Monday, October 26, 2009

This just in: Moving is still not fun

We decided to run away from the condo we bought two and half years ago. We bought it just before the housing bubble burst. It’s worth about 50 grand less than we bought it for now. My brother/roommate lost his job, so we lost his rent. My sculpting classes never took off for a variety of reasons. Heather’s medical issues are putting her in so much pain she can’t work as many hours as she used to. All this adds up to an inability to sustain our current mortgage. We heard from others various stratagies for getting out of a mortgage. I’ve got a co-worker who simply stopped paying his several months ago, and is just saving the money he would be paying, knowing that he’s going into foreclosure whenever the bank gets around to it. I thought about that. I couldn’t really do it in good conscience. I signed an agreement and I like to do what I agree to. The next best thing to foreclosure is a short sale. My other brother’s in-laws had just done this recently and they told us about the process and gave us some advice. We talked to my pastor and my dad. They both said it’s probably the most moral thing we can do in our situation. It basically means leaving the condo and selling it as quickly as possible which means cheaply, and the bank has to eat the difference between what they loaned us and what it sells for. Needless to say, banks don’t like doing that, and so the process is full of hoops to jump through and legal issues that have to be carefully navigated. But it’s better for the bank than foreclosure. Usually. But they will usually play hardball, and drag out the process of selling the place, so it can be difficult to find a buyer for a short sale.

I don’t feel good about it. And our visit to a lawyer didn’t make me feel much better. He painted a much scarier picture than the real estate agent who says she’s done a ton of these and they almost always work out fine. It seems that the least we’ll lose is all our savings, and at the worst we’ll have to declare bankruptcy. No, actually that’s not the worst. The worst is that the buyer says we didn’t making the upcoming siding issue our condo association is doing was clear enough to them and they personally sue us, which bankruptcy will not erase. In other words we could be financially devastated for many many years.

Either way, we made the leap and moved into a cute little house with a yard and garage this weekend. We’re renting it for less than we were paying on the mortgage, so we are able to lower my brother’s rent and his unemployment should cover it for a while.

Moves are always stressful, but facing the possibility of total financial destruction, along with the work of having to re-paint, re-carpet, and redo all the molding on the condo to make it nice enough to sell is really compounding the stress. (I've been doing heavy manual labor from the time I get up to the time I lay down for almost a week now. Oh, and I just got three moles removed this morning. I probably should not have done that just before I have to paint, rip up carpet and pull off molding, huh?

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