Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Homeowners

This last year has been quite the adventure for us. In July we received a surprise visit from our landlords, inquiring what our intentions were with buying the house we were currently renting? We reaffirmed that we would begin to look in the fall (as originally agreed upon). Two weeks after school started, we received a phone call informing us that our landlords had some misfortune earlier in the year when he had been laid off. The rent we were paying had been used to supplement their lack of income and now they were facing foreclosure on the house we were living in. This news overwhelmed us. Needing a handicapped accessible house for Gramma and two children on IEP's in school (needing to stay in their schools), the prospect of moving on such short notice was daunting.

We began looking in to purchasing the house, only to discover that the Fannie Mae Laws regarding how long a buyer needed to wait before purchasing another house after bankruptcy had changed. We talked to a few lenders and they told us the same thing. We would NOT be able to purchase the house. This was sort of a relief to us because we had prayed on multiple occasions regarding whether or not we should buy this house and never felt a confirmation that we should. We knew if we bought the house because we were in a jam, we would ultimately regret it.

Our landlords began looking into "working things out with the bank" to avoid foreclosure. They had us sign another lease because "the bank was requiring there to be a signed lease." They assured us to continue paying the rent and they would work things out. There wasn't really anything suitable out there for us to rent, so we didn't have much choice in the matter.

In January, I began receiving texts from my landlords again asking "what our intentions with the house were?" We explained that the amount they were hoping for the house was way beyond what we were really willing to pay for the house. Living in the house for 2 1/2 years, we were well aware of the "problems" with the house and knew there would need to be a good deal of money invested into the house in the next 10 years. She told me they would put the house on the market in the Spring and if they couldn't sell would consider selling us the house as a "short sale."

Over the next few months we would observe people pulling up outside the house, taking notes, and taking pictures. Having foreclosed on a house, we were familiar with this process. On March 19th, one of the kids came and awakened us informing me that someone was at the door for us. I came to the door to discover someone from the landlord's bank there to "serve them with papers". Imagine both of our surprise when they discovered that we were tenants. Jonathan and I became gravely concerned. The pieces of this puzzle just weren't matching up. Supposedly the bank was aware we were renting this house, and now they were surprised we lived there? We didn't feel like we were being dealt with honestly.

We attended a wedding that day and discussed what we had experienced with my Mom and Jim and a friend of ours who is a lawyer. Our lawyer friend looked up on the Lucas County Docket and showed us exactly what had been transpiring between our landlords and the courts. The evidence was right in front of us, the house was set to be foreclosed on in May. We were counseled to stop paying rent to the landlords, place the rent in a holding account, and start looking for another place to live. He also gave us the name of the bank he works for to inquire if we might not be able to buy a house after all.

We called the bank and found out that we could indeed qualify for a 80/20 loan. We saved our income tax refund and that would be the 5% money down required. There was a house I had driven past, that I was really interested in. But by the time we started the search, it had been sold. I went on and started looking for houses that met our criteria. We were matched up with a realtor, Lori Stephens through Danberry...who we just loved. And the search began. We went through many houses. The house we ended up in attracted me from the beginning. When I saw it on the website, it went to the top of my list. When we went through the house, I felt like it was home. We looked at some others, but we kept coming back to this one. The house didn't seem ideal for Gramma, so we kept trying to find something else. After a great deal of prayer and consideration, we ended up putting an offer in on this one and our offer was accepted.

We no sooner had our accepted offer and Gramma started getting very sick. Before I knew it they were telling me that her kidneys had failed and we were making her a Comfort Care patient. Initially, I raised my hands to the heavens and ask "why on earth this was happening now, when we already had so much stress in our lives?" The answer came to me immediately... Gramma wouldn't be moving to the new house with us. She would pass away before we were able to move. This would allow us to bring her home, allow her to die at home like she wanted, and not have to remain in the house where those memories of her death lingered. It suddenly made perfect sense why this house on Colgate was the house for us.

The process of buying our house as a "short sale" was a stressful one. Buying this house and getting it for the price we are, is saving us $600 a month in housing. That is a beautiful prospect. What we were paying in rent on our house on Talmadge was really maxing us out. Our house payment is much more realistic for us to achieve now. The landlords fought us during this whole process, but we were able to come up with an amicable arrangement. There have been lots of ups and downs and a few occasions where we thought we had lost the house, but today we became the Happy Homeowners of our new home on 5008 Colgate Rd.

We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father's wisdom in leading us to the right paths and right people to allow this to happen. A huge burden has been lifted off of our shoulders!

Now it is time to get to work!