Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A year later and look how far we've...fallen?
Wow..I've been thinking a lot lately about this blog and how severely I've neglected it, but I didn't realize it had been over a year. Ironically, the last entry mentioned the sale date placed on our home by our lender, and my hope that the law firm we'd hired would come through for us.
Here's the Reader's Digest version of what's happened since then: The law firm we hired was indicted for fraud by the California state deparment of justice and disbarred. Down the drain went our several thousand dollars and any hope of them helping us.
Along came a woman named Lynne Leary with a company called Fidelity Financial Group, trying to get me to sign on with her, telling me she was certain her company would get our loan modified. After having been ripped off by Guardian and now Kramer and Kaslow, you can bet I was a little gun-shy (a tad "leery" if you will) about another company attempting to "help" us. She went as far as to meet us out for dinner, along with her husband, to demonstrate her sincerity and integrity. Roll forward to September of last year; our house was about to be taken in foreclosure, we needed to know immediately whether to take action (they'd already had us file emergency bankrupcies twice) the next day to stop the sale...and Lynne wasn't answering our calls. Her excuse the next day?? "I left my phone at the gym." As though that one cell phone was her only means of reaching us, when she KNEW we needed a response. Lo and behold, the house was sold.
Yup, folks, this woman who PROMISED me we wouldn't lose our house (I can show you emails from her..) let us lose our house. And then the entire company refused to respond to our calls or emails. The only response I ever got was a threat to refer us to their legal department if we did not retract our complaint to the BBB and Department of Justice about them. Ahem. Yes..there were threatening to sue us for complaining about how they took money up front for loan modification assistance (illegal), then failed to provide us with the services they offered, and failing to refund our money (their policy stated refund would be given in the case of a lender refusing a loan mod). Down the drain went THAT money, plus..oh, our lives.
The bank sent in their real estate agent the same day we found out we'd lost the house. He arrived on our doorstep and told us that the sooner we could get out of the house, the more "cash for keys" the bank would give us. Cash for keys is a small sum of money offered by the bank to entice the family to leave quickly without damaging the house. It's supposed to help out with the expenses of moving (security deposit on a rental, etc.). What it does is force you to feel under major pressure to move your entire life into the first rental you can find....and YOU GET TAXED FOR IT AS INCOME!!!!
We frantically began looking for a house to rent - with our print business and our 4 dogs, we required a garage and a yard, so we needed a house or townhome. Plus we needed to stay in our current city so that our daughter could complete high school (she graduates in 2013) and not have her life totally upended. We had problems because our credit is awful (thanks to not only the foreclosure, but the fact that we did debt consolidation the year before..apparently owing nothing and having no credit cards isn't good) and we had 4 dogs plus our tenant (who had been renting a large room in our house). Luckily we were accepted by the owner of a nice townhome - it's way smaller than our place, so most of our stuff is still in boxes 6 months later, and the rent is higher than what our mortgage payment had been before it adjusted up (causing the need for the loan mod and the fuckarow that ensued..)...but hey, it's a roof over our heads.
We're barely making it. Jim's unemployment, the income I make from my Etsy shop and the rent our tenant (thank the lord he agreed to move with us) pays is JUST enough to cover the rent, food, some of the bills (I have to do some creative juggling) and expenses each month. We live in a constant state of panic, wondering if we'll make the rent.
We're still working hard to build the printing business, I'm still running my stamp business, Jim's trying to find a job.
We're definitely not where I'd hoped we'd be (ie; still in our home with an affordable loan) a year ago.
On a happier note, we're healthy, we're still working toward making a living doing what we love to do, I'm still hooping a LOT, we have a lot of amazing friends and family who came through for us when we needed help with the move, and the shower in this bathroom actually looks clean after I clean it! One thing I don't miss about our house is the fact that our master bathroom was about to pretty much disintegrate. So there's that.
Always a silver lining...