In a recession or depression buying or selling a home can be a frightening and exhausting challenge. However, if the circumstances are right, buying or selling a home in any market can be a bad nightmare. One such occurrence happened to me, Doc. Yes, I know. People who are experienced in the field of real estate should find buying or selling in any market a walk in the park. That couldn’t be farther from the truth because things happen to everyone, even housing professionals like Doc. Let me share my story with you so, if you find yourself in my bind you can at least know that there is a light at the end of the darkest real estate tunnels.
My story started in a period of no recession or depression. A period of my life that should have been happy and carefree. I was in my late twenties and had the most beautiful 2 year old in the world. My days should have been full of watching her run and play, golden hair shining in the sun, but they were more like Stephen King’s book ‘Bag Of Bones’. My now ex-husband was beating me emotionally and physically, the court system refused to care because his family was wealthy and I was just a poor working girl and I had no where to go, save for the tiny room I was staying in at my Mom and Dad’s place with my daughter. Hardly suitable for a child was what was drilled into my head by the corrupt judges and lawyers handling the custody case at Plymouth District Court. But neither was the home my ex and I had lived in. It consisted of a travel trailer and shed on 7+ acres of land. The shed had an outhouse and the travel trailer had no heat or running water. According to my ex it was just perfect for us. He didn’t want to change a thing about it. Yet he was considered the perfect father by the corrupt judge because of his families’ money. Nothing seemed fair but I hadn’t seen anything yet. I was about to find out how unfair things could get.
Soon the dishonorable judge wielded her sword of injustice my way. Even though I had purchased my home myself, before my ex and I had gotten married, she was making me sell it and give half to my ex after expenses. Refusing to hear my side or look at my evidence she walked arrogantly from the court room, ugly long hair blowing past her butt like a dirty and disgusting main of horse hair. To slam his victory in my face, my ex said to me, “As long as I live you will have nothing!!”. His parents then chirped in with an offer on the property of half its value. They said that they wanted to purchase it for their Little Jimmy, my now ex husband. That would give my ex the property as well as half of what his parents had paid for it. A great deal for him of course. Ready to loose breakfast from being around this corrupt judge and her merry band of thieves I ran from the court room and into the waiting arms of my good friend Edie Kressy. She is a local real estate agent who set me right up with the provisions I needed to get this place sold and out of my life for good. She also provided me with piles of listings for houses to purchase. I was approved for a meager $65,000 so finding a place fit for a child was going to be daunting to say the least.
House after house got checked off of our list. One had structural issues, another had a toilet plumbed into the living room, another was in a bad location and yet another was in a ramshackle trailer. Nothing seemed like home to me. Finding one seemed impossible. An impossibility that could lead me to loosing the only thing that mattered to me……my precious daughter. Night after night I cried myself to sleep and then only slept fitfully. I had one piece of land I couldn’t afford that I had to give to my ex after I made all the payments and now I couldn’t find another piece of land fit for my child. Life seemed so close to an end for me. So very hopeless. But Edie kept the faith by dragging me around town every weekend. Exhausted I looked at her one day and blurted, “I think I have been into more bedrooms then a New York City hooker!!” We both had a good laugh that kept us going for a bit longer. But hope slowly faded away again. That is when we pulled into 221 Thompson St. My cousins had been living here and it was a beautiful home. I thought this was some sort of cruel joke that Edie was pulling on me. She assured me it was not so I told her I would take it, sight unseen. She thought I was nuts until I explained that my cousins lived in the house and I had been in it before. What she had to say next hit me like a ton of bricks. It was cheap because it was haunted and nobody wanted to purchase it. Desperate for a home for my child and myself I told her to go ahead anyhow.
After down payment help from my parents and a lot of moving help from my friends at church the house was mine. I proudly showed it off to the court appointed Guardian Ad Litum, thinking that this would surely gain me much needed support from the court. However, the court and my ex were one step ahead of me. Now that I had two mortgages and little income they played the, “You are too poor to support your child.” card. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Guardian Ad Litum came to court and lied, saying that my home was a tarpaper shack void of water and electric!!
Night after night I prayed for the miracle that never came. And night after night the other property went unsold. Day after day I had to work around the clock and keep a close eye on the other property to protect it from burglars while trying to clean it up for sale. And day after day my church friends stuck close trying to help out with the cleaning. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse they did. My ex broke into the property that was for sale, digging up the new septic and taking the pieces with him on his trailer. He also broke a large hole through the side of the shed to gain access into it. Although I caught him in the act and blocked him into the driveway with my own car, the New Hampton police refused to prosecute him for breaking and entering, theft and threatening bodily harm by telling me he would kill me while I was on the phone with the 911 operator. It turned out that Little Jimmy was a friend to one of the officers called out on the case so, once again, Doc was left to clean up the mess.
Soon I got the call I had been waiting for. A buyer for the other property. A weight lifted off of my shoulders as I listened to the lowball offer. I countered higher knowing I wouldn’t get it because of the damage caused by my ex but it was worth a shot. Sure enough the buyer came back saying he wouldn’t pay a penny more then what his first offer was. Stuck between a rock and a hard place I agreed to meet with the buyer to finalize the paperwork. When my agent told me where the buyer wanted us to meet my heart sunk. He wanted us to meet at my ex’s parent’s lawyer’s office! I vehemently said no it is conflict of interest. However, the lawyer lied and stated he had never met my in-laws in his life. Angrily I went over all of the cases he had handled thus far for them. Not missing a beat he denied that any of those cases existed. Scared to death, because I knew this was a setup, but too scared of what would become of my daughter and I, if I didn’t sell, I contacted my agent’s son, Anderson Kressy. He is a lawyer who specializes in real estate law. He took the reigns and bravely tried to fight the corrupt lawyer but he was no match. Good sometimes cannot overcome evil. Knowing that we had lost the battle I said, “Ok, have it your way but the money goes into a trust fund until we can take out the expenses because the court order states that the split between my ex and I is to occur after expenses.” The corrupt lawyer and his equally corrupt client refused. The buyer even got up and threatened to walk out if I didn’t do it his way. Being an enormous guy I really didn’t want to risk bodily harm. Anderson and I against this gigantic mass of evil was hardly a fair match so I gave in and allowed my ex to take away my hard earned money just so I could loose one mortgage and gain my daughter.
So what can be learned from my story by other
home sellers and buyers? Well, first and foremost, never give up. That perfect house or perfect buyer may be just around the next corner. Sometimes you have to muck a little dung before you find the diamond at the bottom of the manure pile. Secondly, know when you are beat. There are many corrupt lawyers and judges out there and, with their power, you really have no choice but to fold sometimes. Just know that you did your best and that is all you could do. Third, know how much your property is really worth but be willing to take a chance on a counter offer. I knew my property was worth very little after my ex destroyed it but I still took the chance on countering the offer. Who knows, the buyer could have said yes. You don’t know until you at least try. Fourth, be willing to work hard for that sale. Clean your property within an inch of its life to make it shine like new. Fresh clean properties will attract a top paying buyer faster then a property that is dumpy looking. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. How many people show up to help clean your property shows how many good friends you truly have. Be grateful for that. I know I was. Fifth, get your priorities straight. Know what is important. Do you need to get a home in order to keep custody of your child? Then keep your eyes on the prize by keeping a photo of your child in view at all times. When you get discouraged that smiling face will renew and refresh you. If you forget about the important things, such as getting a home so you can have custody of your child, and get caught up in wanting that extra thousand then you could loose everything that you worked so hard for.