Saturday, January 21, 2012
The "yellow house",as the kids like to call it, was our 2nd home. I was 9 months pregnant with my first child when we moved in. We brought all the kids home from the hospital after they were born to that house. It has great memories for all of us. But, as I learned growing up (we moved around alot due to my Dad's job), a house is just a structure, not a home. Home is where your family is. So, I don't get too attached to houses.
About 2 years ago, George and I "woke up" to our financial mistakes. Mistakes that had been building on us for the previous 8 years. After lots of arguments, calm discussions, tears, and prayers, George and I decided to make a change in our lives. We started by trying to renegotiate the loan on the house. I called and talked with our bank (a very large national chain) for over 6 months and sent in tons and tons of documents. In the end, we made "too much money" for the bank or any government program to offer assistance. Folks, we were 1% over the maximum allowable income for assistance. So, our next option was to sell. Not ideal in this economy, but George and I knew we needed to shed the old ways and start anew. And yes, it was a short sale. And no, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I've learned that honesty is the best policy. Not for anyone else but myself. I don't want to hide or be something that I'm not. We bought too big of a house and signed a stupid 80/20 ARM loan. We don't blame the banks or the mortgage brokers, we blame ourselves.
Since we graduated college, we've been drunk with "stuffitis". The concoction that makes you feel you "need" stuff. Whether it was a new couch, new (used) car, clothes, whatever, we bought it. I have this wonderful ability to rationalize why I "need" that stuff. I think alot of people are like us. We work hard and want to see some results of that work. We want what our parents have.....nice houses, nice cars, nice stuff. Problem is, we want it immediately and don't realize it took most of our parents 30 years to get the things they have today. Plus, most Americans under the age of 40 really don't know what its like to live in struggling economic times. Does this sound familiar to anyone? It was me to a tee about 8 years ago.
What is odd is that I didn't come from that type of family. My Mom was (and still is) a saver and the financial guru of our family. She taught me how to balance a checkbook, warned me about credit cards, and encouraged me to work for what I wanted. My debt spiral didn't start till I was a senior in college. I was a pretty good kid growing up, so I think spending money was my form of rebellion.
In the end, it took 30 minutes. Reviewed it all with our agent and lawyer, signed the paperwork, and handed over the keys and garage door opener. I walked out with a smile and sigh of relief. We have a great rental house and we are working on our budget and spending each month. One thing I am sure of.....I will NOT buy another home without paying cash. I continue to remind myself of a quote from Dave Ramsey and the Bible, "The borrower is slave to the lender". That quote and my family keep me motivated to press on!
Posted by Katie at 11:34 AM