In this special post (part one of a two-parter), we tell the stories of five real moms who are facing foreclosure or have already lost their family homes to foreclosure.
There's no doubt that the housing crisis has underpinnings in a lot of poor homeowner decision making, as well as boatloads of reckless, imprudent lending practices [more info: Get Smart (or Smarter) About the Economy]. The blame game has been full circle. However, somewhere in between, there are the homeowners facing foreclosure or possible foreclosure who have suffered good old American financial pitfalls or financial failings due to job loss, illness, rising insurance costs, and other setbacks from a declining economy—pitfalls that could happen to you or me or many other typical American families.
The point of telling these stories today is to rise above the blame game and to look inside the real American financial tragedy. This post and tomorrow's followup are about building compassion and understanding, and we ask that you keep your comments positive and respectful.
Thank you in advance to anime_mom619, Godswk, moms3babes, letsgetreal, and our anonymous CafeMom for sharing their very personal experiences. We are so grateful these moms have agreed to tell these important stories.
5 Real Moms Face Foreclosure
We recently went looking for moms in our community who were willing to talk about foreclosure. Sadly, with the current state of the housing market, we didn't have to look far. We spoke to five CafeMoms who have either lost their homes to foreclosure or are facing the possibility of foreclosure for a variety of reasons. Their heartbreaking stories are each different but also real in way that most typical moms could probably relate should a "wrench" be thrown into her family's financial engine:
- One mom's flood and house insurance unforseeably grew from $800 to $6,000 in three years' time while, at the same time, rising gas prices severely impacted the family's trucking company. This family lost their business and their home.
- Another mom relocated her family to a new city for her husband's job, which didn't work out as planned, led to job loss and legal matters, and snowballed into their getting several months behind on their mortgage. This family is still trying to work with the bank to qualify for a modification.
- The thriving business of an entrepreneur mom was hit hard since her business was closely linked to the real estate industry. She had to lay off her employees and eventually lost her home.
- One family got upside down in their mortgage when at the three-year mark that they intended to refinance, the housing market crashed. They had nothing in a matter of two months. They contacted their mortgage company right away, filed hardship, and four months later were given two options: freeze their rate for six months or short sale. A year later, they are still trying to sell their home.
- Our fifth mom lost her home when her husband was disabled by a relatively unknown disease and could not acquire disability benefits. And she, having been a stay at home mom for many years, did not have the job skills to make up for his income loss.
In hearing these stories, most fascinating to me is that most of the moms we spoke with had fixed-rate mortgages and houses they could initially afford. Most all them were hit by a combination of shortfalls due to the economy and a financial reality that wasn't what they planned on it being. In other words, the real stories we were hearing are not as simple as the news might have us think they are.
In tomorrow's post, we will talk to these five moms about their experiences with foreclosure, the lessons they've learned, and their hopes for the future.