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Foreclosure | Can We Even Qualify to Rent a House?

 

As I stepped across the threshold, I was in love.  The house had me at the woodpecker doorknocker.  But as I walked through the mudroom into the kitchen, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The kitchen has more cabinets than I have right now, and look—a  prep sink!  Is that a second cooktop?  And a desk area…and a walk-in pantry with room for a chest freezer?

The realtor showed me around the newly refurbished home.  The family room has cathedral ceilings and built-in bookshelves.  The dining room has a gorgeous view of the fruit bushes and birdhouses in the field next door.  There’s a working fireplace in the formal living room and a library/office and a screened porch. Up on the second floor are three bedrooms, two baths and the laundry.  The third floor houses the fourth bedroom and (another!) bath.

There is plenty of room for everyone in the family to have their own space.  We could make the third floor a guest room. Or an office.  Who knows… who cares?  The owner just dropped the rent by $250 a month.  I want this house.  If we can get in here, the rent will be one-third of our current mortgage payments—one THIRD!  And the landlord takes care of the maintenance, not us.  It sounds like a dream come true.

My husband has a great job, but we have a lot of expenses.  We are totally house poor—the house we’re about to lose is a gorgeous Cape in a beautiful neighborhood.  But I still have bare bulbs in the ceilings of the living and dining rooms.  We’ve been here eight years, and never installed real light fixtures.  My kids sleep on boxsprings and mattresses on their floors (no bedframes).  I have never even painted my bedroom—it’s still builder’s white.  We kept hoping things would turn around.  But we never really had the money to afford this house in the first place, and now…like I said, totally house poor.

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But, I’m worried about our credit.  It’s totally no good—we’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul, and every single bill has taken its turn being the late one, so that we wouldn’t run too far behind on any one obligation.

I’ve got to tell the realtor…because what if we don’t pass the credit check?  And if no one rents to us now, there’s no way we’ll find a place after we’re foreclosed upon.  Palms sweaty, I look her in the eyes and spill it.  “Our credit sucks.  We’re going to lose our house,” it just tumbled out of my mouth.

“Don’t walk away from it.”  She is firm.  “Do a short sale, believe me…”

We start talking, really talking, about what the hell is going on.  She agrees that getting ourselves situated will make life less stressful, and assured me that she has been doing successful short sales for more than five years.

“I’m tenacious,” she says, “You need someone who’ll stay on top of this, to call every day if need be.”

She tells me that she will do the legwork for us.  That it IS possible with two mortgages to have a successful short sale; she just did one here in town earlier this year.  And she’s got several others in the works right now…it’s how she’s making her money in this market.

She gives me first steps to follow:  Contact the mortgage companies and tell them you want to do a short sale so they will send you the application package.  She also tells me what paperwork I need to start digging up to support the short sale application.

“You do the work with the mortgage companies?”  I ask because I don’t really believe it, but I’m sort of thrilled at the idea of not having to deal with those people.

She smiles, “I sure do…”  and she gives me the rental application.  She hugs me and tells me she will help my family in any way she can.

I hide my tears and swallow my shame as I get in my car and drive away.   I am eager to get the application submitted so we can find out if we can get the house.  I feel like everything else is just details, if I can just ensure comfortable shelter for my family before the snow flies.

 

Image: jscreationzs

Emma Leavin is a writer somewhere in small-town America. She is both an exhibitionist and incredibly shy when it comes to the financial realities she and her spouse are facing, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that “Emma” is a pseudonym. You can reach her via email at Em.Leavin@gmail.com