I've got myself in a real pickle and am very discouraged because I just don't know what to do.
I got married 4 yrs ago. About the time I was about to get married I was living in an apartment, had 17K of revolving debt plus 10k of student loans. I picked up most of debt traveling the country trying to gain the kind of experience I thought I needed for my career. Anyway, 4 years ago...I was already working my day-cubicle job and a second part-time carry-over from college to pay for wedding expenses. I could have maintained the second job to eliminate the debt but it would have taken quite a while.
About this time we were experiencing the real estate boom in NJ that has recently declined. But, I had an idea which was nothing new, people do it all the time... My parents were living in the house I grew up in but they didn't own. Thet had at one point but couldn't pay. Somehow they had convinced a wealthy relative to buy it and they were paying rent. My idea was that if I could get the financing that we could fix it and sell it as a family venture. The house was very run down. Second worst on the street for sure and maybe the neighborhood. At this time my younger bro/sis were also living there.
Everyone agreed. My mom contacted the owner (her side of family) and we didn't hear anything for 6 weeks. Finally, I contacted them. I was met with a very stern and terse comment that they wanted nothing more to do with the house. And I was to speak to another distant family member who now had power of attorney. I did speak with the other person at which time I was informed that an eviction hearing at the County was scheduled in four days. I was totally unaware as it was kept from everyone by my mom. I was told that I was welcome to make an offer of 295K. I told the guy, no can do. The best I could offer is 204K the max. lend amount of the Veterans loan program.
Well, the next day I was contacted by a real estate agent who told me that the distant relatives would sell at 204K. We eventually did purchase the house. I later learned that the max. VA lend amount was 240K; I either made the honest mistake or the VA website was in error. Nonethelss we got it at 204K. We eventually had to do a no-money-down conventional because my debt-to-ratio was too high and the VA wouldn't approve.
Based on these initial events I have always believed that I had made the right decision in buying the house and that was just a perfect example of how God was making it all possible.
My goal was and has always been to try and prepare the house as quickly as possible for sale to take advantage of the boom. Well, because I am writing this now it never did happen and I'm losing my way in what feels to be a big way. It's as if everything is crumbling down around and within. The problems start after the purchase of the house.
However, to put it in perspective, at the peak about two years ago (2 yrs after purchase) my model house was selling at an AVG of 420K. I had figured with a good deal of elbow grease during the first year of ownership we could clean the house out of all the clutter and junk my parents had allowed to accumulate. Here's a before/after example of the junk in the backyard. That boat was sitting there for five years or more and each year stuff got piled under it like the boat was a pavillion or sumthin. I replaced the space with a nice fence and a play set for the kids.
Another goal for the first year was to change the outside appearance for a re-finance. In this way, I could get rid of PMI and get a HELOC to cover fix-it costs. In the end, I did just that and people were amazed at the transformation. All the neighbors fell in love with me as one can imagine. Don't get me wrong the Lord blessed all along the way. For example a friend donated some cultured stone so we could re-face the front of the house.
The second year was going to be devoted to interior transformation. For the most part, that happened. New carpets, new windows, some trim and painting was done. I'm not saying my family didn't do anything but every little thing was a fight. I lost my drive because I got very little help or had to fight to get it. In general, it's as if no one around me understands these matters nor did they ever understand 1.) what the goal was and 2.) what's involved in making it happen.
At about the 2.5 year mark my wife was fed up and forced the issue of putting the house up for sale however I didn't beleive it was ready and figured we would take a big hit. Sure enough, that's what happened. We got 1 offer after 9 months because the market had already started to take a nose dive and, that offer was 60K below where we had listed on advice of our agent. If the house had sold then I would have made 67K which seems like a lot but not really. I would have to take it all for myself for it to really be effective for my wife and I. But being a Christian man I will not forsake my parents and keep it all, regardless. Either way the cost of living is so damned high here that I thought I needed more for this to work. You see part of this was to help my parents, so they can get some of their financial mess together. I figure if that can happen now while they are still capable, it will be easier on me and my siblings in the future. Anyway, seeing as how the house wasn't ready to be on the market in the first place, and (of course) hardly anything was done to the house while on the market because I didn't push the issue, I wouldn't accept the offer and took the house off the market.
So, here I am now four years and all I do is fight with my wife and I have very little of relationship with my parents. My wife despises my parents because of the roadblock that they were/are. She envies my brother and sister because they've since found spouses of their own and have moved on. They were once contributing financially when they lived here but not since they got married. I am increasingly becoming financially strapped having to cover carrying costs and the costs that my siblings had once contributed. No matter what I do at work, I can't seem to get a promotion or raise that will put a dent in any of the costs and I can't get my wife to help me out other than a measly part-time job that brings in about 150 bucks a month. I've asked her to help me by actually persuing the career that she once claimed she wanted to do. My mom had even watched our first child for us while she went to school. But since graduating, she won't do anything with her career. All she says to me is "I'm tired of living with your parents; kick them out, kill them, I don't care." But, even though she says that, I know that their financial contribution is what has allowed my wife to stay home with our children and not really have to work under the status-quo.
As for what keeps me sane in all of this...duck hunting, some fishing and Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I feel screwed by parents for having been difficult and basically causing us to miss the recent boom but what am I to do-they are my parents and they were gonna be out on the street going back to the beginning of all this? I'd do the same thing for my wife's parents - including her estranged dad whom she has not seen in 16 years. Actually, this house to some degree allowed us to purchase a small used Jetta for her mom a couple of years ago when she was down on her luck.
So where I am now is that I just don't know what to do anymore. Nothing gets cleaned-up or fixed unless I take the initiative. My wife is pushing real hard again. She wants me to use the equity to buy a trailer for my parents to get them out. If I do that they will have to cover the costs which is totally fair but then my wife and I will immediately need to come up with $600-800 bucks a month or just use the equity account to pay for bills and at the same time try and get the house ready and sold in a very short period of time. I fear that any chance of getting profit from this house will be squandered away and then I'll either be breaking even or losing money with the way the market is...the total opposite of the intended goals to begin with!
I am sorry that this post is so long and I'm almost wary of why I'm sending out to a place for the world to see into my life but...
All I was trying to do is make things better for myself and my parents and in the end it just seems like the saying "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" is applicable.
If anyone has words of encouragement or chastisement lay it on me.
I'm talkin bout the Lifestyle of the not so rich and famous.