SEFFNER (FOX 13) –
Their home is gone. All that’s left is the lot. But Buddy Wicker can’t get onto his property because a fence surrounds it. The home he’s owned since 1974 was bulldozed after a sinkhole opened up and swallowed his friend, who was sleeping inside.
Now the Wicker family is dealing with another problem. When Hillsborough County tore down the house and condemned the property, Wicker’s insurance company sent him a check for $130,189. He immediately sent it to his mortgage company, asking them to pay off his loan.
But instead he got a letter.
It stated there were six requirements before they’d close his account. Number five on that list: The mortgage company said they need more money. The letter states they need additional funds of $4,445.48.
“I said, ‘I don’t have any more money to give you. And so you have to take this as it is,'” Wicker said. “I paid you ever since 1974, I made payments every month. I was never late. I said it’s all been on time so couldn’t you give me a break?”
We’re not naming the Wickers’ mortgage company yet because the family is hoping they’ll still help them with their loan payoff. But Buddy said he’s most upset with the second requirement in the letter — it says the family must “restore the property as it was prior to the loss.”
“I laughed. What am I going to do, put stilts out here on the road and back in the pond and build a house up above it?” he continued. “I told them I can’t do that, the county’s got it locked up. If you don’t believe me, Google it. Google it!”
We looked at Buddy’s mortgage. It’s one of those non-traditional mortgages that triggered the financial crisis in 2008. He borrowed $125,000. But he actually owes $130,000 on a property the county says was only worth $60,000 before the sinkhole.
Now the house is worth nothing; it’s gone.
“This is reality, I said it’s gone, there’s nothing there but flat land. And I said the county said there will never be anything built on this piece of property.”
The latest information from the mortgage company was that they were sending Buddy Wicker another form to fill out. This would be for a short sale.
“I said there’s nothing there now but a lot. So how can I short sell? She said, ‘Well, you have to fill out the paperwork and we have to review it.'”
Buddy says he doesn’t plan to pay one more dime.
“No, I’m not. I’m not going to do it. I figure after 39 years of faithfully paying. I figure I deserve a break now and then.”
When asked what he thinks the mortgage company should do, Wicker responded, “Write it off.”
“They’re not losing any money, who are they trying to kid? They’re not losing any money. I know they are trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip, I know that. But this turnip don’t have any more blood in him.”
Wicker says he has no money, and the family lost just about everything.
“I don’t have money to put down on these homes today to buy a new home or a used one. I’m 75 years old. I’m too old.”