posted: Feb. 6, 2013 @ 8:14a
I want to give a full picture of our situation. I posted a while ago (somewhat controversial) about refinancing our condo and your insights paid off. We live in MA where the real estate bubble was horrible. In 2005, we paid $210K for a condo and now owe $190K. The area is not the best and it was originally a 3-5 yr plan - before kids, although now we have one and, round trip, I have a 3 hour commute each day. We need/really want out, which I'll explain so I don't receive "deadbeat" or "you're the problem with this country". The finances:
Mortgage payment: $1280 + $310 condo fee = $1590/month (taxes are ~$1,500)
Earnings/Savings: HH income of ~$160K give or take ~$10K; max out my 401(k); my wife contributes to SEP; 6+ month emergency fund; college fund for daughter; very low bills (no credit cards, one small car payment); however, separate from all of that, we have $70K set aside to buy a new/second primary home.
The idea was to refi to get the condo payment down and rent it out so we could buy a new home. We can get $1,200 in rent for the condo, which means we would pay $400 out of pocket every month to make up the difference. Horrible, I know, but walking away just isn't an option to us and we don't qualify for a short sale. We felt that we could take the $400 hit each month and "wait it out" perhaps forever/until paid off because I know this thing will never be worth what we paid (arguably, it never should be or the bubble will burst again). The "hit" would obviously be larger due to vacancy and maintenance etc.
However, I recently joined the condo board as I figured it would be a great way to stay close to the building/tenants when renting it out and then I quickly realized that the reserves are in serious danger. So many people have walked away w/o paying condo fees ($17,500 condo fees in collection). The building is historically registered (I learned a valuable lesson there) and the whole board is quietly questioning the building's future and we are talking about another assessment, shortage of fees/revenues, needing to increase condo fees, and while the expensive granite facade is beautiful, it's extremely costly to maintain. Essentially, I can't fathom how this building will be maintained, in the long run, due to his historic age and constant need of repairs.
Long winded, sorry. But the point is, not only is the condo unit a bad investment for us, which we were willing to ride out, but now the entire building just doesn't seem to have a bright future. This whole situation is very upsetting to us. Not a moment goes by without me stressing out about getting my young family in a house (schools etc.). Literally, whether right or wrong, I lose sleep over it.
I just had three CMAs completed - all came in close with a value of ~$120K-160K. There is no way we get $160K.
Say we could get an offer for $130,000: How effing crazy am I to give the bank my additional $70,000 now just to stop the bleeding and get this all behind us? Yes, we could rent it and take the $400/month hit (plus vacancies etc.), but that limits our next buy. Its such a crazy idea to give the bank our $70K, but I just think the whole situation needs to be over with. If we surrendered our savings, we could rent for year and then have a FHA etc. down payment for a house we want to be in. We would be out the $, but happy.
Please help. Am I nuts?