospects who are most qualified, prepared etc. in while selling “empty” promises to those who are still light years away. I don’t think everyone is equal in their position to purchase. NACA can only provide direction and honest appraisals of individual situations, but to monopolize the limited time and resources of MC’s on files that are not yet “approval” ready over those that are is a disservice to all involved and creates unnecessary drama and some of the “horror stories” shared on this forum.
Prioritization? Not exactly sure how to approach this, but the sense I get is that counselors are overwhelmed with their file commitments and unable to provide any of them with the service they deserve and would get if they could qualify for FHA. Which is a shame and, comes down unfortunately to an equality issue. It doesn’t have to be like that.
I would truly rather put my volunteer time where I think it would do the most good. For me, that is improving the NACA communication/public relations/member-relations process. I think this would be a better use of my time (and a better service to NACA members of the future) than joining in another march or demonstration.
Thank you for your time. Please advise and forward to whomever you see fit.
Willing to give back to make NACA better.June 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm #1132
Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately it is all too true that Google is not too kind to NACA. However I can guarantee you that while NACA has never claimed to be perfect, those who want to speak negatively about NACA are almost universally NOT telling the whole story:
1) While Our Home Save Program has an 80% success rate, nobody ever wants to believe that they will ever be in that other 20%. That success rate would be even higher were it not for members who think that once their proposal has been submitted, they no longer have to be a part of the modification process and the modification will just be handed to them. Many of those in the 20% shoot themselves in the foot by failing to provide needed documents, withholding important information or even giving false information. (I’ll never forget the time I caught the member who forged her husband’s signature on several documents, trying to hide the fact that they were divorcing and he was no longer even living in the home.)
2) Regarding the Purchase Program, the success rate is virtually 100% for those who are willing to do what is necessary to become prime borrowers instead of falling into the predatory sub-prime trap. NACA’s mission is responsible home ownership. There are always going to be those few whose inability to get a fair mortgage previously is not from lack of income or past misfortune, but their own financial irresponsibility. Even those who can demonstrate that they have matured and can now manage their financial affairs properly will still qualify since we are a character based lending program. But again, there will always be those few who seem to think they can simply sign a few documents and get handed the keys to the house of their dreams.
In short, show me someone who is vilifying NACA, and I’ll show you someone who probably has something they’re hiding.
By no means to we mean for the Home Save Program to “bury” the Purchase Program, but by the same token, few people truly understand the immensity of the current mortgage crisis. I had a conversation with Bruce Marks recently in which he noted that when we opened our first “Save the Dream” event in Washington DC on July 17th, 2008, we though the Home Save program would be in existence for about a year and we might have to conduct a half-dozen live events around the country. The event that opened this morning in Houston is our 76th event. We will finish 2012 with our 100th event the first week of December, and we know that we will still be going for another two years at the very least.
If the Home Save Program overshadows the Purchase Program for the time being, it’s out of necessity. Our economy has no chance of a true recovery until the foreclosure crisis is sufficiently resolved.
Additionally, we are already aware that the Purchase Program is the future of NACA. Toward that end, rather than lay off the Home Save staff as the mortgage crisis finally starts to subside, we already have in plans in place to train and transition our Home Save staff to the Purchase Program.
Unfortunately, NACA is actually in quite the “darned if we do, darned if we don’t” situation when it comes to our Purchase Program membership. The fact is that it isn’t so much that we have put ourselves “in a position where it is now shortchanging the prospects who are most qualified, prepared etc”, it’s that we have been forced into it. We literally can’t turn anyone away because of federal Equal Lending laws and our status as a HUD certified housing counseling agency. While we are continually hiring new counselors and finding other means of easing the burden like our new Remote Counseling program, we can’t just hire anyone off the street because of training and licensing requirements. So we are forced into choosing the lesser of two evils, having overburdened counselors or running afoul of the law.
Please put in that volunteer time at your local NACA office. Get some first hand experience with the day to day operations there, then Volunteer at an American Dream Event when one comes to your area and see just how immense our task is. You’ll be eager to participate in the next demonstration.
Online Operations, NACA
firstname.lastname@example.orgJune 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm #1136
I’m happy to do whatever I can to help. There is still a lot of room for improvement. The high counselor, MC turnover rate (my experience) is probably a direct result of the high stress, long hours, pushy impatient “entitled” personalities and the other demand issues you describe. I know it works and I know what I went through and what I had to do to get it done. I just want to help communicate that to newbies and those stuck in one stage or another. I am forever grateful to NACA and the home it helped me get for me and my boys when no one, I mean, NO ONE (FHA, Credit Unions) would give me a break or tell me what needed to be done. Looking forward to telling my story and volunteering at the next event!June 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm #1214
Murlin_evans1971 – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I’m in total agreement. I’ve had opportunity to sing the praises of NACA to friends who are looking at homeownership. Unfortunately, I’ve also had opportunity to share my frustrations as I continue through the process. I’m currently under the due diligence period, trying to receive the names of NACA approved inspectors, (hopefully no major issues) and then on to the closing. I definitely think there are creative ways to volunteer outside of marches/meetings. Particularly for me, my local office is nearly 2 hours away. So being able to assist in ways that allow me to remain in my current city are a win-win for both parties.July 5, 2012 at 10:50 am #1513
Toward that end of volunteering in you local city, contact the Office Manager at your NACA office and ask what you could do to earn volunteer credit without having to make that long trip. He or she should be able to give you some ways to help right there in your own town.
Online Operations, NACA
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