|8 on Your Side Helps Couple Keep Home After Title Mistake|
8 On Your Side helps couple keep home after title mistake
March 7, 2016 | Shannon Behnken
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - South Tampa homeowners who turned to 8 On Your Side on the verge of losing their house, are now keeping it - free and clear. Kris and Rebecca Kraft faced losing their home of three years, even though they've never missed a mortgage payment and never even did business with the bank trying to take the house.
Now, the Krafts title insurance company, Old Republic, is stepping in to help. The insurance policy will cover a title mixup that was missed when the Krafts bought their home.
The Krafts were getting nowhere in their quest for answers, until 8 On Your Side stepped in. "I think the news article got out there and maybe people started paying attention a little bit more," Kris Kraft said. "We're really thankful for Channel 8."
The Krafts bought their house, at 1508 S. Arrawana Ave., in 2013. Everything was fine, but then they started getting strange mail from real estate professionals asking for their business to help the couple fight foreclosure or relocate to another home they could afford.
"It's mind-blowing that something like this could happen," Kris Kraft said.
Then the situation got worse. They came home to find foreclosure notices taped to the front door and garage. Plus, a relocation specialist hired by Nationstar Bank started calling constantly, wanting the Krafts to move out.
And then, the unthinkable happened. A friend in the real estate business called the Krafts to ask why their house was listed for sale on Zillow.com. They had no idea and panicked. It was late at night when they got the news.
"Neither of us slept all night long, thinking what the heck is happening," Rebecca Kraft said. "This is our home. We've been paying for this."
They discovered the title to their home was transferred to Nationstar Bank in late December without any warning to them. When they called the bank with questions, the Krafts were told they weren't authorized to receive information.
Here's a rundown of how thing unraveled: The house first sold in 2004. That buyer took out two mortgages, from different banks, and then lost the home in foreclosure in 2013. This is when things got weird. The second mortgage holder beat the main mortgage holder in a race to foreclose. That bank sold the home to an investor who then flipped it to the Krafts.
No one caught the big title mistake. The home should have never been sold because of the clouded title. Then, in December 2015, the first mortgage holder, now Nationstar Bank, decided to foreclose on its lien and take the title. The mistake left both Nationstar and the Krafts claiming to own the title to the house.Tampa title agent Galyn Lecher says this happens more than buyers realize and that this should be a lesson. Everything worked out well, Lecher said, because the Krafts have what's called an owner's title insurance policy. If they had only the policy required by lenders they would be out of luck. They could have lost the home because that policy only protects lenders.