My current bed consists of a 13+ year old mattress laying on a floor of carpet covered concrete. There is no bed frame or box spring, those are in storage. Storage, it is where our couches, other furniture, dishes and even our clothes are.There is no yard to play in. Our friends and school are a 10 minute drive. We are either freezing or sweating while inside. Cooking has become a chore that is avoided as much as possible. Holidays are depressing and dreaded. We had to say goodbye to our dog, who has been a member of our family for 8 years, and give him a better home than we can give him. This is just a glimpse into our lives living in a tiny basement apartment and how we got here.
This Lifetime movie worthy saga starts approximately 4 years ago. As you might remember from Through Hell and Back we were involved in an illegal foreclosure and lost our home. At the time I did not go much into the details besides that we had a lawyer and the bank was Wells Fargo. Here is what happened: We were a couple weeks late on our mortgage payment one month. Upon getting the current bill with 2 payments due I sent a check for that full amount. A few weeks later we got a letter saying we were in foreclosure. This made no sense to us as Wells Fargo had cashed the check that would bring us current and again we weren’t even 30 days late on the payment. When we finally got in touch with a representative we were assured it was a mistake and that they would fix it. This went on for months. All the things you hear about having to submit paper work over and over because it was lost in the mail, or the bank never got it is a real tactic they use to ensure you stay in foreclosure. Not getting any results on our own we hired a lawyer. Instantly he was able to spot how illegal what they were doing was. Not only did Wells Fargo ignore his firm’s letters explaining in detail all the areas they were breaking the law but they played the lost documents game with them as well. At one point our lawyer mailed, faxed, emailed and couriered over the same set of documents to Wells Fargo and they still tried to claim they didn’t receive them. Doing everything our lawyer advised and having the law on our side didn’t help we still lost our home. Our lawyer was still hard at work for us, in contact with Wells Fargo every day when we got certified letter stating that our house had been sold. We were not given a sale date or anything. Telling our children that we had to leave the only home they knew was heartbreaking.
Somehow we got lucky and found a house to rent that was literally a block away. We were so fortunate to be able to rent that place and I am so grateful to the owners for taking a chance on us. We lived in that house for 3 years. It was a great place. We were close to our friends, we had room, we were happy. The goal was always to buy as soon as we could and we worked hard to get there. After a foreclosure in Utah, you are not able to purchase a home until 3 years from that date has passed. As soon as we reached that date we started the pre-approval process to see where we were at. Mark and I’s credit both took a huge hit from what happened and only his was even close to where it needed to be, but we got the okay to start looking. Unfortunately our lease was up. We were still a few months out from buying yet we had to move anyway.
Finding a rental for short term was difficult. Finding a rental short term that allowed pets was near impossible. We had not found anywhere to live by the time we were due to be out of our rental and ended up at Mark’s mom’s. We could not bring our pets with us to the in laws and were forced to either get rid of them or find a sitter. Again we got lucky and the sweetest family watched our fur babies for 3 weeks. It wasn’t easy on anyone but we survived those 3 weeks. Finally the week the boys started school we found a basement apartment that gave us lease terms that worked perfectly for us and we moved in.
We found the house for us quickly. It was a great price, perfect size and just across the street from the school! It was a HUD owned home and although we were warned that HUD homes take longer and often more work, we still wanted it. After they accepted our offer we were given December 17th as our closing date. We were stoked. We could very well be in our new home before Christmas! I quickly learned how dangerous hope is. Right from the start we should have known the nightmare we were in store for. HUD took forever doing anything and there were hold ups around every corner. December came and went and we were no closer to moving in. Our inspection was delayed, the appraisal came in too low, there was a leak we had to fix. Problem after problem resulted in needing closing extensions. These extensions, whether requested by us or HUD came out of our pocket at $375 a pop. An extension was needed about every 14 days. After paying for more than a couple of these we finally thought we were about ready. Not a chance. Out of nowhere, a bill 3 years old was posted to Mark’s credit as a collections debt. Not only did we not know this bill existed until it was too late but this was a bill that was supposed to be taken care of by Brick Oven Pizza. Peyton was accidentally served gluten pizza and ended up in the hospital for a weekend. The manager at Brick Oven insisted they pay for everything with out hesitation, which they did. However this one must have slipped through the cracks and now Mark’s credit had taken a huge hit.We needed another extension while we got this taken care of. After months of delays on their part, HUD refused to wait for us and cancelled our contract. We lost the house. I can not put in words how discouraging this process has been.
The bill was paid in full and we have been ready to get back out there, find a new perfect house yet here we are stopped at yet another road block. Our loan officer, has not pulled our credit, started the pre-approval process or anything. We were told after we paid the bill off that he was ordering us a rapid rescore to get this going. Didn’t happen. We were told he was going to pull our credit on Tuesday. Didn’t happen.
Mark and I are at a loss of what to do at this point.We have been living in this place for over 6 months and counting. It is taking a toll on all of us. We know we are fortunate to have a roof over our heads, and to have all the things we do have. We really are grateful for our many blessings but that doesn’t mean we are happy. It sounds silly, some of the things I complain about but until you live them you don’t understand. Not having a Christmas tree isn’t the end of the world but the sadness in your children’s eyes makes it feel like it is. I have no choice but to keep trying but I have lost hope that something, anything will go right for my family.