Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Need advice on housing dilemma (long post)

  1. #1
    Senior Member EarthSky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    139

    Need advice on housing dilemma (long post)

    I have a housing dilemma, and no one locally with a SL perspective with whom to talk it through. So, I need your wisdom!

    Background: Short version of very long story: I've been unemployed due to a budgetary cut of my executive job in a non-profit agency. Been a final candidate for several positions - in and out of state - but not offered the position (because the organization has deferred hiring until the economy improves, or they've offered the position to someone else).

    I'm a single mom of 3 children (2 still at home, one with special needs, and 1 in college), and have worked in churches and non-profit organizations.

    I've received some hardship assistance on my mortgage through a federal program.
    The last payment will be in April. I doubt that I'll be able to afford the mortgage/taxes/insurance/maintenance/repairs even when employed again, as it will take months to make up lost financial ground.

    Dilemma: The few friends, neighbors and family members (save one) who know of my situation think I should just stay put, as they know 'lots of people' who have stopped paying their mortgage for 1-2 years as the lenders have done little to move toward foreclosure. They opine that I should do this, especially as I've "done nothing wrong" regarding the layoff, finances, etc.
    I think I should put the house on the market (and have been organizing/purging/packing), and prepare to downsize to an apt or condo, and/or to move out of state.
    The above-mentioned folks emphasize that staying put would provide more stablility for the kids, safe neighborhood, yard for the dogs, keep my support systems in place, more time to look for a job, etc.
    This all appeals to me, but I also feel that it's time to cut my losses and move on. (I will unfortunately be paying off the large bill for the roof I had to put on the house for a long time, but there's nothing I can do to change that now.)

    I have been craving a return to a minimalist lifestyle for several years, but it's been challenging to limit the 'stuff' with daughters who are very emotionally attached to their school work, art, stuffed animals, etc. It is also important to me to 'take the high road' -- although I could stay in the house for many more months, it isn't the right thing to do if I can't afford it (and will also hurt my credit score and potential to buy a home in the future).

    Have any of you faced a similar dilemma? If so, do you have wisdom to share re: your decision process? In trying to stay true to my strong ethical compass, are my eyes closed to other options? (Already explored having a roommate, but there's not enough room.)
    I spent the day 'purging' and am about ready to sign with a realtor, but am having 'jitters' about my decision.
    Thanks for listening and your SL advice!
    Last edited by EarthSky; 3-15-12 at 9:27pm. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    2,172
    I think your instincts sound good. Moving isn't the worst thing that can happen to kids and it's a healthy thing for them to see you make difficult decisions that maintain your sense of integrity. You sound like a person with a good head on your shoulders. You'll make a good decision, I'm sure.
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

    Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it. -Marcel the Shell with Shoes

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Phoenix
    Posts
    2,263
    I would always choose to list a property with full intent to sell, rather than fall behind in payments. Ethically, that feels right to me also.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Anne Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Great Plains
    Posts
    598
    I wouldn't risk defaulting on the mortgage. Leaving aside the moral and ethical questions, that could end up backfiring on you.

    Make no mistake, the banks WILL come sniffing around someday. And if the economic recovery does continue, the sniffing will be sooner rather than later.
    Formerly known as Blithe Morning II

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kestra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    904
    My parents were forced into a similar situation when I was about 9 (with 3 younger siblings). They couldn't afford the mortgage and utilities on the older house, so decided to give it up and find a rental. I think my father's credit rating was somewhat damaged by the affair but because he had a steady income I don't think getting a rental was a problem. It turned out quite well. The house had a bigger yard than the rental, but overall wasn't any bigger than the townhouse we found to rent. The house was a lot older than the townhouse so the utilities were worse as well. We had a little yard, but we had the whole run of the complex to play with other kids and just hang out without crossing roads. It was a decent place - nothing fancy, but 1.5 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms and a relatively usable basement. Because there were 5 kids my father put up some illegal bedrooms in the basement when we got older, so we could have some privacy. All yard work and exterior maintenance was taken care of. One of the best things, was the decrease in my parent's stress level. There were of course still issues as 5 kids on one salary is always hard, but there wasn't that mortgage hanging over them.

    As for the kids, not saying that yours are, but most kids seem pretty spoiled these days. Seeing you make tough decisions, budgeting, purging, and doing what is required to survive is more useful than having stuff. And they will adapt. If they have to live in a smaller place, so be it. I am grateful that I got my own room most of the time, even if it was tiny, didn't have real walls and the bed was a platform of 2 X 6 boards or foam on the floor. But just a generation or two ago, sharing small spaces was the norm.
    Of course the kids will complain - that is just what they do. I didn't properly appreciate my parents at the time and had my moments of snottiness, even though I was overall an excellent kid. Regardless of the wealth or possessions of kids, whether a lot or a little, they'll still find things to complain about. That's what motivates them to move out and do things their own way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,819
    I think your instincts are right on, and I would do what you are doing.

    And for whatever it's worth, I always liked moving.

    No doubt, you've looked at ways to keep things as smooth as possible, such as finding apartments/houses to rent in their school district, continuing with the same support people that you have now, and so on and so forth.

    And, when it's time to move out of state (if it is), then you'll be good to go.

    Honestly, I don't see this as a big deal at all.

  7. #7
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    6,046
    Your advisors are speaking from their feelings of comfort in how they perceive your situation. Personally going through it is quite different. You need to open up options for employment and getting your house on the market and selling it will free up heavy commitments.
    You are on the right track and I agree with others, children adapt if they understand the situation.

    For some reason, I am feeling compelled to add this. Be careful that extended family is not influencing the children inappropriately to meet the extended family's wishes.

  8. #8
    Senior Member EarthSky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    139
    Wow, thank you, each one of you. I knew I could count on this community to help me feel more at peace with my decision-making process! Yes, children will adjust, especially if they know they are deeply loved!

  9. #9
    Senior Member EarthSky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    139
    rass - your re-framing (that others are speaking from *their* feelings of comfort in how they perceive my situation) is so very helpful. You are right - there may be more concern about how my move will affect them - and their view of the world. And yes, I'm the one that will have to live with myself, and my decision, when all is said and done!

    Have I said lately how much I *appreciate* this forum?!

  10. #10
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    10,240
    I agree with everyone else--follow your instincts, and don't listen what you feel in your heart is not the right decision for you. Put aside the anxiety that naturally comes with any move.

    Just for the record, I had a similar situation where I had no choice--I could not afford my home. I was working full time and my child care for 3 kids ate up over 50% of my income as a secretary. My DH at the time had some health/addiction issues. I don't think I ever made a conscious decision to not pay the mortgage--it just couldn't get paid. My optimistic delusions made me hope that my DH would straighten himself out and get a big commission check and we'd be able to pay it back.

    For two years we lived without paying the mortgage and knowing we were eventually going to get kicked out. Psychologically, it's a very hard place to be in. You're literally in limbo. You don't fix up the place because you can't afford and it doesn't make sense to bother, so you're living in place below your standards. You want to think ahead, but there's a spot in your mental timeline that hits a wall--it's very stressful. You don't feel you have any control of your future. So consider that as you are making that decision as well.

    As it turned out, my uncle, who was in real estate, was able to negotiate a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure with the bank. We set out to find a new place. We drove from upstate New York into New Jersey, with no clue as to what was going to happen next. I had three small boys and was 8 months pregnant. My MIL was with us and she mentioned something as we passed a particular random street going down Route 1, and so we just turned off and went to a real estate office. Out came a cute, perky real estate agent who took one look at me smothered with kids, and said, "I have just the right place for you!"

    She took us to a rental--a 3 bedroom house that abutted a park and a school. She figured with 3.8 kids that would be a key driver for me! The kids ran around happily in the yard, noting the jungle gym in the park. Well, aside from the avocado shag carpeting and metallic wallpaper, the place seemed pretty good. But my DH said to the agent, "It's nice and all, but we can't just take the first house we see."

    "OK," she said. "Look all weekend if you want, but you'll be back."

    She was right. We went back.

    A few years later the landlord decided he didn't like being a long-distance landlord and offered us the house. My very generous MIL helped us scrape together a down payment and in one short trip to the lawyer, the house was ours. That was over 20 years ago--I'm I'm sitting here writing this post looking out at that same park, the same school.

    I was so anxious, and so upset, and my self-esteem had been decimated and this is what came of it. God works in mysterious ways! So listen to your gut (what I would call the God within you)
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •