I have racked my brain trying to find some new, fancy way of introducing this blog besides saying, “Hi! My name is Brandey, and this is my story.”
Well, it didn’t work. I can’t think of a better way to start this blog than to tell you my name and what’s going on, so please pardon this cliché as I introduce myself.
My name is Brandey. I am a wife and mother of three children ages six to fifteen. I have a full time job, I write on the side, and one week ago my husband and I finally made it official …
The Boyd Family now has a spanking new mortgage …. And a house that is in need of major renovations.
In the beginning ….
Like the vast majority of southern Mississippians, seven years ago we hid out in our home as Katrina howled her way onto the shores of our quant little southern state. The fifty-year old home that I had inherited from my father, and from his father before him, suffered major damage. Our tin roof rolled back like a sardine can, the eaves lost several boards, there was massive water damage, and we had a lovely 3 foot gash torn into the roof on one side from where the weather head was pulled down thanks to a 30 pound tree limb that fell onto the power lines connecting our house to the nearest power pole.
Being in ownership of a nice insurance policy, we were thankful we all made it through the storm with our health intact, even if our home had seen better days.
And then reality set in.
Our wonderful insurance company, who shall remain nameless for now, flaked out on our claim because, apparently, our policy didn’t cover ‘wind-driven water damage.’ My ass it didn’t. That’s not what I was told when I purchased the policy, and it’s not what I was told when we got insurance on the new place. So WTF is up with that??
So what did we get for paying $900/year for years beyond count and nearly $65K worth of property damage? What all Americans want from their insurance company: a big fat ‘fuck you!’ … and $1200 to fix all that damage.
Okay, no problem. FEMA to the rescue.
We applied for help from FEMA, and despite my husband being the only one working at the time, and there being 4.5 people in the household (I was pregant with my last child at the time), we were told that $28K per year for those 4.5 people was waaaay too much money for FEMA to help out and if we wanted our home fixed, we would have to borrow a loan and fix it ourselves.
Suuuuuurrrreeeee, like that is so gonna work.
So after two Dear John letters from FEMA we decided to give FEMA a sign of our own
and began looking into foreclosed properties. We knew we didn’t have a lot of money to spend and would have to do the majority of the work ourselves. After all, like most Mississippians, we are severly underpaid. You can’t very well afford a $150K mortgage when you only make $55K/year combined. That leaves us with two options:
1. Work our asses off at two jobs each for the next 30 years to pay for that $150K home, or
2. Get a fixer-upper, do the work ourselves as money allows, and hope for the best.
We knew we needed something with an affordable mortgage that still allowed us to have enough money left over every month to put back into the renovations of the home. We weren’t looking for an $80K home that still needed $30K worth of work. For $80K, I better not have to do anything but move in. People said we were chasing a dream …. Well, DUH! Not every American dream these days involves being overworked and underpaid (which we both are, BTW).
After four years of searching, dozens of properties and countless heartbreaks later, we finally found the closest thing to our dream home as we could find …. In our price range, that is.
So here is our American dream. One house, a budget of $40K, and a whole lot of prayers.