News & Events

May 16, 2019
Farmington Family of Nine Successfully Avoids Foreclosure

Complicated FHA regulations snarled the loan modification process.

Brandi and Ian McAlexander never anticipated the bad luck that would strike their family when they bought their Farmington home in 2011. The couple has seven young children and a menagerie of pets. Ian had just come out of the army and had no credit history, so Brandi took out the mortgage in her own name only. When Brandi became disabled several years later and could no longer work, they got behind on the mortgage payments. She applied for disability benefits but was denied and has been going through the slow appeals process for several years.

Photo: Brandi and Ian with their seven children at their home in Farmington, NM. 

In the meantime, the family survives on Ian's veteran's benefits. However, when they applied for a loan modification with Wells Fargo, they were told his income didn't count because he wasn't on the loan, even though he and Brandi are married. Wells Fargo instructed them to legally transfer the home title into both of their names and then send a new application. But when they did that, Wells Fargo still would not count Ian's income. 

After researching the case, New Mexico Legal Aid determined that FHA regulations allow spousal income to be counted when the spouse agrees to assume the mortgage debt. After a third round of applications through their attorneys, Wells Fargo finally approved the family for an affordable loan modification based on Ian's income, and the foreclosure case was dismissed.

Photo: Brandi hugs her son outside their home.