Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Housing Bubble Blues

We really messed up. Our house that my wife and I bought a year and a half ago is more than we can afford and we are up to our ears in debt. Once the mortgage check gets written, the rest of the cash from my paycheck goes to cover bills. Nothing is left to buy gas or groceries. When small, unforseen expenses popped up, there is no reserve to draw upon. Out comes the credit card again and again. And up goes our debt each month.

I went to my boss and let him know what was happening. I am fortunate to be employed with a good company that has several administrative offices around the country. I let him know I needed to be transferred out to an area with a cheaper housing market once the opportunity became available. Several months went by until something did finally open up. I was given a lateral transfer to just a few states away where the cost of housing is less than half than where we currently are. So my wife and I put the house on the market and started getting ready to move our four small kids out to where the new job is.

Now we have three weeks to go before finally leaving. I have worked it out with my employer so that I am keeping about the same pay. The rent for the house we have signed a lease on is about half what our current mortgage is. There is a discount grocery store not far from where we will be living. My wife has already been meeting other home-schooling moms on line from our new neighborhood. She and I have laboriously gone through everything we own and disposed of half of it to make the move easier and life simpler. I am currently arranging for a moving truck.

There is just one catch to all this. The house is not selling.

When I said yes to the promotion, the housing market was a frantic affair. Houses generally sold in a weekend or two. But it seems as if the day we signed with our realtor is the day the market evaporated. So now the house has sat, and sat, and sat, just like pretty much all the other houses. Price does not seem to be an issue. Ours is for about fifty thousand less than what most people are putting a house like ours on the market for. Nobody is able to sell their house.

So it seems that rather than devising and executing a clean get away plan for my family to escape economic ruin, I have driven us straight off a cliff. We will not be able afford the mortgage payment and the rent at the same time. On top of that, we are now looking at the prospect of trying to sell an empty house that will be several hours away.

But this morning along with my coffee I had a kind of epiphany. If you are trying to do evil, the devil messes with the best laid plans. And if you are trying to do the right thing, well heck, that has never been very easy. Nor do things always go the way you think they will. So now all I can do is something I have not been doing enough of: just have faith.