(126th day, 239 more days to go) So many people are losing their homes lately because like me many of us thought we were going to be able to pay our mortgage. Heck, if you can pay for rent then it should be easy to pay your mortgage…right??
It was four years ago when I decided to let go of my home. I was a Real Estate agent working a part-time job when the so-called real estate bubble bust. I fell behind on my payments for my primary home because I had investment properties that I had to maintain too. With little money coming from my tenants, I had to put money on top of the rent money collected to pay for those mortgages.
In the beginning, it seemed simple and I was maintaining it all including my car payments, utility bills, and my daughter’s tuition for private school. Even though my daughter’s father was in the picture during this time, I blame myself for going under. I couldn’t expect him to help when he wasn’t really helping me before I started to accumulate at that stuff. However, he was there making things more difficult by giving me his unsolicited opinions which were never positive.
For years, my family and friends never knew that I was going through it until I wrote our book. I was embarrassed and ashamed that this happened to me. My nickname was The Bank of MaxLaine because I always kept my finances in order. In addition to being with someone who didn’t come from a strong financial background and looking for a shortcut to get to the top, everything eventually collapsed in a matter of ten months. It took me about the same amount of time to accumulate all of those things and I couldn’t believe that I became a victim so quickly.
Like so many victims, I searched high and low for the banks to help me but I quickly realized that they were in the business to hurt me. Why would they help me when they could get money from the insurance on the loans? These banks can turn around and resell your home after they’ve already collected the money on the insurance. In most cases, they got more money than they did when you purchased the home.
I’m sure the only reason programs like NACA exist is because those same homes that they ripped from under other victims aren’t selling like they did before. Back in the day when a foreclosed home hit the market, it would sell within weeks sometimes days. In my opinion, these programs exist to delay the inevitable. If you fall behind on your mortgage payment the damage is already done to your credit score and your pockets. You’re constantly feeling like you have to catch up. The system is set up for you to lose your home because the contract you sign at closing lets you know what will happen if you don’t pay your mortgage on time.
I thought it was the end of the world when I lost my homes. When I think back about it, I didn’t really need 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms for just my daughter and I. It was the American Dream that I almost died to have it. If I did die, I couldn’t have taken that damn house with me anyway nor the car.
I know what you’re saying, “it’s easy for you to say.” Let me guess what you’re thinking: “I invested so much money into my home,” “Where would my kids grow up?,”I won’t be able to get another home or qualify for an apartment if I lose my home,” or my favorite, “I can save my home.”
Once I accepted the truth that I could no longer afford my investment properties then it was easy to let go of my primary home. This was only after I called the banks to set up numerous payment arrangements and short sales. Nothing worked. It wasn’t like I wanted to live in the house for 30+ years.
After my stint as an agent, I found myself counseling people who were losing their homes. It was like talking to a brick wall and I understood why because I was a brick wall myself. Once I started to share my experiences with them, they appreciated it. That’s why I’m so open to sharing my experience with you. It was hard for me to find someone else who was going through the same thing that I was going through. Not to mention that I needed someone who was going to tell me the truth rather than feed me the same heap of crap that the reps for the banks would tell me.
Now, I enjoy living in a studio apartment while sharing one bathroom without feeling ashamed. So what if I went through Foreclosure. I’m still alive and can appreciate life without the stress. Maybe someday I will try again to own my home. Until then, I’m content with helping someone else pay their mortgage…without the maintenance headache, of course.
If you’re losing your home, the only advice I can give you is to, “do what you can with what you have.” If you’re doing more than your means can reach then that’s not the home for you.
Written by: Maxx