Mike and Jamie Vos always dreamed of buying a home where they would put down roots and raise their children. In 2008, they found a house that seemed perfect — a two-story house on a quiet street in Buckley, Washington. For the first time their daughter, Autumn, then 5, and their son Cameron, then 11, would have their own bedrooms.
The Vos bought the house and regularly made their mortgage payments. But in early 2009 while the national economy was entering the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the family saw financial trouble looming and decided seek a loan modification in order to lower their monthly payments. They were turned down.
The Vos said that’s when they sought advice from Bank of America, the bank that was servicing their loan.
Mike Vos said that he remembers the conversation well: “They (Bank of America) said, ‘We can’t tell you to do this, we’re just giving you information on it. If you don’t make a payment for three months, it will show that you are in distress and you’ll be put at the top of the order to be able to be helped.’”
After hearing that advice, the Vos said they stopped making payments, and applied again for a loan modification. They said the process was overwhelming and confusing.
“It was this endless battle, it just seemed like, no matter what we couldn’t win,” Jamie Vos said. “We would send things in 30 times and when they finally did say they got it they would wait so long after that they would say the paperwork had expired and we needed to do it again.”
Jamie Vos said she would be on the phone with the bank for hours, but the next time she called there would be no record of the previous conversation.
On June 3, 2010, Bank of America denied their loan modification and the next day foreclosed and took possession of the Vos’ home.
The Vos said they pleaded with Bank of America to undo the foreclosure, noting that Mike’s income had improved and they could make their payments. A month later, they received word in an e-mail from Bank of America that the foreclosure sale had been rescinded. But later the bank said the sale was not rescinded and the foreclosure would stand.
For two years the Vos fought to have the foreclosure reversed. When they received a second eviction notice in 2012, they contacted the KING 5 Investigators. After KING 5 contacted Bank of America, Rick Simon, a spokesman for Bank of America Home Loans, sent a statement apologizing for how the case was handled and said it was unclear why the Vos’ foreclosure was not reversed in 2010. (Watch the 2012 KING 5 story.)
“I thought our prayers had been answered,” said Jamie Vos, “I thought it was finally an end to our fight. They had been exposed. They realized it and they were finally going to do what they were supposed to do in the first place.”
But it wasn’t over. In August 2012, Bank of America offered the Vos a trial loan modification but also said the family had to make mortgage payments for at least three months before the bank would rescind the foreclosure. The Vos said they didn’t trust the bank and refused to make the payments.
“Because our house was foreclosed on, it wasn’t in our name,” said Jamie Vos. “Bank of America still had the deed to our house. I don’t even know what we would have been making payments on. It makes no sense whatsoever to try to take payments on a house that is foreclosed on and they own it.”
The eviction notices started arriving again. Rick Simon told KING 5 that once the Vos turned down what the bank considered to be a “tremendous offer,” the bank had to move forward with the eviction.