Title problems threaten to cause family to lose their South Tampa home

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Kris and Rebecca Kraft face losing their South Tampa Home, even though they’ve never missed a mortgage payment. They never even did business with the bank trying to take their home.

The Krafts bought their house, at 1508 S. Arrawana Ave., in 2013. Everything was fine, but then they started receiving strange mail from real estate professionals. The professionals offered to help the couple fight foreclosure or relocate to another home they could afford.

“It’s mind blowing that something like this could happen,” Kris Kraft told 8 On Your Side.

Then the situation got worse. They came home to find foreclosure notices taped to their front door and garage. Plus, a “relocation specialist,” hired by Nationstar Bank, started calling constantly, wanting to the Krafts to move out.

And then, the unthinkable happened. A friend in the real estate business called them to ask why their house was listed for sale on Zillow.com. The Krafts had no idea and panicked. It was late at night when they got the news.

“Neither of us slept all night long, thinking, ‘What the heck is happening?'” Rebecca Kraft recalled. “This is our home. We’ve been paying for this.”

They were even more stunned when they read the listing on Zillow and saw a very unusual – and spooky – description.

“Property is occupied and occupants are not to be disturbed or contacted under any circumstances,” the listing read.

The Krafts discovered the title to their home was transferred to Nationstar Bank in late December – without any warning to them. And when they called the bank with questions, they were told they weren’t authorized to receive information.

“We do not have a loan with them,” Kris Kraft said. “They won’t even talk to us.”

At a loss, the Krafts did some research in public records and drew out a timeline on a white board.

Here’s a rundown of how thing unraveled:

The house first sold in 2004. That buyer took out two mortgages from two different banks and then lost the home to foreclosure in 2013. This is when things got weird. The second mortgage holder beat the main mortgage holder in a race to foreclose. That bank sold the home to an investor who then flipped it to the Krafts.

But no one caught the big title mistake. The home should have never been sold because of the clouded title. Then in December 2015 the first mortgage holder, now Nationstar Bank, decided to foreclose on its lien and take the title. Today, both Nationstar and the Krafts claim title.

For the Krafts, it’s a nightmare. They have a 4-month-old baby and gave a down payment of $80,000. They also stand to lose years of equity and improvement, such as new windows and a custom driveway.

A spokeswoman for Nationstar said the bank was not aware of the problems until contacted by 8 On Your Side. She vowed to get to the bottom of things and promised to take the Krafts’ home off of the real estate market until the issues are sorted out.

The Krafts did buy title insurance when they bought the home from Old Republic. 8 On Your Side went there for answers, too, but no one would come out of a fancy Tampa office to answer questions.

The title insurance could cover mortgage costs for the Krafts if they have to give their home back to Nationstar, but that doesn’t make the Krafts feel much better. They want this sorted out so they can keep their home.

“It makes me sick,” Rebecca Kraft said. “It makes me physically ill. I can’t tell you. Every time I walk by, there’s photos on the wall. It breaks my heart.”

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