A medical doctor, she had gone back to school in the early 2000s to earn a master's degree from Harvard University to further her career. Her husband was a successful small businessman. Their two youngest sons attended private schools.
For more than two decades, the family has lived in the Beverly neighborhood in a handsome, ivy-lined Tudor, and Shabazz imagined that the couple would one day pay off their 30-year mortgage and throw a party to tear up the note, the way her parents did in 1969.
"The thinking back then was that you could pay off your mortgage within your lifetime and you were free," said Shabazz, 61, who grew up in the Chatham neighborhood.
But a career change and a car accident dramatically altered the Shabazzes' fortunes and left the family staring down foreclosure.
The story of how Shabazz would ultimately save her home is a glimpse into what, for many homeowners, has been a painstaking federal loan modification process involving mountains of red tape and paperwork, hours of phone conversations with mortgage representatives and long meetings with housing counselors often unprepared to handle the large number of customers hoping to restructure their loan payments.