Monday, March 31, 2008

Questions about NACA: Round #2

Apologies for the delay in this next installment. I was unexpectedly out of town...

What's your experience with NACA's rehab department, HAND?


Not good--not good at all.

But before I launch into my tirade, let me give a little background: NACA members have the option of taking out rehab loans for their property at either a lesser, equal, or higher amount than the amount of their mortgage. Both loans--the mortgage and the rehab funds--get rolled into one payment. We took out a rehab loan worth a quarter of our mortgage loan. Follow me so far?

Prior to closing, buyers are required to get 2-3 estimates on each item of work they need done. This is difficult for a couple reasons: for one, it's hard to get into a house you don't yet own and for another, it's challenging to coordinate with 2-3 contractors per job. We had many jobs but luckily, we only needed to choose two separate companies to handle them all in the end. Still, a lot of groundwork.

After closing, we were told that work on the house needed to start immediately. Our contractors needed to fill out 5-8 pages of paperwork to begin their work and another 5-8 pages to complete it and receive payment. As if the paperwork itself were not enough, the HAND department is completely and utterly incompetent.

In year or so that we've been dealing with the HAND department, staff turnover has been high. Perhaps for this reason, very few staff members know what they're doing. Staffers often contradict each other or themselves, and they rarely seem familiar with NACA's own policies and procedures. You can forget about developing a relationship with someone in the department because they will either leave before you get a chance to call again or not remember you at all, despite the fact that you spoke for 15 minutes the day before.

(Can you tell I hate this part? Steve has often felt violent after hanging up with HAND; I relate.)

The very real consequences of this staffing problem come into play when it's time for contractors to get paid. In short, it takes forever. Both of our contractors have told us they will never again do a NACA job. My friend Michael, a contractor, said he will never again do a NACA job after he spent hours of his life on the phone with the idiots at HAND--and he's the one who recommended NACA to us!

So, I would not recommend getting a substantial loan for rehab from NACA. I'm glad we got ours--annoyances aside--because we would not have been able to afford the repairs out of pocket, but I am thankful that they were relatively small, done by two contractors and completed within six months of closing. I have a friend who took out upwards of $40K in rehab and her experience has been, it seems, a nightmare.

I hope to never interact with the NACA HAND department again.


I'm working with the NACA program now in Baltimore, and I want to give up. No one returns your calls or e-mails, and the turnover is so terrible you end up working with several counselors before you can close.

I've heard people in other cities, besides Baltimore, voice similar complaint about NACA offices. Just like any business, I'm sure much of the experience depends on the staff. I found Buffalo's office to be responsive, helpful, and reasonable both before and after we closed. Good for us, I guess.

When we were wrapping up with our counselor John and moving on to work more appropriate for our NACA-paid lawyer, I definitely got the sense that our progress was freeing up room for more people. John is no doubt a busy guy so I think it's even more incredible that he returns my calls.

All this being said, given my experience with the HAND department, I think NACA does need to do some top-level evaluation of its departments and regional offices. Inconsistency seems to prevail.

33 comments:

Ben said...

Whitney,

I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog! I've been researching NACA for a while now (my Real Estate agent suggested it), and it seems like you are the only person on the internet who has detailed their experience. I was on the fence about the whole thing, but after reading your story I'm going to move forward with NACA. I've signed up for the intial meeting this coming Saturday, and I'll be sure to go prepared (thanks for listing everything that is needed). FYI, my wife and I live near Elmwood, and getting the NACA advice from a fellow Buffalonian such as yourself is really kick-ass. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog!

-Ben

Anonymous said...

Been dealing with them since late 2007.

I have had 3 peopel working on my file. All have left. I keep faxing over information. The update screen after log in always resets to today's date. Zero progress on my loan in 14 months.

High turnover in the local office.

I was able to get my lender to modify my loan on my own without NACA's help.

Great "concept", poor execution.

Whitney said...

Anonymous--that's been my experience too, unfortunately. And even when I connect with someone at HAND who's handled my case before (sometimes the DAY before), he or she is clueless.

Really bad mananagement. I'm writing a letter to Bruce Marks.

Anonymous said...

This has been my experience with NACA they have the WORST management and customer service skills I have ever had to endure. Besides 500 calls not being returned, i have posted concerns/complaints on the website twice, left 50 messages for my agent to call me back and the 2 times i did speak to her when asked to call back i held for 1/2 an hour no responce. How can I contact the corporate office? Does anybody know?

Whitney said...

Anonymous - I'm sorry your experience has been so bad. My local office is great but, like I've said on this blog many times, my experience with HAND has been awful.

Can you not get the corporate info from the website? They're based out of Boston.

Anonymous said...

I've been dealing with NACA with over 12 months now and no progress as of yet. I was told that I was on the fast track but between this fast track I was overseas but each time I've been given different excuses why my file cannot be completed. The lastest is the funds were moved out of my savings to higher interest yielding account. So much for the fast pace. I have yet met a person last the complete process. Each person I know has a credit score over 700 and reserves in the bank but for some reason its not enough with NACA. I understand you have to wait to make sure you can afford your loan but there's something very wrong with their process. This is such a great program that I dont want to lose it but enough is enough. They need to get it together.

32mh said...

I was told that my real estate agent, whom I was working with before I started the NACA process, can attend the Buyers workshop with me because we missed the monthly workshop for agents. By going to the Buyers workshop with me will this allow my real estate agent to work with other clients of his that want to use NACA or does this agent need to attend additional workshops? Also, is NACA entitled to any of my real estate agents commision considering that NACA did not refer my real estate agent to me?

Anonymous said...

I'm Randy from Memphis, Tn. I've been trying to get a NACA loan for 3 months now. I have execellent credit but the process is getting
unreal. Calls not returned, emails not returned, etc. I don't feel any closer now than when I started. The staff are nice but they can't really tell you anything.

Anonymous said...

NACA IS HORRIBLE. I was working w. someone who was supposed to be the office manager by the name of Ashida. She was mean, rude and never returned calls. When I wrote a letter to her and the corp office, explaining the difficulty, she tried to say it was a "threat". Over a period of 6 months, i went thru 2 counselors, one of which left w/o notification or anything. Had numerous counseling sessions rescheduled by Ashida and was treatly so poorly and unprofessionally, i literally broke down in tears every day i dealt w. NACA.

With no help from corporate, I FINALLY closed with a good honest broker who got me a wonderful rate and fabulous loan. But get this... NACA (Ashidda)continued to charge my bank account the membership fee after i requested an end to my membership!!! I had to file a fraud investigation with my bank before the madness stopped.

AVOID NACA AT ALL COSTS!!

Anonymous said...

The HAND department is pure evil. The only reason I put up with them is because they are holding MY money in escrow. Bruce Marks could fix the HAND department if he wanted to. My best guess is that he does not because he only wants people to use NACA for new homes. He should either fix the HAND department or he should be honest and only allow NACA to be used with new construction.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I sold our home last year in a short sale and were also discharged from a Ch.13 BK last year. When we went to the NACA workshop (August 2, 2008)and when we met with our counselor in late 2008 we were told we would have no problem. That was almost 9 months ago. The NACA office has lost several documents and has sent us on wild goose chases for documents we'd already! The latest "hoop" was
to get on a conference call with the IRS and NACA to make sure we hadn't purposely failed to send in 1099s!! "They're just trying to cover their butts."

Our family has been through hell in the past few years and we were so hoping that NACA would help. We, too, have called and called and asked SPECIFICALLY if there is anything else the underwriters need and we are told no.

I feel so violated and exploited. We are renting a dump, but we really have no other choice but NACA with our recent history. I've held off on complaining on their website, but am seriously considering doing so and calling Bruce Marks personally. I am very tired of being given the runaround.

We are supposed to do 5 activites per year for NACA. I'm having a hard time wanting to advocate for an organization that is completely inefficient.

Sorry for the long rant!

Willow said...

OH...do I have a story to tell, but after what NACA put me through from the time I signed a contract on a home until today over 1 month later still without closing (that's supposed to happen tomorrow but I still don't know what time or the amount of the cashier's check I need to bring to the closing) I have had no less than 5 closing dates come and go without a closing!!! Thank God the sellers really wanted to sell...their patience is greatly appreciated!! I do appreciate that because of NACA I now manage my money much better and actually have a savings (at 65, it's about time I learned that!!) and if I ever close, I will be grateful for the opportunity to own my own home once again, something I thought I would never again be able to do!! THE GRATITUDE STOPS THERE!!! I have been so jacked around by NACA I just cannot believe it!! It took me a year to get my "stuff" in order, I found a house quickly, and from there it went right down the tubes...bad inspector (recommended by NACA), incorrect appraisal (ordered by NACA), a HAND dept. that cleared me to close and then rescinded that clearance...and Citi Mortgage which just kept making request after request after request...I was an incredible advocate for NACA and have already worked events, referred people, and generally talked about NACA to anyone who would listen (this was during my year to qualify)...Now with the sweat, blood, and tears "volunteered" from contract to close, I have volunteered for the last time (the blood, by the way, was when I tripped over some of the boxes I have been living with for over a month now in my tiny apartment). If there is no close tomorrow, I cannot tell you what I might do!!! Well, the first thing, honestly, would be to contact TV stations as NACA is getting ready to do a big HomeSave event here in St. Louis next weekend. I guess I will go to bed now, one more night without the home I am supposed to own. I just realized that in this autobiography of my life since NACA entered it, I never spoke about my counselor, but then, that's a whole other story!!! Thanks for "listening"...

Anonymous said...

So Willow did you cloe? I am going through the same misery right now. 8 weeks and two extensions my closing date and there is no end in sight. My councelor has avoided calls all week. Is there really nothing we can do to fight back?

Omeggaa said...

My husband and I was so excited about NACA because we were in the process of purchasing our first home, after we went to the workshop for first time homebuyers they informed us that the faster you got your paperwork to them the faster the steps will be into owning your own home.
Well after four months into it, I realized that no matter how fast you give in your paperwork, the counsellor will inform you that they did not received it and you have to keep sending the same documents over and over and over....
I am so frustrated with NACA that I would personally call Bruce Marks to make a complain, the customer service is horrible, no one return calls or emails, the counsellor don't even keep you updated, if you never ask, they never tell, the seller had to extend the closing date twice because the HAND department is dragging their foot on my case.
My advice to ANYONE who is considering NACA is to have alot of PATIENCE, if you know that you're not that kind of person well....
The only good thing that I can say about NACA is for the really good interest rates.
Anyway the ONLY motivation that keeps me going is knowing that I will be a very PRUOD homeowner, whenever that is....

Anonymous said...

We start the NACA process in April 2008 and were supposed to close in November of 2008. We are currently getting ready for extension number 16 in September 2009. There must be something that consumers can do about this...lawsuit for abuse, etc.?

Anonymous said...

It's great to read, "I'm not the only one!!!" I haven't even gotten as far as most of you but my frustration with NACA is rising quickly.
I went to a housing seminar mid June '09 and spent the following month trying to get an appointment for an initial intake. You truly have to stay on them. I tried to set up an appointment online (pointless--call your NACA office directly) to no avail. I called, wrote the corporate office, emailed the seminar leader---nothing. One day I litterally hit redial for 2 hours until I finally got the receptionist to pick up. Fast fwd two weeks--my intake appointment. I drive 2 hours to the Newark office (I live in NYC), and guess what my counselour makes me WAIT 2 hours before he sees me. What was he doing, you may ask??? Nothing!!! I clearly saw him at his desk doing jack squat!!! And here I am waiting, wondering how much time I have left on my parking meter, asking the receptionist when I will be seen. She then tells me I need to complete paperwork I had already submitted online. "I can't find it", she tells me. I had 95% of the documents needed--the counselor tells me, "Oh this is great, wish more clients are like you...your approval should go through smoothhly." I made sure to get him the other 5% of documents that night. So he could process my account. ONE MONTH LATER....I'm still waiting on this approval!!! all I can do is shake my head. If it weren't for the rate I would try another avenue. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Email Bruce Marks directly. I got a response last night from National Operations, after emailing him on Friday. I used the logic that they all have firstinitiallastname@ naca.com. So his was bmarks@naca.com. It worked!

Kim said...

It's funny but I could copy many of the previous comments, change the dates and you have my NACA experience. The product is great but they seem to have the most incompetent people working in their office. I'm dealing with the Washington DC office. I am on counselor number 3 (each of the other two left without me being notified so I left hundreds of voicemails and emails before someone was nice enough to let me know).

I found a house quickly and was able to sign a contract on July 15 and now here it is Sept 10 and I've extended the closing once and as of today I got an email saying I "should" be able to close by Sept 18. Which is good because I have to be out of my apartment by Oct.1...now don't get me wrong I LOVE my gas guzzling SUV but I don't want to live in it!!! Every time I think they have reached the pinnacle of incompetence NACA takes it to a new level. I would think that uploading documents on the web would cut out the likelihood of things being misplaced...Not so. I've posted a 401K statement 2 times and sent it to my counselor 2 times and they still can't seem to find it??? My counselor is not returning my phone calls and emails with anything concrete. He's a very nice man but I'm just exasperated with the whole process. I haven't slept a whole night in weeks...the fear of being homeless tends to cause that. IF this loan goes thru I have no idea how I will be able to volunteer in support of this program. I have nothing good to say beyond that my counselor is a nice guy!!!

Oh well let's hope I close by next friday if not i'll be spending next weekend looking for a new apartment!!

Anonymous said...

i think i have you all beat....i have been working on my loan with NACA since Feb 2008! First my son was going to be on the loan with me but then he lost his job, then my other son but noone knew how to do it being he is active military. i am separated from my husband and my brother-in-law was going to move in with me and be on the loan so we both could own a home. we get everything and I mean everything turned in and the "head of underwriting" says she doesn't think my brother-in-law is going to stay at the property so she thinks i will eventually have problems affording it. its her personal opinion, i don't know how that factors into a loan but.....so now they want me to afford it alone and i seriously think they know thats impossible being I am on disability and work part time....NACA is just horrible. I agree with others, great concept but horribly done.....

Anonymous said...

NACA...where do I start? I'm not exaggerating, but working with NACA has been the worst customer service experience I have ever received in my life!!! I would never recommend this to anyone. I have never been so stressed about anything I have invested so much time and money into. They ignore me for months at a time, they are rude, incompetent, and unnecessarily delay everything! No one ever picks up there phones or responds to emails. I have excellent credit, a good job, and have the required savings, and I've done everything required of the buyer. It's NACA and their HAND department who have not tried to help me. They take in more people than they can handle, which results in poor quality service. I have been working with them for over 1 1/2 years, and they still haven't helped me close escrow. I promise everything I have in me, that I if lose my opportunity of purchasing my home and if I lose out on my opportunity to get my first-time homebuyer's crdit, I will sue them!!!

Anonymous said...

I've been working with NACA for over 2 months now. I had my workshop at the end of August and Im getting the run around. My Credit score is over 700, I have a good job, reserves and pay my bills on time. I have sent them everything they could possibly need. I've even sent stuff before they have requested it to stay one step ahead. Everytime I get a lame excuse saying they need more information. How is that possible? I'm extremely organized and get them whatever they request within 2to 3 hours everytime. I'm one of the most patient easy going people I know, but If I don't get naca qualified this week, Im taking my file elsewhere. This is complete and utter maddness!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I finally closed my deal in the Baltimore office. Wow, was it hard to do. I had 2 counselors,prior to getting Ashidda Khalil, who worked extremly hard for me. I wanted her in the first place, but they throw you around so much. My friend closed in the DC office,and did they take her through hell? She said that every time she left the office, she left in tears. This progam is just not structured to suit the needs of the people. When I left messages for the CEO, he never once returned my Call. Getting to the closing table was hard to do.

mr p and a said...

Ohhhh Naca. I researched NACA well before I started the program in June 09. I read the complaints, and understand the turn around situation. Basically, if you aren't sitting in front of your rep, they aren't thinking about you, because of the volume of people they have to deal with. I got that. My process went smooothly for the majority of it. I like my rep, she works hard for me and actually calls me requesting some things...yes it might be the third time I'm sending them to her, but I went in expecting this. For all you considering it, just be organized....call frequently or email them to keep your name on the top of the pile.

My inspector did a great job, but had one day to upload the info on the website. Problems start here. Nothing to do with Naca though. It took me sitting in his office (secretary called and he decided not to show up that day) but I sat for 5 hours until I got my report.....a week and a half late. I learned that the 4 other naca members lost their house because of him. So when doing an inspection, make it clear to them when you want results so you aren't in the dark.

Then the naca problems started. Every time they say a day....make it three. I was supposed to close the 21st of October. Paper work with HAND didn't make it in time. Then they said 24th. That morning I got a call....oh it's Saturday....we don't close on weekends but paper work still not done. Yesterday I was on the phone with HAND all day...but got my clearance. Now the underwriter has not approved me and I was just told a few minutes ago, that it takes three days after they release me....so I won't close this week either. Monday probably. My rant right now is I was supposed to close on the 21st...10 days to move. I have to be out of my appartment this Saturday....and I have nowhere to move. I'm homeless. OMG!! I guess I will have to move to a storage unit and stay with friends and then move in the house WHEN I get it. I hate moving and the thought of moving twice has me seeing red.
I need a drink

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who to file a complaint with? and has anyone gotten results from that?

Anonymous said...

I am experiencing same as others--no response or action from NACA. All NACA does is receive gov. funds to pay the employees--our tax money!

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