Local 2 Investigates steps in to help woman keep her home

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Vanessa Tousant slowly and sadly washes her delicate china inside the kitchen of her Houston home. It's the same home she shared with her late husband Clayton for decades, but now, almost 10 years after his death, Tousant is just days away from losing her beloved home to foreclosure.

"They're taking my home away from me and I don't have no other place to go," Tousant said.

What she said angers her is that for weeks she has been asking the servicing bank on her mortgage, Citi Bank, for a detailed account of what she still owes on her home.

One foreclosure announcement declares that Tousant owes just $7,001 to pay off her original home loan of $24,000. But for weeks, Tousant and realtors at Texas United Realty have been getting notices from Citi Bank stating that she would have to pay the bank a total of close to $60,000 to save her home from foreclosure.

"We have been told Vanessa needs to pay almost $60,000, but Citi Bank won't tell us what all that money is for. There is no statement accounting for all of those charges," said Rick Rogers of Texas United Realty.

With her home set to be auctioned off next Tuesday, Tousant called Local 2 Investigates for help.

Local 2 contacted officials at Citi Bank within their mortgage department, including the loan specialist working with Tousant's loan, explaining that Tousant and her agents actually have a buyer all ready to pay cash for her home, a total of $44,000 to purchase her home as part of a short sale.

"Up to now, Citi Bank had refused to accept that legitimate, short-sale offer," said Rogers.

But after Local 2 got involved early Monday, Tousant and her realtors got word that the bank was willing to accept that $44,000 short-sale offer after all.

"This has been an ongoing matter under review, and a decision was recently made to accept the short sale offer. We believe the issue is being resolved to the borrower's satisfaction," an official spokesman for Citi Bank wrote.

All of which means that instead of watching her home sold right out from underneath her next Tuesday, now it looks like Tousant will be able to stay in her Houston home, sell it for a fair price through a short-sale arrangement, and save her financial future, all at the same time.

Local 2 Investigates will stay on top of this story to make sure everything goes as planned for everyone.

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