The Watz brothers hope to have a better Christmas than last year.
"I was a nervous wreck. I was really in shock. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't -- I mean I was just a wreck," said Rick Watz, homeowner.
Last fall, Rick Watz was served with a foreclosure notice. He had fallen behind on two mortgage payments when the family to make a tough decision: pay medical bills for his sick brother or pay the mortgage.
Watz tried to repay the debt and to refinance his Wachovia mortgage but says he got no luck. With advice from the DuPage Homeownership Center, Watz hired an attorney. After several months of phone calls, paperwork, attorney fees and anxiety, Watz says he avoided foreclosure and Wachovia refinanced his mortgage.
"There was no reason for it to drag on for six months," said Watz.
Recently, a letter went out to Wachovia and Wells Fargo customers who may be in the position Watz was. The companies, which merged last year, will bring support for struggling homeowners to Chicago next week.
"Sometimes just being talking to somebody face to face gets you to a place where talking over the phone just doesn't," said Jim Linnane, Wells Fargo.
The home preservation workshops for Wells Fargo and Wachovia customers will be December 1st through the 3rd, from 10 to 7 each day. The workshop will be at the McCormick Place West building. Two-hundred mortgage specialists will be on site. Registration is open to through Saturday, November 28th.
A local Wells Fargo executive urges homeowners in trouble to be persistent in looking for resolution and register early for an appointment with a specialist.
"Come to the event, sit down face to face with a counselor who's actually a decision maker, and come up with a solution that will help them get past the hopefully temporary difficulty that we're having," said Linnane.
Rick Watz wishes there would have been an opportunity to talk with someone face to face when they were trying to refinance. He thinks it would have been faster and less stressful on the family.
To make an appointment you can call 1-800-405-8067 or visit this link to the Home Preservation Workshop.
Wells Fargo has done this in Phoenix and Atlanta. They hope to have 2,000 people come through the workshop next week.