Some years ago, in a very slow market, I got a call from a woman who said she and her husband had to sell their home and would I please come over to talk to them about it. They were very close to falling behind in their mortgage payments. They were separating, the bills were piling up and they felt trapped by their very high mortgage payments.
They called a number of real estate agents, including the agent who had sold them the home just a couple of years before. When they told him how much they owed on the mortgage, he told them he couldn’t help them and wished them luck. He told them they owed more than they could sell it for (which was true). I was really appalled at their interest rate – it was a good 4% above the current rates. This is one of those instances where both the real estate agent and the lender really took advantage of naive buyers.
When I went over to their house for the listing appointment, I could see the strain on their faces. It was obvious that they felt their lives were just out of control. They told me that they they loved the house, they loved having a yard for their kids, but that their marriage was dissolving and they felt their only option was to move on. After listening to them for a while, I asked them if they would prefer to stay in the house if they could find a way. Apparently no one else had asked them this question. They said yes, they wanted to stay but didn’t see how.
I was able to arrange a new mortgage for them, with MUCH lower payments, and they were able to keep their family home. Best yet, they called me a couple of months later and said that they had patched up their marriage because the financial stress had been lifted.
Some things are better than a paycheck and some days I really love my job.
(c) 2006 Susan Pruden