Happiness – The Secret According to a 75-Year Long Study

Everybody wants happiness in their life, right? Most folks start off with the notion that money is the key to happiness. If you work hard enough and achieve "success", you will be happy. But is that really the secret to happiness? Since 1937, a dedicated group of Harvard researchers has conducted an exhaustive study of 724 men. The Harvard Study of Adult Development is one of the few studies of its kind that has endured more than one generation.  The men included 268 sophomores at Harvard College and 456 teen-aged boys from some of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston. The study followed the group as they  journeyed through life in many … [Read more...]

Rent or Buy Your Home…Which is Better?

Rent or buy? Gosh, isn't that the $64 Million Dollar question? And as many things go in real estate, the answer depends on your circumstances. Let's start with the current state of rentals here in Phoenix. In the ARMLS rental database the overall average lease rate for active listings is $1,820 per month and the average sq. ft. is 1,932. For apartments, the average rent is $1,568 with an average sq. ft. of 1,102 giving us an average rent of $1.42 per sq. ft. A year ago the rate was $1.22 per sq. ft., so the rise in asking price is 16.6% in just 12 months. The number of active apartment rental listings has declined 10% from 643 to … [Read more...]

My Own Backyard!

This morning, I picked some grapefruit. From my own tree. In my own backyard. It was awesome. Not exaggerating. It's taken me four years to get to pick grapefruit from my own tree in my own backyard. Four years ago, well, let's just say I had a really, really bad day. A really bad day that was about four years in the making. That was the low point. That day when some dude knocked on my door and told me I no longer owned it. That I had 5 days to get out. I bought the house after my marriage ended. Our new beginning, nestled in a familiar neighborhood so we could move forward. That house was the anchor for my family. Instead of a new … [Read more...]

What’s Next After Foreclosure? An Eviction, Perhaps!

Since When Did I Become a Cockroach In My Own Home Two weeks ago, my home was sold at the Trustee Sale to an investor. I found out when his realtor, Randy Duncan, showed up at my door with a 5-day notice to vacate - the standard eviction form used in Arizona. Before the 5-days expired, we agreed to a 2-week period for me to move out - me and my 4 kids. Since then, I have been in communication with the realtor, letting him know that things are moving along. He took down the For Sale sign that appeared less than 48 hours after the sale. He sent over a pool repair to fix my filter - I even allowed him to refill the pool on my nickel. We … [Read more...]

The Week After You Lose Your House at the Trustee Sale

What a Difference A Week Can Make! Looking Forward to a Fresh Start A week has passed since my house was sold at the Trustee Sale and oh, what a difference a week can make! My kids and I spent a few days in mourning, but the decided to move on and start our new life. We went house shopping and found a great house that is a lot bigger - a lot cheaper - than that house we lost. Yes it was tough, but we are going to make the best of it and start fresh. We are SO grateful for all our friends and family members who have helped us out. I will return the favor when the time comes...that's for sure. … [Read more...]

What Happens RIGHT AFTER Your House Sells at the Trustee Sale

For some it's a monetary windfall, for others it's complete devastation... It's been two days since my house sold that the Trustee Sale and a lot has happened. Although the shock hasn't quite worn off, we are looking ahead to better days.  The Buyer has not wasted anytime managing his new asset. Although I can appreciate the efficient way he and his team have handled this "acquisition", the fact is, until we move out, it is still my family's home. I don't know the best way to handle this awkward situation, but I am pretty sure things could have been handled better in this case.  Within two days of the Trustee Sale, there was a For Sale sign … [Read more...]

Trustee Sale…The Day My House Got Sold

The Other Side of Trustee Sales - When YOUR House Gets Sold My house was sold at Trustee Sale today.  I got to experience the same thing as millions of others already have.  The statistics are staggering... over 500 homeowners in Maricopa County had the same day I had... I have spent over a year trying to figure out a way to keep my home...my story is the same boring story that is told over and over again.  Less money coming in the door...harder to make the payments...can't sell because you are way upside down...promised a loan modification by the lender but then denied at the 11th hour...on and on as possible solutions continued to slip … [Read more...]

Loan Modifications: Is It Time for Another Shot at One?

With the changing climate of short sales, are banks more open to loan modifications? Perhaps...here are some tips if you are out of options and are thinking about taking another shot at a loan modification. Here's a great online tool to help you decide:  http://www.counselordirect.com It should go without saying that you should NEVER pay for a loan modification! If you are working with an attorney, sure, you will pay for that legal advice, but do not be a victim of a loan modification scam.  They are still out there... … [Read more...]

Success Measured By The Frets of a Guitar

Success can be a hard thing to measure in times like these unless you can look beyond the bean counter definition and look at metrics of success that really mean something. Here is what I learned about success from my brother... (sorry about the wind!) P.S. have you checked your blood pressure lately? … [Read more...]

HOAs: Are Weeds Really the Biggest Challenge in America?

As part of my Top Ramen Chronicle series exploring the journey of scores of American families who are losing their homes, I had to address the growing disaster facing HOA's across America...out of control weeds. Seriously. Knowing how the process works as homes go into short sale or foreclosure, I am really sickened to think that HOAs are trying to rack up fines as a means of income generation. Are they hoping for a big jackpot when the payouts are handed around? Is that the best way to build a community? I really don't think so...and what American families need now more than ever are true communities that watch out for your back rather … [Read more...]