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#1 of 55 Old 06-10-2012, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Goodness I'm a nervous wreck even typing this message.  Things are BAD.  My husband is disabled and gets disability but is looking for a job now.  I'm not sure how this will go; he hasn't worked in 10 years and I don't think he will be able to do it :(

 

I have a part time job in which I make little money. I am looking for more work, hoping to get something at night which is going to be the death of me, but oh well. (I have 4 kids, 2 little ones not in school yet).  

 

My debts are outrageous and I haven't paid taxes on my house in over 2 years.  I'm FREAKING OUT.

 

I'm already getting food stamps, wic, and heap, thank God!  I'm as frugal as I can be, but I thought I would come on here for more ideas as I haven't been here in ages, I've been so busy!  (I miss MDC!)

 

I have been pondering the following idea, but I really need outside advice, so here it comes, finally....

 

I own my house - no mortgage.  I am thinking about selling it.  I don't think I would get more than 120K from it, but it would be mine.  I am worried though, about finding a place to live.  I will not, neither will my husband, qualify for a mortgage.  I would have to rent.

 

My debts total nearly $50K.  If I paid them all off, I would have $70 left.  What would be the best thing to do with that?  I would need some of it to live while I'm in this employment limbo, but I want to put some aside for a future down payment while I get my credit back in order and can get a mortgage.

 

So that's the idea, although I have another slightly crazy one - selling the house to a family member, living in the house, repairing my credit, and keeping a huge sum of money in a savings/money market account to pay the mortgage for my family member with the interest.  So far no one is willing to do it.

 

Please give me your best advice!


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#2 of 55 Old 06-10-2012, 04:17 PM
 
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Selling the house and paying off debt doesn't sound like a good plan to me.  You need to find out what the ramifications of not paying your property taxes are first.  In the meantime you have a free place to live and eviction and/or tax sales are probably a last result for a town.  Bankruptcy might clear your debt anyway.  I believe that you can usually keep a house under a certain value even in bankruptcy.  And you didn't mention getting any social services - have you applied for anything and everything you might be able to get?  Sometimes with a disability, allowable income levels are higher.  With no debt payments and maybe some food stamps or WIC or energy assistance, you might quickly find yourself in a much, much better place.  You really need to find out what will happen with the property taxes first.  Losing a house of that value would be horrible, of course.  Is it possible to take a small mortgage on the house to pay the taxes? 

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#3 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 03:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply - this is not just to pay off debt.  Things are BAD.  We are flat broke 3 weeks out of the month and can't afford necessities a lot of the time.  I have to borrow money from my mother, often even to pay bills.  I can't stand it anymore.  I'm trying so hard with 4 kids and do 90% of the work all by myself.  I have to go to my mother for new clothes for my kids.  I haven't bought new clothes for myself in 3 years....uugghh on and on.  I don't want a pity party, really.  I just need to know what to do.


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#4 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 05:21 AM
 
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Find out if your town has any work off programs for the property taxes. The city I work for has a program that allows low income residents to work off half of their property taxes each year by volunteering for the city in various capacities. I would also contact the housing authority in your area. Assisting you to pay your taxes would be much cheaper for them than finding and assisting with housing for 6 people.
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#5 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 07:57 AM
 
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Taking on rent with an already stretched budget is not going to help your situation.

 

Personally, what I would do -

 

Stop using debt/credit cards. Stop paying the credit cards. Yes not paying them will kill your credit and cause your phone to ring constantly. However, it sounds like you need to eventually declare bankruptcy anyway. But before you can declare bk you need to make sure it will help you. So you need to live without using credit for a while. They cannot throw you in jail for failure to pay your debts. It will likely take them 12-18 months to even move to getting a judgment to be able to attempt to levy your bank account or garnish your salary. Because you make so little money all of your income as well as your husbands disability are exempt anyway. If your situation improves later you can straighten out the cards then.

 

Figure out the tax situation. Either take out a small loan to pay the taxes or find out what options your city has. But get them paid. It's not in your best interest to loose a house with value that you own free and clear.

 

Look around for other opportunities for help. Contact your utilities programs for low income assistance options, ask around for food options. My town has several locations to get food boxes. Our local Lutheran Social Services, or Catholic Social Services directs people to some of these opportunities. Make an appointment and ask them to direct you to resources you may not already be using.

 

You then have housing, food and utilities figured out and you can work on what you need to do to increase your income. 

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#6 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 08:05 AM
 
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I would worry that the money from the house would run out faster than you think, and you will be back at square one, but without the house to live in.  Are there any programs in your area to help your dh upgrade his skills for employment?


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#7 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 11:33 AM
 
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Taking on rent with an already stretched budget is not going to help your situation.

 

Personally, what I would do -

 

Stop using debt/credit cards. Stop paying the credit cards. Yes not paying them will kill your credit and cause your phone to ring constantly. However, it sounds like you need to eventually declare bankruptcy anyway. But before you can declare bk you need to make sure it will help you. So you need to live without using credit for a while. They cannot throw you in jail for failure to pay your debts. It will likely take them 12-18 months to even move to getting a judgment to be able to attempt to levy your bank account or garnish your salary. Because you make so little money all of your income as well as your husbands disability are exempt anyway. If your situation improves later you can straighten out the cards then.

 

Figure out the tax situation. Either take out a small loan to pay the taxes or find out what options your city has. But get them paid. It's not in your best interest to loose a house with value that you own free and clear.

 

Look around for other opportunities for help. Contact your utilities programs for low income assistance options, ask around for food options. My town has several locations to get food boxes. Our local Lutheran Social Services, or Catholic Social Services directs people to some of these opportunities. Make an appointment and ask them to direct you to resources you may not already be using.

 

You then have housing, food and utilities figured out and you can work on what you need to do to increase your income. 

This is very reasonable advice.  Since you already own a house free and clear, you really don't need to worry too much about a credit rating.  Let the crredit card payments go if you are still paying on them.  Worry about it later.  Bankruptcy will likely get rid of them anyway.   Check into any and all services.  Ask around of everyone: social services, churches, food pantries.  Sometimes services are rather hidden, like in my community where there is a small non-profit that makes free loans of medical equipment to people.   There are also things to help pay utility bills.  Also, cut all expenses to the bone.  I was recently in a situation where I needed to keep every penny and I used to go to the library to read instead of turning on a light in my house to save the electric bill.  I still am very mindful about keeping my electric under $45 a month (and it could probably go lower, too).  In the past people have posted their budgets on here and I think they mostly got some fantastic advice.  You might want to consider doing it. 

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#8 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 12:23 PM
 
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If your husband is getting Social Security disability, then probably your children are also eligible for SS benefits, up to a family limit. 

 

I wouldn't advise selling the house unless it is going to allow you to move somewhere with a much lower cost of living, or with much better prospects for employment.  Get caught up on the property taxes somehow, first of all. 

 

Then I would recommend sitting down and working out your cash flow problem:  how much money and assistance coming in, versus how much your family needs (leaving debts aside).  How much short are you each month? 

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#9 of 55 Old 06-11-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.  Sadly I am doing everything you've all mentioned except for bankruptcy and calling the tax collectors.  So, today I did call them and waiting for calls back.  I haven't paid my credit cards in ages.  Even with all of this - food pantry, etc, things are still terrible.  I have a big house and we do use a lot of electricity.  6 people, 5 bedrooms, tv on a lot, etc.  I am a stickler about keeping lights off and not using it when we don't need to use them - I suppose I will limit tv time now too.

 

I am hoping for another job.  There's not much out there, it's terrible. I've applied to at least 10 now.


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#10 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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Just curious.  What is the dollar amount that your back taxes are?

 

I ask because I think my advice for you would be different if you were behind by $300, $3,000, or $30,000.  I also know that there are hugh regional differences in property tax rates.

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#11 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 07:27 AM
 
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It looks like she is in upstate NY and I know my county - central ny - is one of the highest taxed areas in the US. My 85,000 dollar house is taxed @ approx 3800 / yr (that is with a STAR reduction (some kind of program), school taxes and property taxes)


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#12 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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It looks like she is in upstate NY and I know my county - central ny - is one of the highest taxed areas in the US. My 85,000 dollar house is taxed @ approx 3800 / yr (that is with a STAR reduction (some kind of program), school taxes and property taxes)

That's what I was afraid of greensad.gif.  If her rate is similar to yours two years of nonpayment plus penalties/interest is at least 10K  and more likely closer to 15K. 

 

I think you would be better off selling your house.  Based on what you have shared you can not afford the taxes or having five bedrooms to heat in a cold climate.  Having a paid for house is a wonderful thing  but that still doesn't mean you can afford the monthly cash flow and upkeep on it. 

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#13 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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About $10,000 so far, and that's nearly 3 years worth...


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#14 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh boy, I really appreciate all of your brains working on this form me.  This is so hard.  It will be so sad but I want to do the RIGHT thing.  I cannot make a mistake with this one!


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#15 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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You really need to crunch some numbers to see if a rental will be cheaper

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#16 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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Can you rent out a room or two in your house? It will mean kids will have to share, but they will if you get an apartment, too. I have a friend who has done this, and it seems to be working well.

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#17 of 55 Old 06-12-2012, 12:06 PM
 
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This may be way outside of your comfort zone or even beyond financial possibility, but is there any way you could rent out part of your house?  Not evena room neccesarily, but maybe 3 rooms with its own bathroom that could be turned into a small apartment with a separate entrance?  Even if there is just a locked door between the two units?  I looked at buying a house that was set up like that, two rooms and a small bathroom became a 1 bedroom apartment if needed, or the door could be opened between the units to use the full house later on.  The entrance was just the normal back door to the house.    The owner had put in a couple of kitchen cabinets and a small sink, stove and frig in one part of the living room.  They were easily removed when they were no longer needed or wanted.  She basically only rented to single adults that were referrals from people she knew.  If I had bought the house, I could have had almost 2/3 of my mortgage taken care of with that rental.
 

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#18 of 55 Old 06-13-2012, 07:04 PM
 
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Can you sell your house and pay cash for a smaller one, using the difference to pay down debt and back taxes? I would worry about renting and going through the $ too quickly too.

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#19 of 55 Old 06-14-2012, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, sorry I've been out for the count the past couple of days in the freaking hospital of all places with diverticulitis.  Antibiotic and pain killers - quick fix thank God!

 

Well, I have considered renting out rooms in my house.  I love the idea of separating the house but in mine it's just not possible.  If only there were a bathroom on the other side, then it would totally work.  I do worry about who to have in the house and having 4 kids, I don't think I could trust anyone!

 

Yesterday the county called me back and said I can have a 24 month payment plan for the back taxes.  The bad news is I have to put a down payment of $944 down.  I can't even afford to buy myself a new toothbrush!  I told her that I would not be able to come up with that and she said that was the best option  they could offer me :'(

 

I think there is a small possibility of buying a smaller house.  I did a search in our school district and there was one which could be possible.  I'm going to keep looking.

 

So....what do you all think at this point after all of the discussions?  I think I will add a poll.

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH


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#20 of 55 Old 06-14-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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Can you give us some numbers?
Current income, estimate profit after selling current home, cost of smaller home, living expenses, etc

I'm concerned that after selling your current home and paying the back taxes plus the fees associated with selling a home that you will find yourself back in your current situation of owning a home with no money for daily living, if you buy another home albeit smaller.

I think selling your current home and then renting something you can truly afford is probably best.

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#21 of 55 Old 06-14-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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You could also consider renting out the whole house and renting a much smaller house.  If you could get a rental income that would cover your rent and your back and future taxes and give you a bit extra, you would be in much better shape.  And if you do sell, keep in mind that property taxes can vary widely for similar houses.  I have been looking at housing prices in the area I am interested in for quite some time.  For the small houses I am looking at, the listed property taxes have varied by as much as $3000 a year.  It seems to depend on lake or other water access, upgrades to the house, outbuildings,  and more.  It really opened my eyes what to look for for a cheaper monthly payment. 
 

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#22 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 05:49 AM
 
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You could also consider renting out the whole house and renting a much smaller house.  If you could get a rental income that would cover your rent and your back and future taxes and give you a bit extra, you would be in much better shape.  And if you do sell, keep in mind that property taxes can vary widely for similar houses.  I have been looking at housing prices in the area I am interested in for quite some time.  For the small houses I am looking at, the listed property taxes have varied by as much as $3000 a year.  It seems to depend on lake or other water access, upgrades to the house, outbuildings,  and more.  It really opened my eyes what to look for for a cheaper monthly payment. 
 

We did something similar more for ease of commute and having a decent family life and less about financial duress.  It worked well for us, but I would be concerned that the OP would not have money for repairs or to handle a month or two of an empty house. 

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#23 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Unfortunately the house is not rentable.  We need so many repairs done and don't have the money. I hate it- it's so embarrassing.  In the past 3 years the state of the house has declined so  much.

 

Our income right now is $1200 a month.  It doesn't even cover all of our bills - car ins is $100, phone/internet/cable is $140, electric every 3 months is about $600, food outside of food stamps is about $200, gas at this time of year about $200/ month and going down...

 

Sorry gtg 4 now...thanks everyone!


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#24 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 07:27 AM
 
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AT first I thought no, keep the house. But maybe selling it is the way to go. Having debt and no foreseeable way of paying it off is very stressful. I do worry about you finding another place though, that would cost less.  Maybe if you can work with what you already have and reorganize your furniture and rooms, find some free stuff of craigslist or free cycle you can revamp it and see the house in a better light. Can one sell a house when they owe taxes on it? or is this a lien against the house?

 

200 / mth for electric is high. do you use a/c? or other high powered things? is it electric heat or gas (which should be moot in the summer months). as an example, my electric/gas bill is approx 100 / mth in the spring / summer (in ny state). or perhaps your bill is equal billing throughout the year?

 

I know internet is important to keep in touch, find jobs, sometimes even a lifeline, etc, but can you drop the cable and borrow movies from the library instead? phone / cable for approx 75 dollars or less if you can find a deal. or even lesser if you can set up vonage through internet.

 

good news about the gas @ around 3.80!

 

can you do lawn work / gardening for extra cash?


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#25 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 07:32 AM
 
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I agree with a previous poster who suggested selling the house and buying something smaller with lower utilities.

 

If you could sell your house for 120k, pay of the credit cards and buy a smaller house for 70k that would lower your taxes. It would also hopefully lower your utilities as you are heating and cooling a smaller house. Your utilities seem really high, probably due to a big, poorly insulated house, with an older heating and cooling system. If you could get something even cheaper than 70k and put some money into insulation and a high efficiency heating/cooling system you might be even better off monthly. But I don't know what housing prices look like where you live so don't know how feasible that is.

 

Then let's see -

 

200 food

200 electricity/gas

100 car insurance (wonder if you could lower this?)

140 phone/Internet/cable

200 auto gas/auto maintains

100 set aside for property taxes

car payment?

__________

 

that gets your living expenses down to about 1000 a month.


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#26 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 03:06 PM
 
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What about the land your house is on? Is there a way to divide it and lease it out for some purpose? Or use it yourself to grow the $200 worth of food that food stamps don't cover?
 

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#27 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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At the time of the sale of the house the taxes would be taken from any profit.
I'm concerned that there really won't be much left from the sale of the house if it is in bad condition with limited funds to do a basic spruce up.

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#28 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've thought about what I can do with the land - I've spoken to a few lumber companies but they are not interested in the kinds of trees I have.  I don't think that the portion of land that I would be able to sell would be bought by anyone - the house is in the front of the property with about 4 acres of woods behind it.

 

Growing food is a great idea - my husband planted fruit trees and we've got a couple of more years for them to bear good fruit.  I have no green thumb whatsoever but I would love to have a vegetable garden.  Can you start them this time of year?  

 

I'm really considering giving up the cable, but my mom says that I will have no sanity left whatsoever lol.

 

There are some more bills I've got to list, I'm going to put up more of my budget when I get a chance!


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#29 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 06:49 PM
 
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You have cable??? Get rid of it. For about $80/year, you can get streaming through Amazon Prime (plus free 2-day shipping on some stuff if you order from there, and it may be a good way to save of food/drugstore/kid items esp if you don't have to pay for shipping....). We did that and I'm so happy without cable. And our bill was $90/month (and we didn't even have the good channels, like HBO). That's close to half your food bill! And if you have cell phones, seriously consider dumping them or your land line. If you need both, use cells only for emergencies and get a pay-as-you-go plan. Virgin Mobile is cheap (like $10 or $15/month) and our phones cost us $10 each.

 

Yes, you can start a garden pretty much any time of year. Up there, it's a short growing season, but even if you prep beds now, you could probably plant some fall veggies or at least get everything set up and planned so you can start seeds in the late winter and get them in the ground next spring. Contact your local university extension office for gardening tips on how-to and what's easy to grow there. (I'm in a warmer climate, so I can't help much, but you should be able to start stuff like broccoli and cauliflower now or soon and harvest in the fall.) If you're near wine country, see if you can score some half-barrels from a winery and start container gardening while you get beds planned and prepped.

 

As for your trees, even if a lumber company doesn't want them, what type are they? Would they be good for firewood? You could fell some now, get them dried out and split, and sell firewood this fall/winter. And replant what you harvest, so you can "reforest" your property and make a nice seasonal side business for "extra" cash. (It'll be extra someday!) You could also plant Christmas trees to sell to neighbors (you've got cute kids, right? Use them as sales people!)

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#30 of 55 Old 06-15-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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Green beans are really hardy and easy to grow. I just put some seeds into the ground (composted soil) a week ago and they are already growing - an inch or so. Tomatoes are also easy - if you can purchase a couple of plants and transfer them. Sugar peas, snow peas may be easy and you can blanch these and use in the winter.
 


Sara - Mum to C (10/02) ; m/c 10/07; 7/08; 3/09; Lucy Olive Feb 28, 2010 !
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