How One Family Descended Into The Nightmare of Foreclosure
Selling Off the Family Possessions
"I had no more room on my credit cards. We basically could not make any more payments on the mortgage. We had to fight just to keep the electric on and gas on," says Lisa. "Never in a million years would I have imagined myself getting into a foreclosure and filing for bankruptcy. You never would've thought this could happen, having had a 700-plus FICO score."
Selling Off the Family Possessions to Make Money
As a way to make extra money now, Lisa sells objects on eBay and Craigslist. "We have so much in the house, and it all has to go. We accumulated a lot of stuff as a family that I can sell. I don't do any more buying. Just selling! But that's the thing. I see so many listings on Craigslist and eBay where families are selling everything. So I know they are going through it, too. People stop short of saying they're in foreclosure. They just say they're moving, and not because they don't own anymore. It's totally humiliating."
Because of the stress from the foreclosure and the strain it put on their marriage, Lisa eventually moved out of the house into an apartment. Her children go back and forth between the house where her husband is still living and her apartment for now. "I don't know what's out there for me. And I know this is not the end. That's what I want my kids to get from this. Things happen and change. I tell them how much I love them. We will be OK."
Words of Advice
On getting a home loan:
"I would say go to someone who is not going to benefit from your loan or refinance. See if they think you can meet the payments. (The agent we used) wanted to make her commissions. She was a very nice person and I don't think she intentionally hurt us. She was just doing her job. I could have used a financial planner."
On refinancing your home and taking money out:
"I would tell people dont get sucked into the refinancing thing. You just don't know when the market is gonna cap. Don't believe the lender who says you can do it and is all positive. (Ours) was this perky little young thing. She was like, 'The market will keep going up,' and we could refinance. She was just a positive person and wanted it to be true. And we wanted to believe everything she said."
Her Final Reflections
I wish I could have gone back and just been happy with what we had. And not wanted something bigger and better.
How to Get Help When Facing a Foreclosure
If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, there are nonprofit advocacy groups that can help. The most important piece of advice they offer is to seek help sooner rather than later; otherwise it might become too late to stop the process. One good place to start is with The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA). They have more than 30 offices nationwide, and the organization recently announced $1 billion in loans available to homeowners in distress.