The Time I Walked Away From a Mortgage

It was 1991.  Mr. A and I had been married four years, but things weren’t going well.  In fact, things were really awful.   We bought our first home not too long after we were married, and within six months our first child was born.  A month later, Mr. A was laid off from his job.  I was still on maternity leave, I’d been able to take nine blessed and fulfilling weeks off to be home with my newborn child.

We found a babysitter and I went back to work. Mr. A began looking for work.  But one day when he went to pick up our baby early, he discovered that the babysitter had our son lying on his back, with a pacifier in his mouth. Our son was staring at the ceiling fan.  That didn’t sit well with either of us, and we made a decision at that time that Mr. A would stay at home and care for our son for a while.  About four weeks later our pediatrician suggested to us that our son had Down Syndrome, and wanted to do testing.  He said he’d noticed some characteristics, but didn’t want to alarm us.  The results came back positive. We were devastated and it felt like the entire world went black for three days.  Indeed, through counseling I was told it was as if our baby had in fact died, the baby we’d fallen in love with would be “more normal than not” but would never achieve the dreams we may have had in store for him.

I have always been grateful for that doctor waiting on the diagnosis, for you see, from a young age I had always been secretly scared of people with Down Syndrome.  I had the opportunity to fall in love with my child, without that barrier coming between us.  And of course, I learned there was nothing to fear.  My fears had been instilled in me from my childhood religion, and I learned those fears were completely unfounded.

But on with my story.  By the time our son was nine months old, I managed to find employment working from home as a data entry operator.  We were able to make it financially with both of us home, and that worked out well.   A couple of years later, the company I was working for started to find that they needed to lay off some of their people.  Serendipitously, Mr. A had started to work again, and we decided that I would take the lay off package being offered by my employer, and Mr. A would become the sole breadwinner.   I quit my job and then as our luck, or should I say, as our bad luck would have it, within three months Mr. A’s job began to lay off people, and he was one of the most recent hired, so he was one chosen to be laid off.

Unfortunately, Mr. A and I had also been having some problems in our marriage, and when he was unable to find employment, and I could not fathom the thought of now having to leave my children and find a job myself, I made the painful decision to walk away from our home and our marriage.  Lest you think I gave up on our marriage that easily, please understand that I’m not willing to air all our dirty laundry with every nitty gritty detail.  The good news is we reunited in 2007 which I detailed in a post called Wedding Under $3000.

Anyway… that’s how I became a welfare mom, and got into debt the first time.

It was so hard to leave our home and move into a smaller apartment, but the mortgage was just over $500/month and the apartment rent was half that. Later I was to find a duplex to rent which was only $195 per month.

I didn’t like walking away from our mortgage, but I didn’t feel I had much of a choice. In our divorce, Mr. A and I agreed that he would take over the mortgage payments, but he was not able to find employment in enough time to recover, and our home went into foreclosure.

I spent the next decade renting, and hating most every minute of it. I especially hated the lack of privacy that comes with renting.  When I started working again, I started looking for a home to buy within a year and we moved to where we live now.   I had managed to build up my credit so I didn’t need to use these useful tips for qualifying for a mortgage after a foreclosure. My credit scores were the highest they had been years and were indeed much higher than they are now since my credit to debt ratio is too high.

I have heard a few horror stories with people who are terribly upside down on their mortgages, one recent story Mr. A heard from one of his customers whose home is now assessed at $66,000 but he owes nearly three times as much.  In a case like this, I would understand if a person wanted to walk away. I don’t like the idea, but I could sure see how one could become discouraged.

Have you ever walked away from a mortgage?

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10 thoughts on “The Time I Walked Away From a Mortgage

  1. I am debating the action of foreclosure as I write this. I am so frustrated right now because we refinanced 3 years ago to do some remodeling/upgrades to the house (which never got done anyhow) and just 1 month after we did that, I lost my job. We have struggled in an ongoing nightmare of meeting the mortgage payment ever since, having been served foreclose papers once, but we were able to save it that time. Now we are facing it again, because I cannot find a reliable job to count on. This time however, we have discovered most recently that although we refinanced for 20 years, they put 15 years in the contract and we never knew it until now, but it makes sense because that’s why our payments so high. Had it been the 20 years we requested we would not be having this problem. I mean, honestly who reads the entire contract at signing? We trusted them. I called their attention to it and their comment was “You should have read what you signed!” We also were supposed to have an interest rate of 7.5%, and now they tell me it is 9.88% because of the modifications and late fees!! How can they do that with a FIXED RATE?? I feel very much that they are ripping us off (BYW it is HSBC-Beneficial mortgage company – NEVER GO TO THEM!!) I am now in the process of finding a lawyer who will read over our contract and see if there is anything else in it that would make it illegal or void. This has also been happening across the country – ILLEGAL DOCUMENTS being prepared in a rush and proving to be illegal! Our loan pay back balance is NOW more than the original loan. Like I said it’s a nightmare and I can’t get to first base with help. We also qualified for the Obama Affordable Home plan…but our mortgage company said they “do not honor it!” I feel like they are holding us hostage!! Like I said it is a never-ending nightmare, and no matter what I try to do they have an answer & tell me prove otherwise!! I built this home and have lived in it for 34 years now. I have to live somewhere. Yet, they will kick me out and sell it cheap to unload it…what is right about this???? I am completely fed up with it all, but I don’t want to walk away yet. Does anyone out there know of a group, a person, something where I can reach out for help???


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Sharon, I’m so sorry to hear of your dilemma. I hope the lawyer you are contacting can be of some help. 🙁


  2. I have never walked away from a mortgage or a marriage (been in each 4 and 3 years respectively). I am glad it has seem to work out for you, but I am confused about something.

    What does “But one day when he went to pick up our baby early, he discovered that the babysitter had our son lying on his back, with a pacifier in his mouth. Our son was staring at the ceiling fan. That didn’t sit well with either of us, and we made a decision at that time that Mr. A would stay at home and care for our son for a while” have to do with Down Syndrome? or why was it a bad thing?


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Evan, hi, thanks for your question. I would consider leaving a “normal” baby lying on his or her back with no stimulation other than a ceiling fan to be “bad”. But to put a child with Down Syndrome in this type of situation, you are asking for child with a higher degree of retardation than may be necessary. People with Down Syndrome typically have low muscle tone so they need to use those muscles to strengthen them. They also need a lot of stimulation and activity, not just laying on their back with a pacifier for eight or ten hours a day. You see, my son would have done that from the day he was born. I had to wake him up to nurse him. He was very floppy and lethargic. We started him in early intervention therapy as soon as we got the diagnosis, but thankfully we had been interacting with him and had been doing things that were helpful to his development. For example, we did not use swings or carseats to prop our son, we held him, used a sling or had him on the floor on a blanket on his belly so he could learn to lift his head, strengthen his neck and move his body and learn to crawl. All important developmental phases, which my son may have missed had we left him on his back 8-10 hours a day sucking on a pacifier, or even swinging in a swing most of the day or strapped in a sitting position in a car seat carrier. Many babies and children are cared for in this way, and it may well have an influence on their development both mental and physical. Does that help?


    Evan Reply:

    @Mrs. Accountability,

    A 1000% yes, that makes a lot more sense. I read the paragraph as a causation thing which obviously doesn’t make sense lol.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    @Evan, 🙂 I’m sorry to have worded that in a confusing way, and thank you for asking me to clarify! 🙂

  3. Thankfully we have never been in the position to need to walk away from our mortgage. My sister claimed bankruptcy when she was 21. And another one of my sisters has gotten herself so far in debt she will probably be following suit soon.
    I feel bad for them, but they both put themselves there by not being financially responsible. Buying way more than they could afford and one sister had a gambling addiction which helped her dig her hole.

    I feel bad for people who have lost their jobs and are going through situations like this!


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