Today, we talk to five real moms about their ongoing experience with foreclosure or possible foreclosure, the lessons they've learned, and their hopes for the future.
The goal of this post and yesterday's post on foreclosure is to build compassion and a little understanding about some situations that can lead to home foreclosures. We ask that you keep your comments positive and respectful.
Real Moms Speak Out About Foreclosure
We recently spoke to five CafeMoms who are facing foreclosure or have already lost their family homes to foreclosure. Thank you 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.
Yesterday, we shared the situations that led to foreclosure for these moms. Today we're focusing on the common misconceptions, the lessons they've learned, and their hopes for the future. Here's what our five moms had to say on these subjects:
What is the biggest misconception you think most Americans have about the families who have lost or are at risk of losing their homes?
anime_mom619: I think people believe that all of us are irresponsible with our money and got into homes that we didn't really qualify for. They do not realize that the recession has hit some people pretty hard. Since it hasn't affected them much, they think other people must be fine too.
Godswk: The biggest misconception is everyone that lost their home to foreclosure couldn't afford the home initially. I could for 10 years.
moms3babes: We asked for it, we deserve it, it's our fault. I know there are some out there that did get themselves in way over their heads, but almost every person I have talked to has tried everything they can think of and there is no help for those who are struggling.
letsgetreal: My guess is that they quickly assume we must be pretty much of a mess, to allow ourselves to be in a position of losing our home. No one I knew could even relate to what we were going through. They couldn't even fathom being in such a state that we had to lift car seats to see if we could find any loose change to buy enough gas to go job hunting. I doubt if they could fathom how humiliating it was to stand in line to get food stamps. The looks we would get in line at the supermarket when we paid for our food in food stamps was an eye opener. People had no clue what it felt like to be in this sort of situation.
Anonymous CafeMom: The actual mortgage itself was not the reason we couldn't afford the house payments. It was a combination of things. And of course, the mortgage company did not want to work with us either.
What advice do you have for homeowners approaching a similar situation?
anime_mom619: Communicate with your bank ASAP! And do so often. That's what the people at our bank have told us. Even though we couldn't make our payments, the bank would have preferred to hear from us. We just thought we'd have the money "next month," except that next month came and our situation hadn't changed. Most banks don't want to foreclose on properties. They want to exhaust all other options first.
Godswk: If you know you won't be able to catch up the payments, get out quickly. It is easier on you mentally. Don't file bankruptcy.
moms3babes: Ask questions. Never give up. Talk to a real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures or contact a lawyer. Do not listen to the telemarketers who call you or the letters that come in the mail and look like legitimate offers. There are a lot of scams out there.
letsgetreal: Discover ways to sort out what is really important and what isn't and also embrace simplicity. Things could be even worse, and all of our material possessions are nothing compared to losing your health, family, and profession.
What advice do you have for a first-time home buyer?
anime_mom619: Make sure you have a cushion for when times get tough. Don't buy a house just because you qualify for a certain amount. Find something that you can afford now and can afford if things get tough later.
Godswk: Think of the taxes and insurance applied to your home. It can rise.
moms3babes: Don't be afraid to say no, ask questions, and enjoy being a homeowner.
letsgetreal: If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Make sure you simplify your life enough to put some money into savings for emergencies.
If the old adage is true "What does not break us, makes us stronger," what have you taken away from the foreclosure or near-foreclosure experience?
anime_mom619: We have realized that bad things happen, and although you may not be able to stop all the bad stuff, you can certainly get through it and move onto something better. We have also learned to be more self sufficient and to create our own future.
moms3babes: As long as I have my family and a roof over our heads to keep us sheltered from the elements, I don't care where we live.
letsgetreal: Relationships, family, and friends endure, but materialism does not. We don't really need to hold on so tightly to our possessions because we can live without them easier than losing our health or family.
Anonymous CafeMom: I do feel bad we lost our home and feel like we are part of the problem, but everything else has failed around us.
How are you doing today? What are your plans for the future?
anime_mom619: We still feel stressed since some things are still uncertain. But whatever happens is fine, and we will move on either way. We hope to stay in this house and rebuild our lives. We hope to rebuild our savings and to enjoy a simple yet comfortable lifestyle.
Godswk: We are struggling financially, barely making ends meet. My future plan is to start another business.
moms3babes: With all the sleepless nights, emotional rollercoaster moments, stress, anger, etc., we would still someday like to own a home again. But it will take a lot for me to want to jump into that boat again. This has been the hardest and longest lesson for us.
letsgetreal: We are doing well now. Our kids would be the first to tell you that going through hardship as we did only made them better. Our plan for the future is to retire at 62 and work part time. We dream of owning some land and a simple dwelling; however, we are careful not center our whole lives on our things and always keep foremost in our mind the lessons this experience taught us. People, relationships, and living a life of authenticity are more important than things.
Anonymous CafeMom: I am going back to school to finish my degree and never to let it happen it again.
Thanks again, moms, for sharing with us. We wish you all the best going forward.
Are you struggling to pay your mortgage? Here's where to go for help:
- If you're a homeowner who has already missed one or more mortgage payments and have not yet spoken to your servicer, call them immediately.
- If you think you might be eligible for the President’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan or know someone who has been responsible but is struggling to stay afloat, visit the Treasury Department's Making Home Affordable.
- Borrower FAQ (downloads a PDF)
- BEWARE OF FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS – HELP IS FREE!