An Errington woman is desperately trying to save her home from imminent foreclosure, and is warning others to stay away from short term mortgages, that offer money to those with poor credit at high interest rates.
Cynthia Sonsalla is now just days away from losing her home after being mortgage free just a few years ago.
With its forest surroundings and wind chimes, Cynthia Sonsalla was immediately enchanted with her Errington property and thought she’d lived here for the rest of her life.
“This was my dream home when I bought it,” says the Errington resident.
But now the 51 year-old who scrapes together an income with landscaping and dishwashing jobs is about to lose everything she owned outright, mortgage free just a few years ago.
“I’m very upset about the whole thing,” she says.
Sonsalla is one of thousands of Islanders who turn to private lenders because they can’t get credit through typical sources like banks. It comes at a cost though. Usually much higher interest rates, and terms that would make most borrowers cringe, like miss a payment just once and your home can be foreclosed on in 48 hours.
But when her mom needed money fast, Sonsalla mortgaged her home for the first time with a private high risk lender for a 1 year mortgage at 12% that when it came due she says she thought would be renegotiable. Instead the lender asked for the total owing to close out the mortgage. Now she can’t get a loan with anyone else, and she’s about to lose her home to foreclosure.
“You tried to make payments? Yeah and they refused any payments and they refused straight out to renew it,” says Sonsalla.
Lawyers for the company that holds Sonsalla’s mortgage, didn’t return our calls for comment.
The victim of a brain injury, Sonsalla says she never understood this could happen. That she could actually lose her house.
“And sometimes I have trouble understanding things.”
The Parksville lawyer who’s helping Sonsalla pro-bono says high risk mortgage clients need to read to read the fine print, because private lenders aren’t bound by the same lending rules as banks and therefore there’s fewer consumer protections. Therefore foreclosure can be a result at the end of the mortgage term for many.
“And at the end of the year if they can’t get the financing then they’ll be foreclosed on and they will lose their home,” says lawyer Karen Stewart.
A reality Sonsalla is facing now. Trying against all odds to find the $107,000 owing on her mortgage before August 11th or lose the only home she’s ever owned.