Posted on: January 5, 2012

It’s my fault.

I knee-jerked buying my second home.

Reedettes in front of Second Home - April 2005

I blame it on the stranger who raped me in January 2005. But that was my fault. I opened the door to a stranger.

I had wonderful credit and a great mortgage when I bought my first home in 2001. I loved that home. It was full of great memories. It was the home where I become a mom. It was a perfect place.

Selling our FIRST home - Spring 2005.

Until I opened the door to a stranger in January 2005 and was violently raped. I thought he was the repairman.

I had great credit in 2005 when I sold my first home. I thought moving would keep my family safe. I bought our current home and worked out a fabulous mortgage with a great APR in April 2005.

I bought this home because the neighborhood felt safe. I never considered another home. I had friends down the street. My neighbors were grandparents who had raised their own children in this neighborhood. It was an established neighborhood. There were not any registered sexual offenders down the street.

I painted the children’s rooms in the new house with the zest of a mother carrying her first child. I have delightful memories of that time. Sydney awoke in her new princess room on her 5th birthday. She thought she was in a dream.

I struggled for the first year with flashbacks. I remember my van breaking down in my driveway and the AAA man came and said he knew me from somewhere. I crawled into a corner after he left and cried for a long time. I remember a lot of things. I don’t remember the face of the rapist. I remember being so alone.

Eventually, I grew less cautious and more open. I even started opening the doors to strangers. Again, my fault.

In the Spring of 2007, I unknowingly became part of the US Subprime Mortgage Crisis. And because I had to look it up, Subprime Lending  (also referred to as near-primenon-prime, and second-chance lending) means “making loans to people who may have difficulty maintaining the repayment schedule.”

In April 2007, I opened the door to an outgoing, vibrant, young man who offered to  “sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.” At first I told him I wasn’t interested. He came back. He kept coming back. I kept opening the door. The “Brooklyn Bridge” offer started looking more promising. I eventually took the bait. I thought this “bridge” would solve my lack of healthcare, help me offer more for my children, get me places.

I went in to sign the paperwork for my new re-financed mortgage. This young man promised me I would not pay “PMI.” He assured me I was making the best decision for my family. He even said the classic, “but this is what everyone is doing.” He got me with that. I told him I didn’t want to sign. And you know what happened?

He got mad at me. He raised his voice at me. I looked around the small office and no one defended me. They all busied themselves with selling more bridges, I am sure. This outgoing, vibrant young man stated, “I have done all this work and you are not going to sign?”

I didn’t defend myself. All I could think was he had all the information about my children and me. He knew where we lived. He was angry. I once again felt defenseless. I signed my house away. I gave up my 3.7% APR. I gave up my taxes and insurance rolled into the mortgage. I signed for a higher monthly payment, a longer repayment plan, AND a horrific APR. He didn’t hold a gun to my head. It didn’t matter that I felt like he did. It was my fault. I signed.

I don’t even recall the benefits of this “bridge” I bought. I am still uninsured health-wise. I still have to work. I still felt “behind” in finances. I’ve asked the lenders for a copy of the mortgage agreement. I have yet to see it.

The darn “bridge” I bought started to feel like a burden. I truly started to resent it. So, in 2009, I quit making payments. The money sat in my bank account. My “bridge” was five days from being sold at the auction house when I decided to rescue my house. I made as many back payments as possible. They added a few to the end of the very long repayment plan. I told myself I would deal with it all later.

Well, the later is now. There were so many financial catastrophes from 2010-2011. I missed one payment. Several months later, I missed another. I wish it was because I had taken the kids on cruises or even to the place of their dreams, Disneyworld. Our lack of payments were health, property, or vehicle-related. Being uninsured medically for myself wiped out my savings account. Healthcare is a serious issue. Please consider it when you vote in the 2012 elections.

After missing three payments (not consecutively), the bridge sellers refused any more payment until I could bring my mortgage up-to-date.  I told them I was not able to do so. This was after the 25th April 2011 storm that damaged my roof, siding, and gutters. Of course, MY HOUSE was the only one in the neighborhood denied insurance coverage for damage stating, “the problems were pre-existing.” Yes, I originally bought a lemon. The previous owners thought they could come in and “remodel” the home when in fact, they literally used spray paint. But that is another story.

In October, I made a conscious decision to allow my home to go into Default. Side note:  Don’t try to analyze that word too closely. My house is on its way to Foreclosure. It is my fault I’ve defaulted.

Seriously, this is a very shameful experience. And sadly, so many families go through it. Looking back, I realize how many acquaintance friends have slipped away, feeling the shame. I wish I had known. Not to gawk. But to say something supportive. Or to help them pack. To let them vent. To tell them they still have worth.

Our homes do NOT define us. But they certainly can own us. Mine owned me. For years it has held me captive to insane mortgage payments, ridiculous upkeep due to dishonest sellers, and random catastrophes. I want my life back. Without the shame.

So, as our home defaults, the kids and I are packing and looking for a new place to call home. We want a simple place.  Our life has become chaotic. We want a simple life. We want to be free of the time it takes to keep up a home. We want to be free to worship, to serve, to learn, to enjoy. It’s unbelievable how quickly my children jumped on the train to change. All three are 100% supportive of moving. I had no idea that the home had begun to own them as well.

We are ridding ourselves of so many material possessions. It’s difficult. I feel a connection to people by the gifts they have given me; one of my children feels the same. We are taking pictures. We our documenting our goodbyes. We’ve cried. We will cry again.

We have to say farewell to our faithful and loyal dog, Moose. He was a gift from my dear sister-friend, Jennifer, several years ago. He’s been such a good dog but he will not enjoy our new life. He needs a backyard and freedom just as much as we need ours. It feels as though I’m saying goodbye to the last part of Jennifer I have. I know it’s not. But it feels like it is.

Moose, our faithful and loving dog.

So, we are downsizing. With purposeful intent of simplicity. We want a two-bedroom apartment in a safe and secure setting. My environment is so important to me being a single mother and being a rape survivor.

But with a bad credit score, this is no small feat. Apparently, a bad credit score equates to a crime. It doesn’t matter that I’ve worked hard to have no other debt. Thus, I have to tell my story over and over again to each complex manager. About how it was my fault. I just hope that a manager of a safe complex gives me grace. I pray I don’t fall victim again to buying “another bridge” or opening my door to another stranger.

If we find an apartment that meets our requirements and accepts us, we are looking to move mid-February. I am hoping I can work out something with the mortgage company that will satisfy them and we can all part peacefully. Please pray that for us.

6 Responses to "deFAULTed"

This is beautifully written, Kerry!. As usual, you cut right to the chase, and right to my heart! I love you so much and am so proud of you for your transparency and your courage. Everything you said was dead on! I do not judge you or think less of you because your home went into foreclosure; I think you made a wise decision based on the very unfortunate circumstances you were in. And although I’m SO sorry about the horrible things that contributed to this (the rape, most specifically), I am proud of you for moving on – literally, lol. If there’s something I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to call me. I love you and am so proud to call you my friend.

Lord have mercy. May you find peace and happiness in your new home. My prayers are with you and your family!

I will help you move. Be glad to. Praying that you find the perfect “home” for your family. You are NOT defined by home foreclosure! Proud of you for moving on.

God has a plan and a place. Prov 3:5 & 6. You are an amazing woman. Amazing. And remember my offer to come help you pack. I’d really love to do that!!

[…] birthday. It is also the day our house will be sold at a public auction. I bought that house on my dad’s birthday, April 25th, 2005. We lived in it almost seven years. According to […]

[…] we need the voice of the people to be heard. I am tired of those seeking power. I am tired of politicians who use government to take property from some and give it to others. How bad does it need to get before we do something? Are we truly asking the government for bread […]

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“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” Dr. Seuss
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