Breaking Bank: Wrong House Foreclosed, Teacher Loses Everything

Repo men tore apart house 10 miles from foreclosed property.

(WSAZ/Youtube)

TakePart News Editor Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is a journalist who has worked in many corners of the world for major news organizations.

Repo men had already made one trip to the dump with a West Virginia teacher’s belongings when the silver-haired woman came home to find the house she owns being foreclosed on.

The problem is Nikki Bailey’s home, in Logan, West Virginia, has been paid off since 1988.

Bailey says the repo men told her the “junk” she owned—her college degree, her clothes—was already at the dump when she came home on August 6.

Bailey called police, who investigated and learned the repo men were supposed to be repossessing a house on Godby Heights, but Bailey’s house is 10 miles away, on Godby Street. The bank had directed the repo men to a home in Logan, but the Godby Heights address was actually in nearby Chapmanville.

“Everything was gone,” she told WSAZ television news. “Living room furniture, my Marshall diploma, my high school diploma, my pictures—my history. I was teacher of the year. All of that stuff is gone—certificates from that. It’s all gone.”

It didn’t help that Bailey’s house had been trashed by vandals, according to the Logan Banner, while she was away caring for her sick mother and a friend, so when repo men showed up, it resembled a squatter’s shack.

The damaging error comes at a time when experts are saying the number of U.S. homes going into foreclosure is on the decline, down 38 percent in July compared to the same month last year. If that pace continues, by the end of 2013 the U.S. could see the fewest homes reposessed by lenders in six years.

Bailey has hired a lawyer to help compile a list of her missing things—and to try and figure out what bank or mortgage company made the mistake on the addresses.

One problem many struggling homeowners have faced throughout the battle to keep a roof over their heads is trying to find the actual bank or lender that handles their mortgage.

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