After four long, stressful years of struggling with Chase bank and their bureaucratic bullshit, my house sold yesterday! Yay! Time for a “house cooling” party.

It’s a little bittersweet. Kind of like getting out of a relationship. The first three years were pretty good, but the last four were difficult. While you are still in the relationship you hold out some hope that change might happen no matter how remote a possibility. Like, “I know that somehow I can figure out a way to transplant that house in Phoenix!” You know it isn’t actually able to happen, but you hold onto the threads. Once the relationship is over, you have to face the fact that teleportation doesn’t exist and your unrealistic hopes were, well, unrealistic. You remember the good times, but know that it’s for the best because there really were too many obstacles and neither of you were going to change substantially enough (or capable of)  to make it work (I sure as hell wasn’t going to move back to Chicago).

Yes, I am a statistic. I had a house that was waaaaay underwater and I couldn’t keep it. I tried to do the right thing and applied for a modification. This was in 2008. At the time, Washington Mutual had my account. They kept losing my paperwork, requesting new paperwork, disappearing whole departments I’d been working with the day before…. Friends told me to just walk away. It was 2008 and well, we all know where the economy went and what happened with the banks and the housing market. Instead, I got a tenant so that I could keep paying on my mortgage. I was trying to do the ‘responsible’ thing.

JP Morgan / Chase bought (acquired, took over, ingested?) Washington Mutual and I had a whole new corporation to deal with. I continued to try to get a modification and for the next two years continued to get stonewalled. I probably submitted a complete modification packet seven times because they kept losing my paperwork. It was truly maddening.

I received one notice of potential foreclosure about a year and a half ago. There was never a followup to that letter. Please foreclose and put me out of this Brazil-esque nightmare! I’ve submitted your 27b/6 multiple times now!

A friend of mine who went through a divorce got a notice and three months later the bank was moving to foreclose on his house. How did he get so lucky?

Finally, I decided to sell my house in short sale. If you decide to do this, be patient. You will have to open up your financial life in a way you never expected. The bank requires many months of bank statements, a couple of years worth of your taxes filings, your work history and W2’s… it’s frustrating, invasive, crazy-making. And it drags on… so you will have to keep sending up-to-date bank statements and earnings history.

But once it’s done, it’s done. Yay!
And then all you have to worry about is the IRS come next tax season. Fun!

(Obviously I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t even play one on tv, but I did consult 6 or 7 lawyers and 3 CPAs and they all told me that what one needs to do is file IRS form 982 . I also recommend doing your next taxes with an accountant.)

So, it’s over. The albatross is no longer hanging on my neck.
I can now look forward instead of having part of my past clawing at me.
Goodbye house that was my home for a while.

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