My name is Amy, & I just bought my first house over the past summer, & now we’re rather unexpectedly dealing with my being out of work. I’ve worked in corporate IT for a decade; for the past 2 years I was making amazing money working for a major government defense contractor; I was let go in early October due to budget constraints (major company merger underway, & contract staff are usually the first to go) despite the fact that I was supporting a major finance/accounting application. The very same day I got the news about work, our teenager got into a car accident (still beyond thankful she was OK) & totaled our SUV that I was still paying for – GAP coverage was a life saver there.
Getting the mortgage was an uphill battle, and we thought we were going to lose an amazing house because of some funky things with my credit. No late payments whatsoever, but Wells Fargo started reporting a false late payment from over 6 years ago, & thanks to my credit union not reporting to Transunion, I didn’t meet automated underwriting criteria for an FHA loan.
My fiance & I somehow managed to beat the odds, & I got approved for the mortgage, which I had to get only in my name due to his being on a house he bought nearly 20 years ago with his daughter’s mother down south. We found out about her bankruptcy filing, & at least a decade of tax fraud, the irony of which is that she has worked as deputy tax collector for YEARS, & we’ve also found proof of someone tampering with the property records.
Their daughter, who I love every bit as much as my own (from a prior marriage), made the unbelievably brave choice just over a year ago to move from Arkansas to Massachusetts for her senior year of high school. In the fall of 2018, amidst plans to move her here on a month notice, he was also diagnosed with atrial fibrillation after a terrifying scare. Thankfully, he was OK, & his daughter was accepted to a local community college for a psychology program. When she first moved here, she was behind on medical care, having never seen a gynecologist, let alone know what a pap smear was.
We had been leasing a house for over a year at that point, with a terrible landlord who didn’t fix anything – we had non working smoke detectors for over 3 months, dealt with all manner of things not as they should have been, & out of nowhere we were contacted by a realtor as the owner was looking to sell; just several months prior we had asked them if us buying the house was a possibility, & were told that it wasn’t remotely a consideration.
We began the process of searching for our forever home, & found a house we couldn’t have dreamed of, that we could afford. We nearly lost $23,000 due to my loan officer attempting to rate lock me without consent, but despite everything, we continued to fight for what we wanted.
We closed nearly 2 weeks late, on July 17th, 2019. The new house had some items that were to be repaired, but we ended up with a very much not clean pool, & discovered that the pump & filter needed replacing, which cost us over $3k.
During the house closing and in the months prior, my 13 year old daughter’s father tried to get sole custody, on the heels of telling me that he had possibly had a seizure; the outcome of court is I still have full physical and joint legal custody of her, & he now has an order from a judge prohibiting him from driving with her. He has since proceeded to harass me, thinking that I have the authority to negate it outside of court. He is beyond hostile, and continually refuses to show me any medical documentation to support his case. Throughout all of that he has been paying only $61/week in child support, though he barely even pays that, & he doesn’t show up to get her for his scheduled time more often than not.
We STILL haven’t gotten our $3k security deposit back from our previous landlord, or any documentation as required per state law, so we have a small claims case in the works to recover that, along with reimbursement for the pool repair for our new home. We are still fighting to get his name off the mortgage for the house in Arkansas, & cannot find a lawyer to represent us on a petition to partition action there – one lawyer told us that he had been contacted by the FBI regarding her office, & we’ve had yet another lawyer simply start screaming at us on the phone. We’ve spoken with various departments even at the state level there, not to mention the Attorney General’s office, and no one can seem to give us any answers as to how to proceed; even our own state representatives were unable to advise us, nor was the US Department of Justice. We’re presently preparing for a civil lawsuit against the state there for failure to investigate fraud.
It’s been a year of monumental stress, & suddenly being unemployed, with all of those things going on, has me terrified. I was making very good money with my job, but with unemployment, it’s barely enough to cover our mortgage, let alone any other bills.
I’ve got several possibilities for work, seeing as I’m a seasoned IT person, specializing in SharePoint, as well as database development and systems architecture. Presently we are just over 30 days late on the mortgage, & I can’t bear the thought of losing our home, especially after all we did to make it happen in the first place.
A friend suggested that I do this, and I hate the fact that we’re in this position. I’ve been in tears more times the past 2 months than I could say.
It broke my heart to tell our girls that we couldn’t do much for Christmas, and then to run out of oil in our tank on Christmas Day had me ready to fall apart.
Any help is beyond appreciated. I keep reminding myself that the universe can’t have much more to throw at us at this point, & we’re still a family, and in relatively good health.
With Justin, Raven & Alyssa
This is the letter we wrote to the sellers: