Debbie Hobar and her daughter Kelsie tend to their two horses on the family's 15-acre property in Haymarket. It’s a home Hobar is about to lose.
She and her now ex-husband bought the house 10 years ago for $620,000. They took a loan out for $504,000. Then she got cancer and was in a bad car accident, making her unable to work. They fell behind in their payments.
On top of that, trying to work with the loan servicers has turned into a six-year nightmare.
“Each time, when we started asking more questions, and my loan would get sold, I would find that I had another $15,000 or $25,000 added on to what they said I owed,” Hobar says.
The loan was sold, and the loan servicer changed over and over and over. She said when she would call, the loan servicer would say to make a payment to that company.
Aspen Shackleton, LLC, of Portland, Ore., is now foreclosing on the house, claiming it held the note - even though it filed a "lost note affidavit." The judge in the case agreed.
However, an independent audit of the loan's history turned up no mention of Aspen Shackleton. Hobar's attorney says Virginia courts are too lax on documentation, which invites loan practices that can leave homeowners like Hobar in a horrible fix.
“Someone does have the original loan documentation, the original note," says John Hautman, Hobar’s attorney. "That is like cash."
It’s like $504,000 worth of cash to Hobar.
“Whoever may actually have my loan out there could come back to me at any point in time and say, 'You owe us the $500,000', even after the house is long gone,” Hobar says.
An attorney for Aspen Shackleton dismissed Hobar's concerns as 'a smokescreen,' saying: "the court ruled Aspen Shackleton had the right to foreclose...they lost."
As for just who has Hobar's original promissory note, he says, "Frequently notes get lost in the process. It happens all the time." It is "normal business," he says.
Hobar is set for an eviction hearing in Prince William County Court on July 10, but the outcome is pretty much a foregone conclusion.
On top of everything else, Hobar has now been slapped with a $20,000 lawsuit by Aspen Shackleton, alleging damages. She says it's all just plain wrong.
“To just totally take it - and not even to have to prove ownership of it - that's scary,” Hobar says.