Blog of a Million Dreams

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Help! I'm Losing My Home....

So far, I've watched as two neighbors and two good friends went through the process of losing their homes.

One friend attempted a short sale, was denied by the bank, and will most likely foreclose.

Another friend chose bankruptcy and was allowed to keep her home.

My first neighbor in danger of foreclosure was fortunate enough to land a job with a company that handled the sale. The neighbor lost money on the home, largely due to their own financial and real estate incompetence. They listed the home for $499,000. After an all cash offer of $465,000, they became offended. So they pushed the list price up to $525,000. The house didn't sell and the neighbors decided to drop the price to $470,000.

Eventually my neighbors house sold for $440,000.

The next neighbors to go through the process of losing their home, listed it as a short sale. They had dumped all of their income into nonsensical 'home improvements' (a variety of paint jobs, unlicensed contractors changing the heating system without a permit, adding a shower to the downstairs bath when neither of the 2 bedrooms were downstairs, etc.,). When their loan reset, the neighbors, who had spent most of their income on vacations and other perks, were unable to meet the payment. Upset, they lost any profit on their home.

What's the lesson in all this?

Well, I've come up with a few things to think about when possibly losing your home;

1) Rethink your lifestyle. Maybe losing your home isn't the worst thing in the world. Some people were not meant to be homeowners. If you drive a leased vehicle, plan on moving in the next three years, place value on looking good and feeling flush, living in a house that isn't your dream home might not be for you. Homeowners typically live below their means. Successful homeowners usually don't go on fancy vacations, fix their own leaky toilets and often repair and paint their homes themselves. Maybe you'd be better off pouring your hard earned cash into mutual funds or stocks or some kind of investment other than real estate.

2) Just because you heard that the government will help you with your short sale or foreclosure, doesn't mean that you qualify. You're going to have to jump through hoops, call, beg and borrow to get banks and government workers to listen to you and help you. And you still might not get the help you need to save your home.

3) If you're under water and barely making it, losing your home might take a huge burden off of you. Being unemployed is bad enough. Being unemployed with a mortgage you can't afford is worse.

4) Just when it looks like you are going to lose it all (and sometimes when you feel you already have), you'll often find that what you thought was insurmountable has ended up for the best. Sometimes, simplifying your life makes room for all the dreams you thought had passed you by. Be open for good things to happen, despite losing your home.

Those are just a few thoughts I've had about the foreclosure nightmare going on in this country...

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