I usually don’t post about my personal life on here. There’s several reasons for that. But, sometimes being fractionated doesn’t feel good. I think many other people may be in a similar situation. So, I am writing about this on here.
I just got off the phone with my home loan company. When we bought this home, it was always a seller’s market in South Florida, and real estate was the only intelligent investment left. We bid on our house within hours of pictures going up on the realtor dotcom site. Home buying was a full contact sport, with just as many speculators and flippers searching for homes as there were people looking for a place to live.
Even though it felt weird and almost fraudulent moving into a house with the price tag we qualified for, we didn’t commit fraud to do it. We moved into a middle class neighborhood into a modest 1,400 square foot house. We moved as far west as we could and out of Miami Dade county into the neighboring county to find a less expensive neighborhood. Trust me, I scoured the home prices on every home in a neighborhood with A schools, and this was the cheapest one within an hour’s drive.
I knew what an adjustable rate mortgage was. I was working, making a good income, and going to school to be a midwife. I thought I would be practicing by now. We refinanced to a flat rate loan with a higher monthly payment so we would have more equity paid in the house and wouldn’t get smacked with a balloon payment. Thanks to a loan / investment from my mother, we had a substantial down payment on the house and were nowhere near over our heads. Because of the crazy bubble, when we refinanced our house was worth so much more, we were able to bundle our car loan into it, and our car was paid off. We still had tons of equity.
Well, then the housing market crashed. I was in medical school and not a midwife, and had no income but student loans. My husband, a public school teacher, no longer could coach after school or teach summer school, since the school district has slashed both programs. Last I checked, our home has lost almost half its value. For the first time in ages, people are leaving South Florida.
I just fought off tears on the phone with a representative at my bank’s “modification” department. I was defending myself, telling her we didn’t have a “sub prime” loan that I knew of, and that we were hard working, honest people, not deadbeats.
I got an email from my uncle, (who has since died, may he rest in peace) making fun of people who were losing their homes. When I listen to the radio, there is a right wing talk show commercial (not listening to a right wing station, but I guess they advertise on there) in which the host screams “Got a sub prime loan? Pay it back!!” like people who are struggling are somehow to blame when the “free markets” these people say are the answer to everything are what put us in this situation, not poor decision making on our part.
Anyway, I have 11 pages of paperwork to fill out, and then a 90 to 120 day process to look forward to. We are not in bankruptcy or foreclosure. But, we have sacrificed everything to continue to pay this mortgage. We have been putting groceries on a credit card and are behind on other payments. We had to ask for help paying for a birthday party for our son.
Anyway, I am not looking for sympathy or a handout. I am looking to humanize the foreclosure crisis. I get furious every time I hear a news report about it discussing the banks. What about the homeowners? What about the real families whose lives were those so called “worthless” sub prime loans? When you hear numbers in the hundreds of thousands of loans that are in foreclosure when we hear these stories about these poor struggling banks…where are those moving vans going to?