My Husband and I each owned our own separate businesses. 1.) A large Commercial Cleaning business which included an entire School District, a portion of a University, two Chemical Plants, a Professional office park which housed numerous Dr.'s, Lawyers, Real Estate Brokers, Lenders and many more businesses within and separately, along with a multitude of personal private homes, and 2.) A large Masonry business that contracted Masonry projects for a multitude of State, Government, Commercial, Industrial and Residential jobs.
At the beginning, we felt as though we had the "Midas-Touch." Everything we touched, seemed to turn to gold. Every bid we placed was awarded the contract, which helped us to buy more equipment, supplies, licenses, along with the ability to hire more employees.
Each Business took MASSIVE amounts of 24/7-365 constant monitoring and commitment for taxes (City, State, County Government and Payroll taxes, etc., etc., etc.) Pretty soon, we felt like pieces of raw meat, surrounded by vultures. The more they pecked at us, the more they wanted and the hungrier they got. Lets just say, it comes as no surprise to me, why only 2% of our Nation is financially successful and set free from debt, whereas the remaining other 98% do not make it. Those 2% have earned every single dime!
The other problem was that every time we needed working capital or a home loan, car loan, etc., even though we could produce official Company spread sheets, we were penalized for being self-employed and charged MORE interest and larger payments than anyone else applying for the same (even though our income was greater). This was particularly true with our home mortgage.
Since we were BOTH self employed business owners, we were chastised for every interest rate imaginable. These included our vehicles, credit cards, bank loans, and the most difficult, our mortgage! Some would say being an Entrepreneur and Self Employed Business Owner was noble. We were even termed by some to be "The Back-Bone of America!" While we were trying to make a difference in our lives, and to better ourselves and the lives of our family and friends, along with trying to contribute to our local community by giving jobs, references, bonuses and incentives, raises, even special fuel compensation, we instead were chastised and penalized to the maximum.
Within five months time, we lost two MAJOR contracts. One on each side of our businesses. Almost one year after we had bought our dream home, we lost an $11,000.00 per month cleaning contract for one of our School Districts due to "State lack of funds," and on our Masonry Business side, the builder of the office building we had the masonry portion contracted out for, filed bankruptcy!
We suddenly found ourselves in the red for over $25,000/month. If that was not enough, we were still faced with all of the equipment costs, supplies, behind with the I.R.S. payroll taxes, payroll itself, unemployment taxes, workman's comp. taxes.....we were in debt to our lenders, suppliers and many more! We had to pull from our own personal bank accounts, in order to at least make payroll, then went our savings accounts for all the back payments we owed. We were able to re-finance, but were forced with the decision to take an A.R.M. (Adjustable Rate Mortgage.) It was the only way we could have cash back to give to the I.R.S.
Needless to say, we could no longer rob Peter to pay Paul. Every time someone knocked on our door or rang the doorbell, my heart would jump to my throat wondering which "Repo" guy was going to be on the other side, and what he was wanting this time. My Husband, kids and I stood by, as we watched EVERYTHING we worked so hard to accomplish, be carted off and disappear.
Until a person has lost everything, they DO NOT know, nor could they EVER understand the rock bottom feeling of financial disaster, despair, anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment, (only to name a few) all bundled up within the mixture of panic, anxiety, remorse, and then finally frosted with a thick layer of TERROR on top. Our hearts were B-R-O-K-E-N.
We had no other choice, but to file bankruptcy. It was advised by our Attorney, that we file a Chapter 13 and reorganize (duh) He also told us NOT to make a mortgage payment during the bankruptcy process, because, as he put it, "Those back payments will be included in the reorganization." He felt it would buy us time to try to get caught up with other debts. Our Chapter 13 took over 1 YEAR! It was at that exact point of reality, that I fully surrendered to God. I knew that HE was the ONLY hope who could get my Family and I out of this ordeal alive, protected, and for the better.
I started looking at all the chaos and problems as an OPPORTUNITY to get us to the next level in our lives. Yes! I just wrote the word OPPORTUNITY! Finally, the old saying "Make lemonade out of the lemons your handed in life & add a lot of sugar!" totally made sense! I was certain God had better plans for us. I was certain in my belief and faith, that sometimes God must make us uncomfortable, miserable, and unhappy in order to get us to MOVE! To CHANGE! To IMPEL us to the next level (Higher) in our lives! Hence: "The only way from rock bottom is UP!"
I surrendered loosing our beautiful home and started imagining all of the possible places we could move to. We had experienced cold weather for so many years, we decided to head to the Southwest where we had vacationed and enjoyed, and just start over. We knew the day and date was fast approaching that our beautiful $325,000 home would be put on the auction block, but we felt helpless and hopeless to do anything further about it.
Then the doorbell rang. I opened the peep hole of my front door, and blurted out my usual "Can I help you?" That's when a voice piped in and said "Molly? Remember me? I'm an old friend of your husband. I said no, and as I was starting to close the door. he said "I saw you and your husband's name on the Foreclosure Auction Docket.......I think I can help you guys! Can I come in and explain?" My heart sank again.
I let him in and he began to explain that were other options I was never aware of. Options that were NOT ever discussed or presented. The SAME options you will find in my website here! He told me that even if our Home sells on the Auction Block, our State Law states we still have the right to sell it ourselves for 90 days! The most important thing he told me before he left, was DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE!
Several days passed and suddenly one morning, the doorbell rang and it was my husband's friend again, he started shouting "MOLLY! THEY DIDN'T SELL THE HOUSE!! THE BANK HAD TO TAKE IT FOR THE OPENING BID!! IT DIDN'T SELL!!!" He went on to explain how this type of situation only occurs maybe once or twice per year, and how it RARELY happens with a home like ours in the neighborhood we were in. He said we had to move fast if we want to sell our house in the 90-day time limit, in order to make the profit needed for us to move DEBT FREE!!!!
My poor Husband. I called him like a screaming banshee! He must have thought someone was seriously wounded or maimed! I started to yell and scream with complete excitement about what I had just heard! How the Bank only owns our home for a piddly $149,000.00 and how we have only 90 days to sell it for much more! And how that would get us out of all of our debt!!!! We had all of that profit to work with and pay off everything!
While we were in shock, we were in full blown, forward motion! Our realtor friend came over, started to snap as many pictures as possible, tape our virtual tour, stick a FOR SALE sign in our yard, and give quick coaching advice for the showings. I hadn't felt so much energy, motivation, inspiration and excitement for years! Once our home hit the listings for $269,900.00 after it had appraised 2 years prior for $325,000.00 (before our basement was beautifully finished), it was like a ticker tape parade! We knew we could quickly sell our home for $269,900.00 even with a horrible market.
Our house was being shown between 1-3 times DAILY! It was AMAZING! Finally at about day 50-ish, we got our buyers! Good bye I.R.S. Certified letters and Liens, Good bye Bank Loans, Certified letters and Liens, Good bye State taxes, Certified letters and Liens! VIVA DEBT FREEDOM!
Now we live in the "Sanctuary" we were praying for only a few months prior. We have even a grander home than before, within a gated community, a swimming pool, and more fun and entertainment than we all know what to do with. I found our current home completely online. Not by luck, but by total blessing! We are leasing with an option to buy until our credit is in better shape. It's more than we had hoped and prayed for. I come to you with GOOD NEWS!
In summary for those of you reading this, I imagine you are right now in the pea soup wondering what, if anything, could be done about your misfortune!!! I am here to let you know that there are possibilities for "a way out" of your dilemma. I've been there, done that, and thus my reason for deciding to offer my help, to pay it forward, wherever possible to those asking questions about it all.