Dec 22, 2006
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We made the deal. We received our “yellow letter” from the LRA (Louisiana Road Home Agency) which is responsible for distributing and overseeing all the money that Congress allotted to Katrina and Rita victims. Overall it’s a good thing. We were given three choices and our decision was clear. Our three options included, rebuild, sell to the State and live in Louisiana or sell to the State and move out of State, each option came with a different dollar figure. The only one we could afford to take was the “rebuild” option. We owe so much money on the house because of the loans we had to take out to begin our rebuild, that selling at a reduced price back to the State and walking away wasn’t a choice for us. It would have been the easier decision to make had the number been higher, to just walk away and never look back, be done with the nightmare, but the debt won’t allow us that luxury. We are cautiously optimistic with the figure we signed on, it’s a significant amount of money because we only received $781 from our insurance company after the storm. They use that money, everything we received from FEMA (which let’s be honest, was barely enough to cover our expenses while on evacuation) and calculate it against our pre-storm value and the total loss, which for us was significant. It will be enough to pay off our 2nd and 3rd mortgages, pay off the financing for the repair of the outside of our home, and finish the rebuild. I am cautiously optimistic because I can’t imagine breathing easier every month. This money will help us SO much, very soon there will be workers at our house doing all the unfinished things, tile, sheetrock int he bathroom, garage, baseboards, closets, light fixtures, the fireplace, the list of unfinished things goes on and on. So to everyone who contacted their congress men and women and supported the bill in Congress, thank you, the money is going to good use and it IS helping.

So now we wait again, we’re getting good at that! LOL! The LRA has written something like a whopping 85 checks when there are something like 100,000 people who have applied. Five thousand have signed their letters and we are one of those. The next step includes going to a closing where the money will be signed over to our first mortgage holder. Our mortgage holder then comes to our home and does an inspection to see how far along we are and how much money they can release. We are told that disbursement can’t be over $7,500 each time which is a joke! We’ve spent at least $60K already and we’re not done. Dealing with the mortgage company on this should be interesting but we understand the need to do it this way. The govt can’t just hand over checks to the citizens with no accountability. But I’m sure that once the mortgage company gets the $$ we will have yet another waiting game.

The good news is that the LRA will not require we live in the home for 3 years as initially thought. There will be a covenant put on the house stating that if we sell it, it must be owner occupied. This will keep investors from coming in and buying tons of properties, renting them out at inflated rates and depreciating the value of the neighborhood. Fact is, people care more if they own. As long as we don’t have to stay in it, I don’t care. I’m ready to be done. I’m ready for a different house, in a different neighborhood.

Sorry for the long post but I thought I would give a good update for those that have followed our story. For now, once again, we wait…

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