Source: Nautical Wheeler

We risked everything on the potential that our foreclosure would drag out and there would be an auction and the house would be bought back by the mortgage company.

That might still be happening, but I don’t think so.

We received paperwork in the mail today from the attorney’s office of our mortgage company. It says

Within 60 to 90 days title to the property is expected to be transferred to citimortgage. Sometime thereafter, ownership of the property will probably be transferred to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

HUD generally require that there be no one living in properties conveyed to the Secretary as a result of a foreclosure.

If you are not entitled to remain in the property pursuant to the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (we are not because we are the former owners, not tenants) or state or local law, you may nevertheless be eligible to remain in the property upon conveyance to HUD, if certain conditions are met, as described in Attachment 3, Conditions for Continued Occupancy.

Attachment 3 has a list of things like avoidance of vandalism and how much inventory HUD has. You also have to agree to one month’s advance rent as well as signing a month-to-month lease with “fair market rent.” Now that you have rented your former home you have to be willing to allow access to the property during normal business hours to HUD representatives, HUD contractors, and real estate brokers and their clients (all with two days’ advance notice).

Not to sound petulant, but if I’m going to live in a house getting electrical and other work done to bring it to code and let everyone who wants to be in my house into my house I’m renting with two days’ notice I certainly don’t think that warrants fair market value when I’m not actually going to be living in a house where I can expect relative privacy.

At first, we hyperventilated thinking something had changed, that having an FHA mortgage meant there would not be an auction and our timeline was wrong. It still might be. The one thing I am pretty sure of is that if we are receiving mail from the mortgage company’s law firm it’s something we want to be very wary of filling out because it may not be in our best interest.

After much Google searching without much actual result we think the bolded sections in the quote up there are the important bits. Lawyers do not use words for no reason, right? When do you see lawyers throw around b.s. words like expected and probably? I’ve seen other letters from this company and they’re no joke.

It reads to me like, “Since we know no one will buy your house at auction it’s expected to go back to the mortgage company because duh!” If you fill out this paperwork to bring your foreclosed home under some HUD arrangement and pay them (which why wouldn’t you we sent you the paperwork, amirite?) it will probably be transferred to HUD.”

The same way the mortgage company keeps sending us these packets talking about going and finding out about our options which mean Cash for Keys or a Short Sale. The letters always imply we could stay here but in no way does it actually mean we have that option.

Understanding Came Later – First We Panic

Reading the paperwork we started really freaking out like maybe we weren’t going through the same process we thought we were and everything we thought we knew was nothing and we were about to be evicted and homeless in a minute. (Don’t get me wrong, we’re not paying money to live here right now. I’m not saying we feel entitled to live here. We do not. We are so lucky every month we are able to rebuild a little bit more.)

So I called my cousin to make sure we could stay with her if it was a true emergency. Of course she said yes because she’s pretty much the nicest person on the planet. I just needed to hear it and I think Mr. Brickie did too because the #1 thing you want to make sure of is that you won’t be taking your kids to a homeless shelter if you can possibly avoid it.

So the worst case scenario phone call was made and our worst case scenario is one rung up from there.

Mr. Brickie Was Surprised

You guys know it. He knows it. I’m sure my mailman knows it. I’ve been saying it for a while. Things are going to get worse before they get better.

One moment while I quote myself from a previous post:

There is a little secret I want to share with you about my life. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. There is going to be a gap between where we are now and being “okay” and that gap is steep and dark and it has spikes and water on the bottom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to look like it’s getting better and that won’t be fake at all. But then… well, we’ll get back to that. <– This is the “BUT THEN” I was referring to! Right now!

We are not going to be “okay” in any kind of a baseline traditional sense until Mr. Brickie’s next raise that puts him at a 60% level apprentice. It’s just not going to happen. The money won’t be there. He has been nodding and telling me he understands for a year now, but I think this letter just hit him in the brain and cracked it wide open and understanding just poured in and it was almost too much for him to take for a minute there.

He looked – for just a moment – like he might crumble.

But he didn’t!

We Assessed the Situation

I showed him that, if we needed to, we could become Fast Move Ready without sacrificing a whole lot of our daily living. We have two crockpots, a toaster oven, and a little George Foreman Grill. All we would need to be able to sell our refrigerator, oven/stove, and standing freezer is a mini fridge for milk. That pretty much takes care of the big things to worry about in the kitchen.

I would also want to bring with pots, pans, baking sheets, dishes, and cooking gear. Maybe the shelves we have on the wall. Probably the bars with the hooks that I keep all my hanging spoons and things on. Of course all my spices.

The Living Room

The desktop would be a problem if we had to move fast and did not have a place to move to.  We have a chair that won’t be moving with us and some TV trays that need to be replaced. Really, the only things coming with us from the living room are the kitchen table, turtle tank and stand, desktop computer and a little IKEA laptop desk. Everything else can get tossed into a bonfire.

The Office

Only things we need are the TV, the xBox, and maybe the filing cabinet because it’s all tall and useful and we use it as the gift cabinet.

The Playroom

One bookcase filled with books, two chickens, and his grandmother’s china.

Our Bedroom

Pictures, the bed, clothing.

Their Bedroom

The beds, clothing, assorted toys and electronics. We have gone through their toys once this year already and weeded out broken toys for the trash and toys they do not play with anymore for donation. We could use to go through the clothing again for things that do not fit or do not get worn for donation.

Other Stuff

Blankets, sheets, towels, the contents of the one closet outside of my bathroom. We would take a bike for little sister but the other two sisters have outgrown their very small bikes and need new ones. We would take everyone’s scooter, of course. Mr. Brickie’s tools and beer making equipment, too.

School Worries

The biggest problem we would face if we have to move before next year would be school. Potential residency checks aside, we would have to be able to get Mr. Brickie to work (assuming he’s working which is a valid assumption) and the girls to school from wherever we were. That would mean two cars. Even though we have two cars now one of those is only on loan until the kids are back in school, which means it has to be returned soon and we will be back to a one-car family.

We Continue to be Vigilant

We will continue to monitor all incoming mail like hawks to try and keep from being blindsided. Mr. Brickie finally having the full soul-deep knowledge that this is really happening means he’s going to step up his game and start getting rid of things we don’t need and selling things to pile up cash for a security deposit and first month’s rent somewhere new. Maybe we could sell enough big stuff we could even buy a beater car for him to commute to work with.

Mr. Brickie started talking about the shelving units we have in the garage and how he wants to use them for a “Staging Area” and I had to shoot it down. I told him that we are beyond quaint, long-term ideas like staging areas and system creation. We are now in the land of chaos and that is where I do my best work. His job is to follow orders and get rid of everything we don’t need.

As you can see, I have a very short list of what we are keeping. Things like the china are going to live in a storage unit until we are sure we have found a place we are staying a while.

I’m glad he is on board. Now we can really start clearing out, cleaning up, and getting ready to streamline our lives and keep forging forward.

Days like yesterday, though, are the ones where you really question if you made the right decisions. If you did the right thing. The days where you know you will only know if you made the right choice years later when you look back and assess the situation with the benefit of hindsight.

Either way, I hope you’ll stick around to see how it unfolds.