I recently posted on no spend days. I was writing another post on it as an update as to why the no spending was more of an issue for me living in an apartment. However, it turned into a more personal matter. I debated whether or not to post. I decided to go through with it. Here it is below:
I lived in NH and moved to Florida in the summer of 2006 for a teaching job. Long story, but at the time the move was necessary. I made the mistake of thinking I didn’t want to “waste” money renting and bought a house and got a great deal at the time (early 2007). Within six months, the housing market spiraled downward, especially in SW Florida. Fast forward, (no offense to any Floridians, everyone is different for a reason) I found I HATED living in Florida. I tried to find the good in it and couldn’t. As a teacher, I hated the public schools (my kids hated attending them as well). It wasn’t for me and my family hated living there as well. My youngest even said he would rather be homeless than live in Florida (a wake up call for sure). So, we put the house on the market and moved back to New Hampshire (which we love and missed terribly) this past summer. In order to get back into our excellent (but expensive) school district, we had to rent an apartment (the house is still trying to be sold in Florida). I have no outdoor space of my own! I hate that part, but still worth the sacrifice to move back (I honestly believe I would have had a nervous breakdown if I had stayed down there).
I did what I thought was the right thing before leaving. I talked to the lender. I told them my situation. They know housing has dropped to 1/5 of its original value and will likely never recoup down there to more than 50% the original value. I was told I was good to go as long as I made an honest effort to sell the house as high as I could. To give you an idea of just how low the prices have been driven down there, a used mobile home here is more than my three bedroom house (totally remodeled in 2006) is worth now in SW Florida.
Since I left, the lender has changed hands to one of the “big” banks who are completely clueless. I have made several calls. They have had me talk to no less than 12 people and still they aren’t sure if they want take the offer they have on the table. Yesterday, I was asked why I am unemployed by the bank. I am not unemployed and have explained the ENTIRE story many, many, many times. This house could have been sold two months ago and yet is still on the market because no one knows what the other is doing.
I used to wonder how people could be financially irresponsible and short sale their house or let it go into foreclosure. I consider myself overall to be very financially responsible. The lesson I have learned is my family’s well being is more important. I could tell horror stories as to what we went through living in Florida, but then this post would be an entire novel. Let’s just say the area and schools were becoming quite dangerous (In our defense, the major issues came about after we purchased the house).
So, my purpose of this post? For one, I guess I felt some sort of need to confess my “secret”. Number two, to point out that not everyone purchased a house they couldn’t afford. Situations change and people need to sell. Are you obligated to stay somewhere forever because by no fault of your own, your home’s value dropped 80% in less than four years? I have learned to be much less judgmental. I also have learned money isn’t everything. I could be happier if I were not living in an apartment with no personal outdoor space, but that is the price I am paying for my decision (still ecstatic to be back in NH). At least we are sane and safer now.
*Edited to add: I really don’t want to insult or bash anyone for living in Florida. In summary, my major issues were within the public schools (what was allowed to happen and lack of safety). I also found, much to my initial surprise, I am a four season girl:)
And, to find out this is quite the timely post. I just found out it is National Honesty Day.