January 20, 2011

Pay up, Sucka!

"Ms. Ephemily, you haven't paid the mortgage recently, and we kinda take issue with this. I mean, we'd been such good friends until recently. What gives?" the letter said. Well, it's paraphrase, but that's the gist. Well, no. You see, here's the thing. I got divorced last year. He and his girlfriend moved out and left me to take care of the house. We could barely afford it when we lived together. There's no way I can afford it alone. Divorce drama aside, I've come to the conclusion that just unclenching and letting the house go is the best course of action. I can't sell it. I can't afford it. Time to call the bank and part as friends.

Now, before you go feeling sorry for me consider this. I did this by choice. I thought out all the options in front of me, and this is the one that works best. I hate my house. It's too new for me. It's too large for one person. I never wanted to live in the part of town where I do, and I don't want to keep it or rent it out. I have tried to sell it like a good little mortgage holder and didn't even get a single showing. So, a strategic foreclosure is the best course of action for me. I'm writing about it so others who are going through it, or are thinking about it know what to expect.

I came to this decision after nearly cracking under the stress in about October of last year. Everything seemed to be coming to a head, and I felt like I had no out. However, pride cometh before a fall, so I let go of my pride. Yes, I used to have pristine credit. However, in order to afford to get divorced, we had to file chapter 13 bankruptcy. So, that trashed it right there. I figure I might as well pull the big lever and let the house go too. They'll both fall off my credit rating at about the same time, and I'll have the opportunity to live where I want to in the mean time.

So, back in October I called my bank and told them what's up. I said to them that I can't afford the house, and I can't keep the house up as well as it deserves. I'm recently divorced, and I really just need a smaller place. I'd like to talk about a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Well, they wouldn't even talk to me about it for two reasons. First, the house has to be for sale and listed for at least 90 days. Second, because it was still protected in my chapter 13 bankruptcy, they couldn't start proceedings on it until it was released. The CSR told me that I had to initiate that. Well, the lawyer told me that THEY had to file the paperwork. Ok, fine. Let the finger pointing begin. I'm not making any more payments. You guys go ahead and figure this out. You both know where to find me when you get that squared away.

Fast forward to yesterday. I get the letter I've been waiting for in the mail. "Um, as your lawyer, I need to tell you that your mortgage company isn't happy with you, but you can stay friends if you pay up now. If you don't, they're going to spread ugly rumors about you in the locker room. Don't say we didn't warn you." Well, it seems they've noticed and I have their attention. Alright! That's good. Time to get this started in earnest. *cracks knuckles*

So, I called the lawyer's office to let them know what to expect from me, and it wasn't a check. I told them I have no intention of coming current with the mortgage. I am interested in doing a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or even Cash for Keys if I qualify. I have no plans to trash my house. I want to leave it in the condition it is right now. It's entirely livable, and I'm not upside down on the loan. I'm right at about break even actually. I have had the house on the market for the required 90 days, and I've continued to take care of the place as best I can. I also know that they should have a record of my telling them this back in October since I called them to inquire about it before I stopped paying.

What this means is this. Sometime in the near future, I'm going to be looking for a new place to call home. It could be as soon as 30 days from now. It could also be as far out as who knows. It's all up to the bank now and when they want to file the legal paperwork. Once they petition to have my house released from the bankruptcy, I'll have 6-8 weeks to move out. I'm glad to know this is moving, but it's going to drive me nuts with all the waiting. In some things I have the patience of a saint. In other ways, I'm an angry Tasmanian devil in a cage full of bees. I want this done now now now now now! However, I have no control over the next step. It's your move bank. Make it a good one.

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