Immobilized by Fear

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Kenneth in NC, May 18, 2005.

  1. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    I’ve read how many of you on this board have started over. I must commend you. Here we are looking at that situation and even though common sense says sell off this place and use the funds to get free of all medical, credit card and other debt I’m stuck with indecision. I’ve talked to realtors that tell me that I need to spend several thousand dollars here and there “sprucing” up our place to help them sell it faster. That'd be ok if I had the several thousand to do it.

    On one side of the fence my Mortgage itself is under $200 bucks per month. On the other the credit cards are Eating us alive. I wonder how will we fare when we are in the search part of relocating or if we get stuck renting till we find that new place. I’ve read and know firsthand that it can run into some bucks out on the highway.

    Then there is the health issue. Neither my wife nor myself are in the greatest of condition. As many here have pointed out my CHF is not a “death sentence” but danged if it don’t feel like it.

    Fresh good tasting well water is something I’ve had available to me for more than 40 years. That’s one thing I’d like to be a constant.

    The way we have it figured if we get near what were asking for the place we would have right at $18,000 give or take a little to start over with. But we would be starting from a debt free point. I’m also allowing $3,000 to move on. (And assuming everything can be pared down to fit in a 40 foot enclosed car hauler)

    Emotionally none of us are happy here. The constant reminders of dad are just down the road. The fact that my “uncle” has become very distant from us, and my daughter is still not over loosing her grandfather. These factors seem to point toward the sell/move.

    Now we get to the nitty gritty. Many of you have told me about places and quoted prices from $75,000 to over $250,000 for 2-15 acre places. It’s hard to imagine going into that debt pit again. Here we have a 3-Bed 2-bath Singlewide Horton Mobile Home, a 1-bed 1-bath 16x36 efficiency home (Now used as a Library), 8x40 metal storage building on 2.38 acres. Our home sets back off the road and is not visible until you come 300 feet up the driveway. In the online searches looking for homes with storage buildings I got a “sticker shock”. And so far over 90% of the properties have neighbors less than 500 feet from the house.

    I know the gun issue is something some consider unimportant. But until I do die I’d like to continue to enjoy the sport of shooting cans, targets and once in a while food. I’d prefer to not have to have a lawyer on retainer to defend me if I defend my family or decide to target practice.

    So what to do? Someone on here said that the “Fear of Loss” is stronger that the “Chance of Gain”

    What do ya’ll think? If placed in our situation what would you do?

    Kenneth in NC :bash:


    P.S. Neither my wife nor I have the necessary skills (or health) to buy a fixer-upper and do the work our selves. And we have absolutely no family to offer help or even a kind word.
     
  2. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    What about moving closer to the NC mountains?
    Should be able to find a litle place somewhere and IF you can't do the fix-up work you could always pay someone IF you can get the property cheap enough.

    We asked the realtor we use in NC to look for a house near our land under $50,000...he found quite a few and some were on acreage(although not many.)

    Maybe it would be better to look closer to home as it would make moving easier...
     

  3. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    Geographical relocation is a used by many to try and get a "fresh" start in life. It seldom works since the problems aren't geographical in nature. It sounds to me like you should try and make it work from where your at....but I don't know the whole story nor am I in your shoes..
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    1) Don't assume that moving will solve the emotional problems. It won't. The problems will be drowned out for a while in the hustle and bustle of moving and getting re-settled. But they're still there and will have to be dealt with. That's just life, unfortunately.

    2) Living debt free is wonderful - I can tell you that from first hand experience. It takes awhile to get to that point, though.

    I think if I was in your shoes I'd continue to do some serious shopping until I found the *right* place at the right price. Make an offer on contingency, and then sell your currrent place. Don't just set your family adrift right now. While you're waiting for the right place to come along (and it will), start fixing up your current home with an eye toward selling. All those things the realtor suggested you do (I know I got quite the list when I sold my previous home), start doing them now. That way when the time does come to sell and move, it won't be quite so overwhelming.
     
  5. indypartridge

    indypartridge Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Debt isn't always bad. We lived nearly debt-free in the city and hated it, now I'm in debt living in the country and we love it. I would agree that credit card debt is bad, especially when, as you said, it is eating you alive. But, for us, a mortgage on a dream home/property is manageable. A big part of our decision to take the plunge was that we wanted to do it before our kids were grown, and it has been extremely rewarding seeing the change in them! Another major factor was that DW had been thru breast cancer twice, which has changed our lifestyle so that whenever it's possible, instead of talking about "someday" we do it NOW.

    We didn't/couldn't do the fixer-upper route either, but eventually found what we were looking for: log cabin in the woods, very secluded (and 3 nice, large, outbuildings!). Hunting/target shooting is no problem. Keep looking - yours is out there! Good Luck!
     
  6. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Kenneth,
    I agree a lot with Jen H except I would try to stick it out where you are at
    if you can. AA calls moving to solve problems the "geographic cure" and it
    rarely ever works. Also, $18,000 ain't a heck of a lot to start over with and
    I very much doubt you could find something comprable AND have a low payment
    (no way will you find something lower than $200/mo!). Maybe you could do
    chapter 13 or call one of those debt resolution companies and work it out?
    Sorry to hear about your situation and I hope you resolve it to your satisfaction.
    james
     
  7. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    How much longer do you have until your current place is paid off? If you only have a few years left on it, I don't know that I'd be too game to start over with a 30-year mortgage.

    How did you acquire so much credit card debt, and have you done what you need to to insure it won't happen again if you pay it off? It's amazing how many people get themselves out of the hole of debt only to go right back down again.

    How much debt do you have? Is it more than what your property is worth? Is there any chance to refinance or get a home equity loan to pay off the debt and stay where you are? (It sounds like there is enough equity if selling pays everything off and leaves you some money too.)

    I'm not familiar with all areas of the country, but I think you'd be hardpressed to find something like what you have now for $200 a month or less. Not even close.
     
  8. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A mortgage of less than $200 a month, private as all get out, good well water, decent buildings, able to do what you want on the place.

    You want to trade? Sounds like the current geographic situation is almost ideal. I'll gladly give you my nearly $1k mortgage and road traffic. Sure, I can play with my guns and have a creek and a pond, but I also can't mow naked or pee off my porch without someone honking their horn and pointing.

    Emotional bagage goes with you everywhere.
     
  9. Conni

    Conni Well-Known Member

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    My parents were in a world of hurt from CC debt a couple of yrs ago. They paid them off this spring. They didnt spend a dime for 2 yrs. Every extra penny they had they put towards those cards. They went to a Dave Ramsey seminar and bought his book. They said that was the best money they spent. Dave Ramsey probably would suggest you move. The problem isnt where you live- its the CC debt. You have a low mortgage pymt- I wouldnt walk away from that . Keep the roof over your head. Pay off those cards. No matter what you have to do. Can you make money off your property? Can any of you work an extra job? My Dad boards horses, mows for businesses, sells top soil... My Mom works at an office job and she applied her bonus and stock options to the cc debt every yr to help knock it out.

    I suggest you go to www.daveramsey.com and see what info or advice you can there.

    On the flip side--- if you sold your place now. Do it *by owner*. Dont use a realtor!!! We sold our old house by owner and saved alot of money. The property we bought recently-- we bought it from the owners (no realtor fees involved). They got more money out of the deal by doing it that way. We certainly bought the place *as is*. It is junky, old house is not livable, shed falling down, barn is nice tho. Lots of junk piles we get to clean up, ponds dont hold water right now, well doesnt work, and electric has to be re-ran, fencing?? forget it- we have to put new up... So dont let the realtor tell you that no one will buy your place until you fix it up!!!! LOL

    There is a place at the lake that just sold with a double wide on it-- the guy is obviously very wealthy. Because he is getting ready to simply doze the trailor and build his nice lake cabin. :)
     
  10. Conni

    Conni Well-Known Member

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    I meant to say probably wouldnt suggest you move! lol
     
  11. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Is it possible to sell off a parcel of your land and stay put? Land around your area should bring a considerable amount. It isn't what you want, but, neither is moving to an inferior place. Better to stay on your home and sell of a few acres than move to a higher payment place with fewer acres. :grump:

    A while back I moved my credit card debts to low and no interest cards. The no interest card has really BIG payments on it, but the 8% interest card has normal payments. It has taken time, but they are decreasing.

    I would not suggest the no interest credit card move, because they have really large payments that run a person too close to the bone. IF EVERYTHING goes to pay the credit card payment, then as something goes wrong there are no savings, and so it goes on a high-interest card. Because DH is working we got a tax refund that paid off the high-interest card, but I would not go that route again.

    That negates the benefit of the no-interest card, which STILL has very large payments! For this reason, moving debts to the 8% card was MUCH more helpfull. If you go the refinance route, make sure you ask what the payments will be.
    ...................................................
    You know, it is hard on guys when the ladies in their life cry. They want to fix things. But, it is how the ladies heal. They are working through their grief.

    When I was small I lost one of my grandmothers. And, I suspect that moving won't help your grand daughter emotionally, though it may help you.

    As for you folks that are thinking "how did they ever get into the credit trap", it is simple. We assumed that we could work. We had a choice of repairing either the house or the car(s) or LOSING the house or the car(s). We put it on plastic. Then, we couldn't work. We kept food on the table, but then something ELSE broke, or something else happened. And, I suspect that Kenneth had a business loan as well.

    Then, we got sick and couldn't work. :waa: Rats.

    With good fortune and much frugality I hope to be on better footing in a year, as I have been whittling down this debt for a long time (with many setbacks, old cars NEED repairing if they are to keep running). But, it may cost Kenneth his home. For this I am truly sorry.

    Bankruptcy would have been easier, but I would rather be frugal for several years instead. Those folks loaned us money in good faith and they deserve to be paid back. If I HAD to go bankrupt I would but if I CAN pay it off, I will.
     
  12. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Ken,

    Moving is veryyy stressful. I know, we did it 7 months ago.

    There were many reasons why we moved,, lack of jobs, noise, meth lab next door, a Illegal chop shop on the other side,, and this was in the country. Think the run way at the airport was more quiet.

    I love the new place, but it was a big, big stress because we were not sure we could afford it. The realEstate people get you coming and going, extra taxes coming and going, renting a Uhaul truck and hoping enough friends show up so you can move...the property tax sticker shock...
    As long as DH can patch together contract jobs we will be ok.

    We looked, and looked and looked,, there is not a whole lot of good land out there for sale, at least not in this area. The only place we could find was the max we could of payed for a place.
    At the time we were only looking for 2 to 5 acres raw land,, so we could put a Yurt on it.. we could not even afford that!!

    Lucked into this place big time. It is quiet, lots of land, the Well...is the worse one we have had to deal with. :p.. I hope Some day we will be able to afford to dig a new one. A real Chimney would be nice to.

    We have to start over with all the sheds, fencing, there is no garden here at all.
    It is a lot of work and as I get older it is much harder to start over.

    Then there is the Debt, mostly because of the car accident a number of years ago. It was causing us no end of stress. What we did end up doing is getting a bank loan to pay off all the CC's,, and cutting said CC's up. We are making an over all lower monthly payment, and we are really paying it off. It might be a option for you.
    We are without any CC's now, and hope to stay that way. We put away a little bit of money as we can. Not, a lot but is a start.

    Ken, it is up to you what you do, only you can make the best choice. You are getting a lot of very good ideas.
    All I can say is moving is hard, and very spendy.
     
  13. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    You've gotten some great advise already ... 1.) Cut up the credit cards; 2.) Call current credit card companies tell them your situation, see ifyou can't get a lower interest rate ... read all those offers that come in the mail but be very careful about the fine print. - Transfer to lower rate company if current credit care company will not work with you. If you feel you can't do this on your own - check with debt consolidation company -but be very careful - get references from someone else who has done so and is pleased with results. 3.) If you still can't get the credit card debt down to workable payments - talk to an attorney about bankruptcy - not sure what's going to happen with recent propoposed rule changes - but an attorney will know - there is possibly still a level where you can keep you home and atleast one vehicle. 4.) Don't sell your place because of grief over personal losses -- the grief will go with you and you'll be out of a really great mortgage payment.

    All reports on grieving advise to not make any major changes in your life until you are comfortable in doing so -- doesn't sound like you are ready for that yet.

    Just keep telling yourself..."this too shall pass...this too shall pass."

    Best of luck to you and yours,
    Marlene
     
  14. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    How did we get in so much CC debt. Well I'd like to blame the government but in reality it was bad planning and turn of misfortune. My DW work assignment ended 2 months before it was supposed to, followed by my visit to hospital and being diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. WE started using the cards just for groceries and gas. Then two sales fell through. And DW cash advanced to pay one month. My DD had to go to a specialist (they get paid in advance of visit) so we charged it. Wife thought (was told by temp company) that new assignment in 20 days. Didn't happen. Cash advanced another card to pay months bills. Then through series of Ooops like having truck fixed to keep it running and replacing two tires that the steel core popped out of and paying power bills by CC. Here we are. 6 credit cards and all maxed out.

    DW has 4 herinated disk in her back and one of them is laying on her spine. She is strong willed and won't apply for disability. She thinks she needs to work. She got a call today that may lead to her going back to work next week at a reduced rate of pay ($8 bucks a hour). Sounds good till you look at what happens when she does. I loose medicaid which pays the $800 for my medications each month and furnishes me those pesky things like diabetes test strips. Also according to my attorney it will also KILL my chance at SSI benefits. And we'll owe the attorney whom can't collect because as he put it we screwed it up for all.

    No business debt. But having been in business once before it's hard to begin another one here. I have heard it said a million times "Nobody in your home town wants you to succeed" You can return a Hero but never become one in your own hometown. Many have moved to find better opportunities.

    Emotional Baggage: Yep we have some. And yes some will go with us. I think the hardest thing about dad's old place being close by is not only have I lost a friend but all the things we shared like tractor, riding mower, spliting the cost on planting gardens etc. ALL THAT IS GONE. My uncle has a "Stay off my place" attitude.

    My DW family has disowned her and through manipulations cheated her out of her inheritance. That's as much as I'll say on that.

    My DD was used to visiting her grandpaw every day and staying down there on the week-ends riding her bike and going off with her grandpaw. My uncle barely acknowledges that my DD is alive. He prefers that she NOT ride her bike down there.

    Then there is the incidents and BS at the intermediate school. Bottom line DD teacher really needs to be reprimanded for her mistreatment against my daughter. I could sue her and school but that also takes $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    In a nut shell we have no family here and a lot of mixed memories. :(

    DEBT WE have about 6 years left on the mortgage. bankruptsy is out because I had to file bankruptsy after my triple by-pass in 1997. Don't want to do that again. This month is the first time all the bills were not paid. It stresses me to no end.


    Thanks for listening.
    Kenneth in NC
     
  15. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    I dont understand how your wife going to work would mess up SSI.... but I dont get all the SSI ins and outs anyway....
    If you wife has medical documentation on the back problems, she should apply for disability. You ALWAYS get turned down, first. and have to reapply. Anyway, I understand why she doesnt want to apply. It can be tough to think about "depending" on the gov for your income. But, three of my kids are getting death benefits, and it is a big help. I can get them better homeschool supplies, give them an allowance, they have a better life. It is worth it.
    If you must choose what bills to pay, keep the house, elec/water and car.
    CC's went to the bottom of the list when DH lost his job. Out of work for almost a year, it got tough. We managed to keep the house and car, and kept the elec company at bay until we recovered. He took a job at 6 bucks an hour, but that was 2 years ago, and things are looking up. If you have to let the cc payments go, they will eventually end up sending you settlement offers. We have solved some like that. NOW, I dont really RECOMMEND that route, but it just sorta happened for us. My DH found out that the world did not come to an end because the credit card company said so.... I understand about the family problems. We actually inherited our place from my dad. (along with the rest of the payments) My brother - who lives on the adjoining land - began by being our best friends. But, once he discovered that I wasnt afraid of him, and couldnt be bullied around to do for him, he now hates us. Has even tried to sue us. LOL that turned out funny! The judge told him he gets "nothing, absolutely nothing" So, he got stuck with that bill. Let me tell you, even your relatives can be the biggest jerks of all, maybe that is especially your relatives.....
    Uncle will be the one loosing. DD will know who loves her/who doesnt. You wont even have to say it. My 6 year old keeps asking, "why doesnt Uncle like us anymore? will he be mad forever?" I do try to buffer it, but when you wave and get that middle finger wave back, the kids see and know.... anyway,,
    Hang in there. Try to resolve the money issues first. Those things will follow you. I dunno about your attorney, we never had one. If he was worth his salt he should be able to 'fix' whatever was screwed up, unless it means more cash,,, we just muddled through the best we could, paid the important stuff, and quiet answering the phone until after 9 pm... lol!
     
  16. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Back a lon g time ago, I heard that you could talk to a CC company and have them stop charging interest. Basically, they would rather have the principle than not get anything. It ruins your credit, of course, but such is life. Perhaps this can still be done?

    You mentioned that you were using a check cashing service. Do you still owe on that? I have heard that they can do things to you that a CC company cannot do.
     
  17. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    I vote to stay where you are. Check with an attorney about what you can do with the credit card debt considering your health situation.
     
  18. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Kenneth, are you eligible for disability with the CHF? Just a thought ...

    Ann
     
  19. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Stop paying those credit cards for 90 days. Then go to CCC and get signed up with them. You'll be forgiven late fees, get lower interest, etc. Then follow through on your CCC plan.

    As I have been laboriously trying to explain to my husband....selling something to pay a debt, when such sale actually results in incurring more debt than you started with is STUPID. So you owe as much as a new house on credit cards? If so, then cancel what I said above and let them get 6-8 months behind, then go for settling on the balance. You can often get them to settle for less than 50%. If you don't owe that much, then read my advice above.....don't trade paying less debt in order to incur even more debt.

    Starting over is not something I really had in mind to be doing. It is stressful beyond belief, not to mention a flat waste of money. I'm watching stuff go out the door for half what I paid for it, knowing I'll need to buy it back in a few years for twice as much. It totally sucks, but it is what I have to do at this point.

    I am not leaving this area because whether I think I do or not, I do have a support system here. It's not much, but the feed store guy knows I will pay my bill so he gives me credit. The vet gave me a health cert on my cattle without coming out to look at them because she knows they are healthy...stuff like that. I know the schools, the doctors, the ins and outs of this community. Who do I call for a hole in my roof? For a bad septic? All those little things that matter alot when you are new to an area and have absolutely no idea who to call, or even who to ask who to call.

    One thing also is that you simply must live somewhere in order to truly be able to get a good deal on real estate. If you are not familiar with the area, you are much more likely to make a bad choice in buying property and pay more than you should have. That's my opinion anyways and my experience has proven that to me. With a mere $18,000 in the bank, you are going to be pushed to buy something, anything NOW to avoid pittering that away on rentals.

    You'll end up short, end up using all the new credit cards you got since you paid the old ones off for living expenses, only now you will have a house you can't afford and will end up losing that instead of just another BK. Sorry to sound pessimistic, but at this point, I vote for security and security is a $200 mortgage, with or without the credit card debt. They cannot take your home for credit cards.

    I think there comes a time in life when one has to begin to recognize that the time for fresh starts and new adventures is growing short. I think of all I could accomplish, then realize that I'm thinking 30 years down the road and I'm likely to not be here. If I had a choice, I would not be starting over (again). Think hard and stay in reality. Do the math ON PAPER. Numbers do not lie. Written numbers tell a story that defines decisions. Do not rely on thinking about the numbers, write them down!

    Good luck, but I vote for stay put.

    Jena
     
  20. akamhale

    akamhale New Member

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    Kenneth in NC. I am in NC also. Where in NC do you live? I think you have gotten some good advice here. It would be a major mistake to sell your home. What you might consider is refinancing your home. Using the equity you have built up in your home is a way to help you get away from those higher interest credit cards. But NOT before you have a way to make the payments. Jenna is right about the credit card companies making you offers. If you cancel the cards and let them go then they will begin making deals and settlement offers. But you can also call the credit card companies and work out a deal with them anyway. That is all a debt consolidator will do. You can make those calls for yourself. If you can take out a loan to pay off the debt and then get the companies to make deals, then you will come out ahead. It sounds like your credit is probably already damaged by the bankrupcy that you filed some years ago so you would not end up in a bigger mess. Also if you refinance then you can stretch your payments out over a longer period of time. It is so hard to stay debt free in this world especially when you are plagued with health problems. Is your wife's disks operable? If not then she should go ahead and file for the disability if her income is going to mess your payments up. Remind her that she has paid into the social security system already and that she is reaping what she sowed. There is nothing wrong with taking disability if you have such health issues. Starting over in a new place will make things worse. If you buy another home, especially at that price, then you will be back in the same situation before long. "New" homes can also be plagues with problems and the cost of moving is expensive. I do not see that you will come out better. At least in your current home you know what works and what doesn't. Purchasing another home would be a big gamble because, as you know, a home can be a money pit. You never know what will break next and then what will you do? I know what it is like with a child missing their grandparent. My children just lost their grandad three months ago. My husband and I and the boys are reeling from the loss, but time heals all wounds and it will get better for us and it will get better for you. Selling your home would just be running from the problems and trust me (I know from experience) that the problems will follow you. They may not be the same problems but they will come. I do not mean to sound depressing but I really think you need to stay and keep a roof over your heads. It would be worse to be homeless. I wish you the best of luck and I will say a prayer for you and your DW that God will give you wisdom and that your situation will improve.
    Amy in NC