Renee Sedgwick, a resident
of San Marcos, California, found herself in the middle of a
terrifying situation. After losing her job as an Operations
Manager in the building industry in April 2007, she accepted a
position as the Communications Director and Ministry Center
Director at a local church. This new position came with a 60
percent decrease in income, and she found herself struggling to
make her mortgage payments.
Homeowners like Sedwick have been some
of the hardest-hit investors in America during the current
economic crisis. Foreclosure rates are booming, and even those
borrowers with fixed-rate mortgages who seemed like the perfect
investor have seen the value of their home drop dramatically
below what they currently owe. Those with adjustable rate
creative financing have been even harder hit. These homeowners
have options, but where do they find this information? What
resources do they have to help them and educate them on their
options and the processes involved?
“In August 2007,” Sedgwick says, “I called the lender four times
to try to work something out and couldn’t get past the person
answering the phone.”
Then in October, after digging into her savings for six months
and having the home listed for sale since July, she asked
herself, “Do I drain my savings knowing that I’m going to lose
my home in the near future anyway? At that point I would have no
money in the bank and no ability to rent because I would have
hurt my credit score,” she continues, “so I realized there was
no alternative for me since the lender refused to work with me.
I made the choice to walk away earlier rather than later to keep
some money in my savings and have the option to rent before my
credit score declined.”
In the meantime, things
really got interesting. At the end of January 2008, Sedgwick
received the official Notice of Default on the property. “After
I received the Notice of Default, I called the lender for the
fifth time. I finally reached someone higher in the rankings
there, and I said I would sign a deed in lieu of foreclosure to
save them time and money, and the response was, ‘nope’!”
She learned the end of her redemption period was set for April
15, but on Feb. 11 she received a call from a real estate agent
who was standing on the doorstep with a couple of potential
buyers prepared to view the home. “I received a call from the
agent stating that they couldn’t enter the home because the
locks had been changed! My redemption period was far from over,
so I knew this was suspicious.
“I didn’t know what to do, or where to go, or what my rights
were. I saw a story on the local ABC news about You Walk Away. I
went to the website, and watched the ABC Nightline story on them
too, so I thought, ‘Wow, these guys really have something here,’
so that’s when I called You Walk Away and spoke with Renata.”
According the the
company's website if you qualify for the program:
- Your lender will not
be able to call you in attempt to collect.
- Your lender will not
be able to collect any deficiency or loss they may receive by
you walking away.
- You will be able to
stay in your home for up to 8 months or more without having to
pay anything to your lender.
- You can have the
foreclosure removed from your credit!
Renata Meretskaya, Area Manager and Client Advocate at You Walk
Away, says, “Many times I have answered an incoming call and the
homeowner on the other end of the phone has literally said, ‘Oh
my, I am so glad you answered! I can’t afford my payments! How
can you help me?’ It feels good to know I am educating people
who need my assistance. Renee told me her story, and I was
Sedgwick says, “Renata was very honest with me. She could have
been a total salesperson, but instead she was calm and just
explained how You Walk Away could help me. She simply gave me
the information and left it up to me. I was really impressed
with her and the information she provided.”
You Walk Away, based in Carlsbad, California, is the first
company of its kind to offer property-specific timelines to
homeowners facing foreclosure. It also provides educational
materials written by state-specific real estate attorneys. The
service is currently to homeowners in 21 states including
California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Washington,
Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York,
Connecticut, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania,
Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The Walk Away Kit has two purposes. The first is to
protect the homeowner from foreclosure by educating the
homeowner about the processes and requirements involved in
Sometimes these strategies workout and everyone is pleased by
Other times the bank won’t work with the borrower, or for other
reasons foreclosure is imminent.
The second purpose of the Walk Away Protection Kit is to educate
the homeowner, prepare and protect them by educating them on the
process and their rights during foreclosure, if the homeowner
either chooses or has been given no option but foreclosure.
The information comes from state-specific, reputable real estate
attorneys and the research has been done for the homeowner
already, so they have quick access to answers as an alternative
to doing research for themselves or hiring a costly lawyer.
You Walk Away Client Advocates are knowledgeable in
state-specific foreclosure laws and are available on-call five
days a week to educate clients during the entire process.
“I like to know that I can inform people of their options and
provide them with a support system to help them make the
decision that is best for them. Knowing that the information I
give them comes from our state-specific lawyers and can be
trusted makes it that much better,” says Client Advocate Derek
You Walk Away does not advocate foreclosure, and educates on all
options. “You Walk Away is not out there suggesting foreclosure;
they don’t push people to do anything. You Walk Away is a great
resource and advocate for people who have already made the
decision to walk away from their home mortgage,” says Sedgwick.
You Walk Away also educates those who seek to learn about their
options before making any decisions.
Sedgwick continues, “The information provided was extremely
valuable; the timelines, attorney consultation, the Walk Away
Kit,” she pauses, “in today’s economy, I think that the service
You Walk Away provides is very valuable. I feel very adamant
Renee Sedgwick’s home is set to auction on May 28, 2008. “I had
an 820 credit score and never bounced a check or was late on a
payment in my life. I believe this was the best choice for me to
make in my situation. I didn’t see another option. I look
forward to the future now.” She concludes.
In the end, You Walk Away will sign up clients for their
affiliate credit repair program which has had great success rate
in actually removing the foreclosure from the borrower’s credit score and therefore helps them move onto the next stage in