Personal Finances: Let me count the ways…Bankruptcy 101

In late June I filed for bankruptcy. Yes, me. Let’s be raw and honest and just get it all out there, alright? Firstly, the bankruptcy was just the ending in a serious of unfortunate events. From finance mismanagement, to increased credit card debt and personal loan debt, to high, high, high mortgage interest rates and Sallie Mae finally kicking me off of deferment and demanding almost $400 a month in payment. Everything just added up too quickly over the past year and I felt that my hands were tied behind my back.

source: weheartit.com

Last June I decided that I could no longer afford my condo as well as afford my bills and the upgrades needed to live safely in the condo. My bathroom has zero ventilation … not sure how that passed any inspections. So any steam from the shower promptly seeps into the walls or goes up through my ceiling vent (which has no external outlet) and into my closet walls. Thus, making my clothes musty. I have to keep my closet doors open all the time to prevent them smelling. Ugh! Then there was the great flood of June 2010 which came in right through my back door and into much kitchen completely warping about 4 feet of hardwood flooring and also went underneath my cabinets. Insurance wouldn’t pay for granite removal and replacement so that would have been an extra $2-$3K out of my pocket to replace it. Then there was the flood of June 2011 that forced more water into the kitchen area of my condo and warped more wood. The place smelled and I was sick and lethargic most of this past year.

I’m sure my condo is not safe to live and breathe in, and I’ve stayed there until the foreclosure is pushed through. I’ve been researching foreclosure timelines and other information and I know that in January 2010 a law passed in Illinois allowing banks to go after borrowers that foreclose on property for deficiency judgements. Basically, if you owe a balance of say $100,000 and the bank sells it for only $50,000 at a foreclosure sale, then they can go after you for the remaining balance of $50,000 for up to 10 years. That’s 10 years looking over your shoulder, wondering when the bank will decide to find you and knock on your door. I’m not ok with that and I sure as heck do not have $50,000 just waiting to hand over to my mortgage lender. If I did, I’d be able to afford my property and all the changes needed!

To try to prevent foreclosure, I’ve asked for a loan modification receiving zero response from the lender. I’ve had the property for sale but am unable to have movement on it because at least 4 larger units in my building have also foreclosed for around $43,000-$57,000…I still have a balance around $100,000 on my property. I literally feel wedged into a corner. I contacted a bankruptcy lawyer to find out if I could even qualify for it. People usually have two options: Chapter 7 which is a complete liquidation of assets (it’s the one that people usually try to get) or a Chapter 13 which is a re-payment of assets over a 3-5 year period. Obviously the Chapter 7 is the most sought after option becomes it completely eliminates all of your unsecured debt, but does stay on your record for 10 years. It also helps in preventing mortgage companies from coming after you in recourse states that allow the banks to attempt to retrieve their funds. It’s not the best situation and has been completely hard to get through, but I keep trying to truck on.

 

Since the bankruptcy has gone through, I’ve been able to continue making payments on my car so I don’t have it repossessed and I’d still have a way to get to work. I also have been able to save up some money to move into a new place that’s in a better neighborhood and much cleaner…but its a studio. It’s dog friendly so Ella has been getting aquainted with all the barks and smells that are constantly around, plus I have a lot more windows in the unit so we get constant sunshine which is always great. Things are looking up but I still have a long way to go until the foreclosure is finalized.

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2 thoughts on “Personal Finances: Let me count the ways…Bankruptcy 101

  1. Pingback: Sallie Mae is still the devil. |

  2. Pingback: Buying a New Car After Bankruptcy (and Foreclosure) – Part 1 |

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