Sunday, June 17, 2012

The F Word

Times are tough.  Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Rumor in the hood had it that the house right next door to ours was going into foreclosure.  We'd heard about it a few months ago and the lady who lives there (with her two adult kids) told us that "she'd be moving soon due to health reasons."  Poor thing has developed Parkinson's disease.  (She's maybe 10 years older than SM and I.)  We'd also heard something about a second mortgage on the place.  So a bad decision, on top of failing health, created the perfect storm and now she's loosing her entire investment. 

Makes me wonder how deep in the hole she was.

I can't blame her for not wanting to use the F word when talking to others about her situation.  Foreclosure is a dirty word to many.  We all tend to form an opinion, a judgement on how such a thing came about.  This lady was the original owner of her home.  Our home is 25 years old and she was already living here, a single mother with two young children, when we moved in 14 years ago.  We were never close.  We'd maybe see each other once or twice a year and speak cordially to each other.  Nothing too personal although we knew she was divorced.

She'd always kept the house up nicely though.  Things started to slide when the great recession hit, but that was true for SM and I too.  Our house is a bit frayed around the edges.  Her front yard shrubbery is SO overgrown now that the front door is hard to see.  Her back porch and yard is in disrepair.  I have know idea how bad the interior might be.

The past few months we noticed that the lawn stayed overgrown.  She's had a lawn service out every now and then but stopped mowing about two weeks ago.  It's really high right now.  I considered mowing it when I mowed ours Friday night but SM said to wait.

As usual, he was right again.  Saturday morning arrives with a Ryder truck and a bunch of cars out in front of her house.  Last month one of the kids moved out.  Is this the other child moving out or is it the final move.  Everybody out?  The next few days will give us the answers but eventually this house will be empty.

What's left after she leaves is an unloved house.  The bank will technically "own" it, but it will sit and decay for anywhere from several months to several years.  The bank won't cut the grass.  The bank won't protect or repair it if it's vandalized.  The bank has thousands of other house just like this one.  An address on a piece of paper.  It's not real to them.  It's just a number.

I think to myself "There but for the grace of God go I."  But I also know that I'll be out there after she's moved, mowing her yard along with mine.  Hopefully, I can drag a few of the neighbors into a rotation.  I'm sure some weekend I'll drag SM over there and trim back the trees and shrubs and try to make it look less neglected.

They need to write a manual for the homeowners who are left to deal with the mess.  I'd hate to see it vandalized.  I'd hate to see rats and snakes and ticks take over the yard.  I know that there's not much I can do.  But I'll do what I can.

I think to myself "This is why I really want to pay off our house ASAP."  I cross my fingers that SM and I stay healthy long enough to see that happen.  We don't live paycheck to paycheck like a lot of folks.  We could pay off the mortgage today but it would take everything we had and with the world the way that it is right now, it's nice to have a bit of cash to fall back on if we need it.  So we'll keep trudging along and hope for the best.  And hope we don't make a bad decision.

None of us has a crystal ball.  I worked with a surgeon who said that a lot.  He'd say "If I could see the future I'd be filling out Power Ball tickets."  Smart man.

It's a scary world out there kids and no one knows what the future may hold. 

For any of us.


  1. So sad. We have quite a few foreclosed homes here, a couple that the HOA took away from the owners for violations.

    Hope someone buys it soon and gives it some love...

  2. I feel for your neighbour - couldn't have been easy raising two kids on her own - and then the recession...

    And the risk of losing your home - thankfully, we don't have that problem anymore. Thankfully. VERY grateful thanks.

    A chance to start over - with a completely clean slate - and, boy, are we going to do it differently this time :)

  3. Such a sad story. But one that is being repeated daily at an alarming rate. In this economy, how will that poor, dear woman (health problems and all) ever make it now? With the banks holding so many, many homes that they don't know what to do with (let alone make any kind of a profit on) why can't something be worked out (she could pay rent and stay in the house at least temporarily?) instead of having the house fall to pieces and be a detriment to the neighborhood? So, so sad.

  4. a tough situation. but good for your for already thinking ahead and planning to mow the property to help keep it up.

  5. So very true. My grandfather had Parkinson's. It's a terrible disease. I agree with you about getting one's home paid off. Dan and I are discussing that now, but it won't be easy. Still, to have the security and free up the money! That's the motivator.

  6. While there are several homes in our old neighborhood that are in foreclosure (and I know 4 other families have filed bankrupcy), they are building new ones right behind us.?. It is not an easy sight to see for sure. One of the homes we bid on was in foreclosure and held by a bank. And yes, they are just numbers to them as we never heard anything back about our offer so we moved on. My goal is to pay this house off as fast as I can.