Homeless for the Holidays.
Here's the main story for those who don't want to click the link.
Bob and I have been homeless since November 30, 2011.
Here's the back story on how we've ended up in this position:
At the end of August, we came home from work to find a note on our apartment door that a new property management place had taken over our apartment building and pets would no longer be allowed as of 11/1 when our lease ran out.
This was unacceptable for us. I spend the majority of my free time volunteering with our local no-kill shelter, Centre County PAWS. Bob is also a big animal advocate/lover. There was no way we were going to give up our cat and our dog (both rescues, of course).
We immediately started looking for apartments. There were barely any apartments available that allowed pets in our area thanks to the large student population. The ones that did allow pets were all either gross, extremely expensive or out in the middle of nowhere. I got disheartened very quickly and started wishing we could buy a house now instead of two years down the line like we were planning. On a whim, I started looking at properties available in the area on Zillow because Bob and I have dreamed of our own house for years. I saw a few things that were moderately priced and less than rent in many cases. I ran our finances through a few mortgage calculators and realized that looking to buy wasn't as crazy/out of reach as I thought.
So, I bounced the idea off of Bob. Bob mentioned he knew a mortgage counselor and set up a meeting with him. Our mortgage counselor confirmed that we could indeed buy a house and should do so to take advantage of the market and interest rates!
We started looking at properties the next week. The 2nd property we saw we fell in love with. We continued to look another day and nothing came close to the 2nd house. We talked it over, weighed all of our options and put in a bid that weekend on the house. The seller countered with a very reasonable offer and we accepted. I believe 9/26 was the date we came under contract, less than one month from starting to look.
We worked out a deal with the new property manager to extend our lease at to 11/15, 11/30 at the latest if we needed to. We just had to make sure the animals were out during that period. Fine, whatever. Not ideal but we agreed since we were well into the home buying process and there was no reason we shouldn't be able to close by the middle of November, the end of November at the latest.
11/1 rolled around and we had to move our cat & dog into temporary housing so we wouldn't go into an eviction process with the new landlords. Our cat went to Bob's boss's house. Our dog went to my parents house. There they remain for the time being.
The appraisal process took FOREVER. The paperwork for the final appraisal didn't land into the hands of our settlement company until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Our bank & our side immediately moved into action and started pushing the paperwork for closing through on Black Friday. We were told that we should be able to close on Tuesday, 11/29. YAY, we said!
We moved all of our possessions out of the apartment and into the new house per an addendum to our contract with the seller which allowed us to store our stuff there until closing.
Monday rolled around and we got the call that there was no way it would be able to happen 11/29, but definitely on 11/30 at 11AM. I was cranky but relieved we at least had confirmation we were finally going to closing, even if it was 4 hours before we were scheduled to walk through our apartment & be out of it.
Wednesday morning (11/30) rolled around and Bob and I called mortgage counselor to see what amount we should have our closing check made out for as we still hadn't heard the final total. He didn't have an answer because the seller's payoff from Bank of America still hadn't landed on the settlement lady's desk. Without that, our bank was refusing to release the HUD document with our closing totals. This confused Bob and I because all that had been scheduled to happen by call of business on Tuesday so we could close that morning. They all assured us that they were making phone calls and it should happen sometime that day... there was just a hold up somewhere.
So, we went to do the final walk through at the house.We got in the car and called to check on where the status of the paperwork was... still nothing. To be safe, we pushed the closing time back to 1 PM.
1 PM came and went. 5 PM rolled around. Still no payoff from Bank of America.
This has left us officially out of time on our lease (with no chance of further extension) and without a place to live. We were (and still are) left with only a few outfits, our laptops and a some toiletries that we hadn't moved into the house yet. We have been living out of the car and sleeping at various places through the generosity of the realtors, my parents, and our friends. We have been burning our money on buying meals while our food spoils day by day in our future house. We have no clue when this nightmare will be over and we'll be in our house. We are fully prepared and everything is ready on our end of the table to buy the house... ALL we need is for Bank of America to FINALLY release the pay offs. (I will give the run down of the saga that our realtor, the seller, the seller's realtor and our settlement company have been going through with Bank of America in the next post.)
Needless to say, this has put an enormous amount of stress on Bob and I. We've not been able to sleep. I've been crying constantly each time I think about it. We desperately miss our animals and want them back with us. This was not how our first home purchase was supposed to go. We have done everything right and are waiting to write our check and close on this house. We had planned to be in our new home and ready for the holidays by now. Instead, we are homeless and don't know if we'll even have our house by Christmas.
Note: Yes, this is a first world problem. We know we are lucky to even be able to purchase a home right now. There are many others out in the world right now struggling with real homelessness, hunger and sadness. Our heart goes out to those people and we regularly donate to and volunteer with non-profits to help those in need.