How lead poisoning leads to foreclosure

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Well - there is so much I want to say about this - to tell this story clearly, but since we are in foreclosure and have four children - two with significant daily symptoms of lead poisoning  to deal with - it is very difficult to find time to write...  I started writing this on April 30th and it is already May 4th.  I wanted to share this with you (whoever you are!) because I thought it was important for people to understand that there are many reasons people are in foreclosure right now.  We are very lucky that the times are what they are (one one level) because really - I don’t feel a stigma attached to this (after all it is happening to everyone  - isn’t it?) We are also lucky that there are all these programs in place to help people in our position (which might not have been the case a year or two ago!) and I look forward to finding a solution - somehow!

The short version:

It cost us more than $200,000 to decontaminate our property after the boys were poisoned.  We borrowed this money thinking we could pay it back when we sold some of our real estate  - or refinanced our home.  The end result of all the work we put into the house was that we priced ourself out of our home - the only way we could pay that money back was to sell the home that we had put so much effort into and had been planning on staying in for 30 years! 
    February  2007: the Portland real estate market was hot.  We got multiple offers and took the best one (it was going to make it possible for us to pay off about 3/4 of the cost of the boys lead poisoning - we figured we could deal with the rest somehow.)  On the 44th day of escrow I got all the checks prepared to pay back the money that we had borrowed from our friends and family.  On the 45th day of a 45 day escrow the buyer backed out.  He left us (on easter weekend two years ago) - with a house that HAD been hot with multiple offers but was now a cold listing in a slowing market.  The real estate market tanked.  The loans were high interest. It took us another year to sell the house.  We had a neg-am mortgage - so each month that we did not sell the house our mortgage got bigger. 
    April 2008: We ended up selling the house for about $80,000 less than it had appraised for a year earlier.  We lost ALL of our value, but our loans had continued to balloon up with interest.  The sale left us with nothing, narrowly avoiding foreclosure.
    This left us in a position where we could not pay down the high interest mortgage on our replacement home (which we bought when we were in escrow to sell our old home the first time around and thought we could swing with a bridge loan/ temporary loan until the sale closed.)  The loans on the new house (since we were certain we were going to pay them off quickly) were super high interest.
    Now we can’t pay the mortgage.  In December, the mortgage company renegotiated one of the loans for us (super low) - but the other loan is still at 10%.  Our foreclosure date is July 28th - but I am still working on pulling a rabbit out of a hat if I can (I used to be fairly adept at doing that - but with four boys and a business to run and a bunch of debt to manage... it is harder these days.)
    Does that all make sense?  When we began to incur the debt for the costs to relocate ($30,000+/ deal with the decontamination of our home ($70,000+)/ legal fees to sue the painter ($30,000), etc.) we assumed and hoped some of these costs would be covered by the outcome of the lawsuit against the painter - but that settlement did not even leave us with enough to pay the lawyer (who we still owe $26,000 plus interest three years later) let alone  the interest on some of the loans.



© 2009. Tamara Rubin,  All Rights Reserved