There are a number of things that I am not sure I should write about and this is one of them. It is one of the sensitive subjects for people. It can illicit many different responses from people. I have learned while going through this a bit about people and a lot about who our real friends are. Some people don’t want to get near folks who have these issues for fear the stink or bad karma might rub off on them. I have also learned in life that I am only spending time with people who I feel good about being around and so I am ok with those that have dropped off the radar screen bc they know our affliction – it is what it is. So here I go telling my story hoping it may help others in some way….
The other day the bank that holds our mortgage on a home we own but haven’t lived in for 5 years decided that it would foreclose on it. They had every right to do it. They did – but it really didn’t make sense. Their final answer came to us as we were driving to Williamsburg last Friday afternoon. Hmmm good play Mr. Bank – not much can be done on a Friday. But we were going to try.
A little background…(I will try to make it quick). Two years ago(Aug 2013) I was diagnosed with breast cancer – huge bummer and it left us with some bills. We also had some credit card debt. Another huge bummer was the company that we own and I run had been going through a slow patch(well patch is an understatement but you get the picture) so my salary had been dwindling and became nil. The company still needed to be run and I did the best as I could during my cancer treatments. Anyway we own a home that we rented out after we moved to this farm. We had renters for three years and had been losing a chunk of money every month and that just couldn’t happen anymore. At about the same time I was diagnosed with cancer, our renter moved out and we were unable to find another qualified tenant so we put the home on the market for sale thinking it would sell fast. It was going to be a short sale and that meant the bank had the final approval. Over the course of that first 8 months we had two contracts on our home at separate times. Both fell through because the bank could not get make a decision on the contract in a reasonable amount of time. Not a shock. You hear about this all the time…but it was frustrating.
We met with some financial people in the fall of 2014 and discussed our options. By this time the bank had begun threatening to foreclose. This is after we lost the two contracts because of their slowness. We had not been able to make the payments on the home but were paying the HOA each month. We still had the house on the market but realized that with the debt we had and the loss of income that we were in tough shape. So we decided that filing bankruptcy would be the best thing. It would protect us from the bank seeking repayment for anything a sale on the home did not cover and it would wipe our debt clean. This decision is not an easy one to make and I have journaled about it and will share some of that in future posts.
When you file bankruptcy all your assets become managed by a trustee. So the house was not able to be on the market for sale during the bankruptcy process- nor could it be foreclosed on during that time. As soon as the trustee had our assets released we put the house back on the market and got an offer in three weeks. That was mid-June. The offer was sent to the bank in a hurry along with all the required financials from us. Why they needed these financials is beyond me as we were no longer liable for the home. But there were boxes to be checked I suppose. I also knew that the bank was going to pursue the foreclosure again – info easily found on the judicial records of your state. So time was not on our side but I thought a viable offer would make them postpone the foreclosure. But nope a date was set of August 5. The bank was asked to reconsider..the bank gave us the run around and told our representatives(who specialize in moving short sales along bc banks are known to be slow) they had not received the paperwork in the proper amount of time. The representatives had faxes to the contrary. So after being shown those, the bank gave us a list of more stuff they needed and said if we got it in they would consider postponement..we got it in. The bank decided they did not have time to work the offer as they needed an appraisal and they wouldn’t have enough time to get one before the foreclosure day (none of this made sense to me- nor to my representatives). Why not ask the court for a 30 day stay while you look at the offer in hand? Nope. Sigh…
My real estate agent suggested I contact a senators office. Here I was on a Friday in July away from home -where all my paperwork was and a printer -trying to contact a senator. First call was to Barbara Mikulski’s office where I was sent to the voicemail of someone gone for the day – I left a message but did not think I’d hear back in time. We had the weekend and Monday and Tuesday as the following Wednesday- August 5- was F day (foreclosure day). So I contacted Senator Van Hollen’s office – via email. Within an hour I heard back from a man that said he would help in any way he could. I had to get a release signed- crap- we were away but there must be a Fed Ex nearby- there was-they would print it for me- and they did. Over dinner and drinks with my good friends I filled out the release and scanned it into my phone (Docscan is a great app) and sent it back to the Senator’s office. My real estate agent also wrote an incredible email trying to help. The inquiry asking for postponement from the senator was made Monday and the bank responded the same day with a no go- this time citing that there was a second mortgage on the home therefore they had to go ahead with the foreclosure. This again makes no sense bc the second lien will get nothing in the event of a foreclosure. They would want the bank to work the contract in hand. But that was not going to happen. F day was going to happen.
So even a Senator could not make the banks budge. And like I said the banks are within their rights to do this – it doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. We didn’t want a foreclosure bc it will hit our credit hard –and we had a buyer! Three times! We took care of the property as best we could. In the end, the bank saw us as an entity that had no liability for the home but was still tied to the home so they cut us loose with no care for us or our hardships over the last 2 years. They wanted their money back. I get it- its just frustrating. They probably wont get as much as the offer we had for them. But they wont have encumbrances either- no second lien to be worried about no lame duck homeowner. I wonder who will mow the lawn now.
Its a sad ending for the house that my husband I watched being built and that I raised my kids in for 8 years. I wanted a family in it and perhaps that will happen. I hope it does. I am not tied to that home anymore- home is where I am now – where my people are – but I am fond of that house. I never thought this would happen when we moved to this farm 5 years ago. Life is like that- its going to throw you curve balls. And we’ve been batting a number of them over the last couple years.
This hasn’t been easy. There are times when I feel pretty bad. Mostly when I notice friends back away. But I know we did what we had to do with filing bankruptcy. I also know we also tried to hard to avoid foreclosure. A few years ago this might have devastated me- the bankruptcy- the foreclosure but not now. After having cancer things that would have torn me to pieces just can’t do that to me now. We will come back from this. Today my husband hugged me and said ” we will be ok…we are ok…” Yes we are ok and we will be ok because we know whats most important in life. Love and joy and living…we are blessed. Today I responded to our representatives who wrote me letting me know they thought the bank decision was wrong – I said “We are moving on from this – its been a tough couple years but this is no biggie compared to cancer. Its just financial- its not life… So on with life!”
On With Life….
Thanks for reading….