Amy’s House is Under Water


Carmen Wong Ulrich

carmen wong ulrich


Welcome to Season 1 of The Money Fix! This new series connects eight DailyWorth readers with top national money experts who will offer each woman a game plan for tackling her specific money problem. The readers then blog about their goals, progress and challenges—right here, in real time.

Hi, my name is Amy, and my family has two homes. We are by no means wealthy. Here's what happened:

My husband’s job took us to a coastal Florida town in 2005, at the height of the real estate boom. And in 2008, as the boom was going bust, we had to relocate again—to Arkansas.

Our Florida home was virtually un-sellable. We were soon able to get tenants in the house, but their rent doesn’t even cover half that mortgage payment. Plus, we are renting our home in Arkansas.

Over 50% of our income goes toward real estate—not a good ratio.

Worse, our home in Florida is now worth only $185,000—about $100,000 less than we paid for it. That’s not a pretty number either.

We’ve burned through our savings, we live paycheck to paycheck, and we’re one major expense from going under. The situation seems hopeless—even our two little boys can sense the tension.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, enter DailyWorth and my new FBF(Financial Best Friend) Carmen Wong Ulrich!

She reassured me that we’d done nothing wrong. Our 30-year, low-interest, fixed-rate mortgage was by-the-books, and we’d even put more than 20% down on the home. We weren’t bad people, just victims of circumstance.

And Carmen has also given us a game plan: first step, call the bank and ‘fess up—admit that we can't afford to keep paying for that house. We owe around $236,500 and are in no position to write a check at closing, so asking for a short sale is our best option, and could help us avoid an outright foreclosure.

I’m dreading this step. Short sales are long and complicated. But we’re going to look at it as the first move toward getting our financial freedom back. We can't wait.

Door's open. Is your house underwater? Swap ideas with Amy.

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