Thursday, September 18, 2008

House of Horrors

The situation with the house in Illinois finally seems to be coming to an end. When last we checked in, the bank had done an appraisal that drastically overvalued the house, by about $30,000, and based on that had turned down the latest short sale offer. Soon after that, the lawyer who was working on it told us that she was going to ask them to have another appraisal done, because the first one was so ridiculous, but that we had to pay for it. My brother-in-law, our main financial Smart Guy, advised us to do it, saying that selling short, even after being in default for a year, was a lot better than foreclosure. "It's a small investment with a potentially big upside" is how he put it.

So we put $475 on the credit card for that, but he was right, because lo-and-behold, the appraisal came back at a whopping $50,000 less than the other one (and $25K less than we paid for the house, which sounds about right, given the market). That was about a month ago. Then the bank had to have it explained to them why there was such a great disparity between the two appraisals, and that took awhile (the appraisal company explained it based on a misinterpretation of the square-footage of the house by the first appraiser). Now we're just waiting, supposedly, for the last guy at the bank to put his initials on the agreement. And it's really the last minute, because the foreclosure sale is scheduled for next week!

The one thing I don't think I've said before is that we had a second mortgage on the house, from the synagogue, which lent us money in the hopes that we would stay there a long time - ha ha. (They kicked me to the curb after the first contract.) If the house had sold everything would have been fine but it didn't, and in a short sale situation they have to be enticed to release their lien. So we had to offer them a settlement; we offered about 10% of what we owed, which they accepted because, we speculate, the situation is embarrassing to them. About the kindest thing I I can bring myself to say is that I'm sure it wasn't their intention to ruin us financially, even though that's what ended up happening. If the house forecloses that lien isn't covered and they could still sue me; I don't really want to give them $5K to watch the house foreclose, but that's a bridge I'll have to cross when I get to it.

Now (if everything goes "well") I have to come up with 5 grand which, if you've been paying attention, I don't have. By next week. Fortunately we have some relatives who actually don't live paycheck to paycheck - can you imagine? - and they've promised to help us out. So there's another debt to add to the pile. But - and I say this much more in weariness than in any kind of happiness - it looks like the albatross will be off our necks, one way or the other, by the end of next week. Famous last words, as I know better than anyone.

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