Buying A House?

We currently live in a doublewide trailer: 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and a living room and separate den with a fireplace. (does that seem like just inviting danger? I mean a fireplace IN a trailer?!) It's a nice trailer but, really, we would love to have more space and live in a safer neighborhood.

Too many burglaries going on. Just a few weeks ago, there were helicopters circling our neighborhood for the longest time and armed officers combing the area for an armed robber and car jacker that was hiding out. They ended up brining in the K9 unit and caught him.

Needless to say, I want out.

Besides...4 homeschooled kids in a trailer with just a spit of a yard isn't really an ideal living situation. (yes, I realize that might make me sound stuck up, but oh well) When we moved here, it was supposed to be a 6-month stint and we only had 3 kiddos: a 10 yr old, a 7 yr old and a newborn. forward FIVE years! We now have FOUR kids...a 15 yr old, a 12 yr old, a 5 yr old and a 4 yr old. Things are getting crowded, yo.

So I've been looking for a house.

The main problem is our credit situation. My husband's is....less than stellar, shall we say. That's not necessarily that we're irresponsible...though we did make mistakes many years ago. We bought our first house back in 2006. Then the drought hit right afterwards. Antonio was working THREE jobs trying to make ends meet, but the economy was horrible...even with 3 jobs we could barely make ends meet. And our house was on the very cheap end, comparative to what I saw my friends buying (our first home was purchased for around $106K) We ended up giving our home back to the mortgage company. I believe it was called a "deed in lieu". But, technically, it was considered a foreclosure. (But it has been over 6 years since it foreclosed and is no longer on our credit report.) Over the next couple of years, a few of our bills went into collections as we struggled to stay afloat.

Now, though, things are better. We have learned to budget and pay our bills in a timely manner. And our work situation has improved exponentially.

Financially and mentally, we are ready to be home owners again.

So now we are working on building our credit back up. We owe around $500 in old accounts, most of them from over 5 years ago, when Antonio was stuck in a dead-end job in a crappy Ohio economy. Which is a large reason why we moved back south: the economy is MUCH better down here. Then we started our own business...and it is proving to be very successful, thank God. The recent one is from an unexpected trip to the ER. But, seriously, $500 is NOT much and we are getting ready to pay them off. We've heard that, if negotiated correctly, the collection agency is able to remove the account from your credit report immediately, whereas if you simply just pay (without negotiating the removal of the account from your credit report) that it won't raise your score at all. (Update...I wrote this post yesterday and today we spent the better part of the morning and early afternoon contacting creditors and paying off most of our delinquent accounts. Turns out, getting them to remove the account from our credit report is pretty unlikely. Out of the 2 collection agencies we spoke to, Enhanced Recovery Company {ERC} and Trident Asset Mgmt, neither would provide a deletion letter. Trident, however, did say they would, as a courtesy, put in a request to have the account deleted, but would send no deletion letter, so I'm doubting that will actually happen. The third account didn't even get that far, as it was discovered that it was an unpaid medical bill from a years-old workers comp claim that was supposed to be already paid by his old employer, so we're waiting to hear back from our lawyer)

Our bank also strongly suggested to get a secured credit card through them. One that will be reported to the credit bureaus. The mortgage guy at the bank told Antonio to only put 20% (of our credit limit) on the card right away, in the first month. Pay off as soon as bill comes due. Repeat this process for the next few months. He said that by doing that, it will raise his credit 100 points within 3 months. Now, in all honesty, I am not seeing anything that backs that claim up in my research. I'm only finding that it will raise his credit maybe 30 points in the course of 3 months. So I'm not entirely sure...

So, yes...working on credit.

As for the house hunting... I found a house! I fell in love with the house on the website and drooled over it for days until I asked Antonio to please drive me out to see it in person back on Sunday.

We could only look at the outside...and it definitely needs a lot of work...but from what we can tell, it is livable as-is (pending a mold inspection because we saw some possibly water leaks and what looks like mold on the garage walls that made us a bit nervous). It is on the high end of our budget...but I think it may be worth it.

Unfortunately, it is a REO (bank-owned property) and that the house is being sold as-is. I'm not sure that we could negotiate a much lower price given it is bank owned. I've heard they're pretty hardass when it comes to that sort of thing. Of course, when you have billions (trillions??) of dollars at your disposal, I guess a paltry little house really isn't a priority to unload.

I wish I would have taken pictures for you. I don't want to put up the pictures on the Realtor's site because I don't want to jinx it.

But this house has everything (yes, I do believe every.single.thing.) on my House Wish List. And I have been looking for yeeeeears and have never found such a home that fit in our budget (or even anywhere close to our budget) until now. The only thing it doesn't have (that is on my List) is that it is ready-to-go, no work needed. I repeat: this house needs a lot of work. BUT it is about $40K under the median price range for the neighborhood. It also has a few things that I wasn't really looking for...but will surely take! hahaha

It has....(ready for this? I am SO EXCITED!!)...

4 bedrooms
4 bathrooms...4 toilets!! Enough for allllll the childrens!!
A large completely fenced-in backyard (partial privacy fence)
An outbuilding
A garage
A basement (that is actually partially underground...hard to find in the South)
Quiet street
Older neighborhood (I hate flimsy cookie cutter houses)
Extremely close to our favorite restaurants, stores, etc.
An inground swimming pool
An indoor sunken hot tub!!!!
A sun room
Very private yard
Huge garden tub
Has a nature vibe to it
Hardwood floors
Lots of kitchen cabinets
A dishwasher (we've been without for years...we miss having one!)

Oh, friends....please pray for us and send us positive vibes, as we surely need them.

I am seeing potentially large hurdles in our way. And I feel that if it is something that is meant to be, it will open up to us easily and we won't have to fight for it. So seeing possibly large hurdles looming in the not-so-distant future (like these credit issues that may not go away as quickly as we would like...or need) makes me sad. Maybe this house is not meant to be after all....

Have any of you had success with raising poor credit drastically in a short period of time? Please let me know how you did it!! I need all the sound advice I can get!! xoxo

UPDATE: My husband just spoke with a real estate agent and she said that even if it is bank owned, they are are not allowed to sell it in unlivable conditions...that if there is mold, they have to clean it out. Anyone know if that's true?? Let me know!! xoxo


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