It was a simple flyer from Quicken Loans but it planted the seed of an idea in both of our heads; the mortgage on our 3-bedroom townhouse was killing us. We had bought at practically the height of the housing boom when a scant 2 years later, the bottom fell out and we were left owing more than the house was worth like so many people. Then came the kids and once Noah was in full time day care, our outlay was more than $3500 for those two things alone. Dyl's a hard worker but I make double his salary which isn't saying a whole lot. The situation quickly went from uncomfortable to strained to completely untenable. So after the kids were in bed one night, I broached the idea of trying to refinance the mortgage. Rates were incredibly low, we should be able to lower our payment and gain some breathing room and he had come to the same conclusion. We were no worse off if we didn't try. The very next day I initiated contact with Quicken Loans and within a week had a team of great people working to help us. They set us up with a personalized website that would be the primary communication tool making it easy to send required documentation. Sure, there were some setbacks like the needing to take on PMI as the home appraisal didn't come back high enough to cover 80% of the value of the loan but that was okay, it was still less than what we were already paying. Other roadblocks appeared such as confusion over a certain Note from the previous refinancing and how much we needed to bring to closing but those were dealt with and last night, we signed the papers (and signed and signed and signed) that will be the key to our salvation.
Things are looking up: we have a lower mortgage payment now, I received a nice bonus and we've been able to aggressively pay down one of our credit cards. The breathing room from the not having another payment due until April will help us attack the others and build up our savings again. Our property tax will go down July 1st as we lost another $45,000 in our property value (and you can be certain I will be watching that number like a hawk) and we should get a decent tax refund. I am determined that we will never go through this hell again. The stress nearly destroyed us and would have if we didn't finally own up to needing help and then going to find it. Good things can happen if you are willing to ask.
Next weekend, Noelle will be going to her first friend's birthday party since starting kindergarten. That may be the piece of all this that makes me happiest.