I think it's no secret that we recently filed bankruptcy. This has required a good deal of thought and research in consideration of whether we will remain in this house.
The primary consideration is that, without me earning an income, we really can't afford a house payment of $650; and it's not looking like I'll ever have an income again. So I have done research on other properties for sale.
Mary specifically wants to remain with us, whether we move or stay, so we have looked only at multi-unit houses.
Now the basic facts are: the mortgage on this house is $72,000. It wouldn't sell for $45,000. Research showed that other houses on this block over the last 10 years have gone for about $30,000. Thirty thousand is an amount we can handle. Thirty thousand is $300 a month for 20 years, not $650 a month for 30. We also take into account the fact that it would be really surprising if either one of us was alive in 30 years.
So, just because I tend to be a very thorough person, have done gone two paths - 1) Try to negotiate with the bank, 2) Look for other houses.
I sent them a painstakingly detailed, 16-page letter about how we got here and why we can not reaffirm the mortgage, and (laughingly) what it would take for us to remain here. (If you're masochistic, and want to read the whole letter, I posted it in unformatted form here) The summary concludes: What we are requesting of you, HSBC, is a refinance of the mortgage at $30,000 at an interest rate of 7% (or whatever comes out to a payment of $350 or less for 20 years). This is what we would prefer, and what we believe represents the least loss to the bank.
In the meantime, I located a 4-apartment building with 2 storefronts for under $20,000! Obviously, it needs a lot of work, but we would be able to do that. And I was actually beginning to hope that things would go that way. But it would be an awful lot of work, basically necessitating foregoing the internet for several months.
But apparently I write a damn good letter. Well I knew that, but still ...
They accepted it! $350 per month, 7%, 20 years.
So we're staying here. We will now have a little bit of money to actually use on fixing up. (Of course, now my husband has all kinds of ideas about what he wants to do, starting with siding ... Do you know how much siding costs?