Archive for October 2010

Tenants in Foreclosure- Oct 29 update

Tenants in Foreclosure- update
It’s that time of month again where I pay my bills that are due on the 1st and of them the rent is always at the top of the list. Still, when you rent a home that is in foreclosure you cannot just automatically pay it like you normally would. For the last six months I have had to deal with the uneasiness of wondering when I’m going to be asked to move out of my home because of the landlords allowing it to go into foreclosure.

As I’m getting ready to get an update on the foreclosure someone drives up to my home and stares at it out their window, writes down some notes on a clipboard and snaps a photo. I’m quite sure they were hired by the bank to see if the home was still occupied and in good repair. Still, this is a very unsettling feeling to know that someone is watching you.

So today I made my (what now has become monthly) call to the trustee to find out who is entitled to my rent payment. When I called last month they said the foreclosure was on hold and the sale date was postponed to Nov 3rd. Today…no change. So I will wait to pay the rent and call back next week after the 3rd.

November 3rd is the third date that has been listed for the home to be sold at auction. Still, I have only ever received two pieces of mail from the bank or trustee and those were both last Spring notifying me that the home was to be sold at the end of August.

The new legislations requires that a tenant is notified when I home is in foreclosure, but why isn’t it required for them to update me on the status. It would seem that if the sale date was changed the tenant who lives in the home would again need to be notified.

Why doesn’t the bank provide resources for the tenant? Why is it now my responsibility to find out if the landlord actually has a right to my rent payment?

I’ve come to dislike and feel uncomfortable in my home. Still, finding a new place to call home is proving to be just as frustrating. I’ll write about that soon.

Managing finances jointly

Managing finances jointly
Shortly after my husband and I moved in together we decided that we’d need to figure out a way for us to manage our joint bills. The struggle for us was that we had both always managed our own finances and also were the main ones who handled them in previous relationships. We are both self-proclaimed money experts and dare I say…control freaks. So with money being in the top three areas of conflict between spouses it really was something we were concerned about. So how did we make this work? Here’s how we’ve handled it:

• Maintained individual accounts
We both like maintaining our financial autonomy so we both maintained individual checking and savings accounts. We both have our paychecks deposited into our individual accounts and manage our personal budgets independently. It’s funny because we still find ourselves fighting over the bill at dinner sometimes because our money is still very much our own for these types of expenses. So if I decide to splurge and buy a purse that is way to expense, he can’t say anything because it came out of my personal funds.

We each have an investment property that we rent out so we utilize our personal savings accounts to manage the income and expenses of the rental properties.

• Opened a joint account
We felt the best way to manage the joint housing expenses and saving goals would be to open a joint checking and savings account. We added up all of the housing expenses and then divided up proportionally by the amount of income we bring in. Since we don’t make the same amount it wouldn’t be fair for us to divide the bills in half. We add all of our bills in here including his car and my student loans. We are together so we see these as joint expenses.

After decided on the process the big debate on who was going to manage the joint account? Remember, we are both self-proclaimed money experts and control freaks. Well, though my husband was quite good at managing his finances he was still in the dark ages because he balanced his account with a paper account register. Whereas, I utilized Microsoft money and had all of by transactions categorized and compared to my budget. So it was decided that I got to handle the joint accounts!

So far this process has worked great for us. We only utilize the joint account for joint expenses that we agree on. Neither one of us wants to short the joint account so usually there are many expenses that we would agree to take out of the joint funds but instead we work to pay for them out of our individual budgets. The result has been a very healthy joint account balance at all times, allowing for more money to go into the joint savings or to be spent on fun things like family vacations. Still, on the other end that does mean there are many times where our individual accounts are quite low. Luckily we get paid on different schedules so usually the other can help out when needed.

Tenants in Foreclosure- October update

Tenants in Foreclosure- Update
I decided it was bad form to keep you all hanging for another month on what is happening with the home I rent which is in foreclosure. Last I updated you all I let you know that the auction was on hold but had a sale date of October 4th (the 2nd sale date we’ve been given). I called on September 29th to see if the status had changed and it had not. I emailed the landlords to see if they had any updates, they said they did not and they were not even award of the October 4th auction date. I called again on October 1 because rent was due and it still said that it was scheduled to be auctioned at the county steps the following Monday October 4th. Well, it seemed silly to pay rent to the landlords if there was the possibility that the home would be sold in a couple of days and they would no longer own it. So I didn’t pay the rent since it technically was not considered late and accrued a late fee until October 6th.
On October 5th I got an email from the landlord reminding me that rent was due and would be late if I didn’t pay that day. I called the trustee’s automated system and found out that once again the sale date had been postponed, this time till the beginning of November. So again we wait….

Writing my annual report letter

Writing the annual report letter is always such a challenge. Each year I’m given one page to highlight our accomplishments for the year and talk about what’s to come. This year is even harder as I was told by my Development Director that I only get half a page this year. So here’s what I’ve got. Consider it a sneak preview of our annual report.

It’s hard to believe that we just finished our fifth year of bringing financial education to the Northwest. This is a huge milestone for us as it should be for any organization, especially in this economy. Half of new businesses do not survive more than five years, for nonprofits it’s been estimated that figure is even less with only one third hitting the monumental five year mark.

So as Financial Beginnings celebrates five years of service to our community I would like to thank all of you who helped to make this happen. Schools and community groups have welcomed us with open arms. Youth and parents who have utilized the valuable life lesson we provide. Businesses and individuals who have supported our cause by providing their time and resources. All of this support in a time when we have all been struggling.

Even though we have been doing this for five years I still feel like this is just the beginning. How can we maximize our resources and continue to serve the ever increasing demand? I think we’ve figured out the answer… partnerships. We have been working to enter into several strategic partnerships here in the Northwest which will allow us to serve more and provide more, for less.

Thank you all for your continued support. I look forward to discovering with you what the next five years will bring.

So what do you think? Am I on the right track?