In June of 2016, my family and I decided to sell our home. The house was the first of many things we were determined to leave behind in the United States to move to Mexico. We were clueless about the challenges ahead of us in selling the house when we left for our new lives south of the border.
On October 15, 2016, we arrived in Mexico. At this point, our south suburban Chicago home had been on the market for five months. We continued to pay our monthly mortgage payments while adjusting to the lifestyle in Mazatlàn, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Our lives began to prosper. The entrepreneurial projects started to sprout. Our three young children were enrolled in a local school and learning Spanish.
We had not arrived at our dreams, but we were driving in the right direction.
Despite the happiness we obtained from living life on our terms, the house in the U.S. remained a lingering concern. We continued to pay the $2,000 monthly mortgage payments, anticipating that we would receive an offer soon.
Paying, praying, hoping, wishing, and relying on an agent to sell the home went on for a full year.
After putting an additional $25,000 into a home we did not live in, we said, enough. My wife and I were making some consistent income from our business ventures, but it was insufficient to cover our expenses in both the U.S. and Mexico.
The home, located in a low-demand neighborhood, made finding a tenant and renting the house to pay the mortgage an unavailable option. We had no choice but to stop payments and pursue short sale offers.
We reduced our asking price by $150,000, and we found an interested buyer. It was a short sale offer, and while we were disturbed about receiving less than what we paid, we were grateful to get rid of the home. The process to approve the short sale went on for six months until we received a response from our lender.
The bank needed additional documentation. We complied with the multiple bank statement and notary requests. Our real estate agent updated the listing information. We did what the bank asked of us to approve the short sale.
Fast forward the process another six months, two years since we listed the house, the bank approved the short sale. My partner and I were ecstatic. We created a Facebook live video explaining how, after two years, we finally won the battle with our house.
I accepted a teaching position at a university in the Caribbean islands, and we began to make plans to move from Mexico. It was time to turn the page to the next chapter of our lives. After settling into our new home, I received an email from our real estate attorney.
There was a problem…
The buyer’s lender did not respond quickly enough to our bank’s requests for additional paperwork. Our bank rescinded the short sale approval.
My wife and I were distraught with this news.
We did not know what to do about the house. Should we move back to the U.S. and figure out a payment plan? What is God showing us through this challenge? We asked these questions and others throughout this process.
On November 5, 2018, one day after my birthday, we finally received some closure.
The bank decided to foreclose on the property. I take responsibility for refusing to wait until the home sold before leaving to live in Mexico. At the same time, I am happy that we decided not to wait.
I don’t know that I would be where I am now if I had chosen to stay in the U.S. until the house sold. Would my three children under 8 years of age be able to speak multiple languages? Would I have experienced the joy of reconnecting with my love for writing? Would my relationship with my wife have improved? The list goes on about the possibilities.
No, I give thanks that I experienced foreclosure. In spite of the headaches, anger, and damage to my credit, I am grateful for the lessons foreclosure provided my family and me.
The house ordeal taught us a lot about money and the financial world. Our family now adheres to a monthly budget. With each purchase, I take a more mindful approach to separating my needs from my desires. Foreclosure gave me opportunities to teach my children and others when they explore home purchasing options.
We lost the home to foreclosure, but we were not forgotten.
In alignment with a divine plan and purpose, my family and I live today on the island of Antigua. It’s a beautiful country, and I have consistent work that empowers me to improve the lives of others.
We rent a spacious apartment in walking distance to a storybook beach. The landlord of our unit did not require a credit check when we signed the lease. We told him I was hired as a professor at the local university and were immediately approved for the place. No additional questions were asked. Each month, we pay our rent in advance of the due date.
Due to the foreclosure’s damage to our credit history, obtaining anything on credit in the U.S. will involve significant challenges. For the next seven years, we will not qualify for an additional mortgage and will require co-signers for anything that involves financing. It may be tough if we ever decide to return to the U.S., but our spirits remain intact.
I am stronger because of this foreclosure.
Throughout history, multiple successful innovators have experienced foreclosure and managed to later regain their footing and live in abundant success. With certainty, I can attest that The Creator’s will is happening in my life.
I am thankful during this holiday season and every day that I have a life to pursue impactful work aligned with the gifts, talents, skills, and abilities instilled in me.
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