I am getting claustrophobic in my own home. (Warning: boring real estate stuff here: feel free to ignore this post unless you want to see a classic case of the mortgage crisis process in a nutshell!)
When I built this house in 1999, it was just me. Oh, I had a roommate, but she only had furniture for her bedroom; the rest of the house (3 Bdr/2 BA) was mine, all mine. In 2003 I got married, and my wonderful husband came with STUFF. :) Then in 2007 and 2009 our two children arrived, and they need lots of STUFF too. Add to this my terminal case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), which has led me to acquire four more harps since 1999, and it's just too crowded in here. I'm renting out two of the harps and would happily sell them, but haven't found buyers yet (if you're interested, send me a message!! <g>), and I use the other three too much to sell or rent them. Plus a bass guiter, plus an upright electric bass, plus piano, plus several thousand books. . .the little starter home just won't cut it any more.
Problem: in 2005 I refinanced on my home to consolidate debt (credit card debt, mostly,which accumulated in the wake of a car accident in 2001 when I had self-employed insurance which covered squat), and the company I chose was unscrupulous. I didn't do my homework, and it bit me; they offered me a loan that would wipe out most of my credit card debt. What they didn't tell me was that they committed appraisal fraud to do it. So now I owe $20K more on my house than it's worth, and the only way to get out in the near future is a short sale, which is a Bad Thing for your credit, especially if, like me, you need to move to a bigger house, not just get out. Right now, if you short-sale, it's usually because you can't make the payments, and the banking industry now will not give you another mortgage loan for two full years after a short sale. We can make the payments just fine here; I just can't breathe. I wind up curling up on the sofa with a book to avoid looking at the mess and the tinyness of our house now. (I realize that this is not a healthy or useful response to the problem, but neither is crying uncontrollably, and so I choose the lesser of two evils.)
Everyone (realtor and banking-type people) kept telling us we needed to make sure our current house would sell FIRST, before buying another house. Finally, though, Phil and I made the decision to shop in a lower price range than we could technically get approved for, and now they're considering letting us get the new mortgage BEFORE selling the current house. (We have absolutely no desire to be landlords, plus there's a neighborhood covenant against renting, so that's not an option for us.) So now the plan is: get new mortgage, THEN short-sale on current house, since no matter what the paperwork says about our income, we can't maintain two payments for ANY length of time. The hit to my credit (and mine alone, since the house is in my name alone) won't affect us as greatly, since there are no major purchases coming up for me in the next 2 years. I have the van, which I will be paying on for another 4 years, I have my pedal harp, and we're done having children. Phil will need a new car, but this won't affect his credit, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Yay VA loans! My husband served 4 years in the Marine Corps and so he's eligible for that. We truly wouldn't have a prayer for all of this to happen without him. There's a fixer-upper on the NE side of Indy we're going to look at; supposedly it's got good bones but is hideously outdated: mostly needs new carpet (or hardwood!) and paint. If that's true, we'll probably make an offer. I'm so excited! I finally have hope that I'll be able to breathe, and that someday soon we'll be making payments on a house I actually want to stay in!