Back when her life ran smack into the foreclosure crisis, Stephanie Alison Walker started blogging. It didn’t stop offers from evaporating or credit scores from plummeting. It didn’t keep her and her husband out of bankruptcy court. But it did turn out to be a great little love story.
Walker strung together her blog entries and created a book called Love in the Time of Foreclosure. You ride with her and her husband, Bob, down the rocky path that millions have traveled since the start of the housing crisis. Originally they had put 20% down on a 30-year, fixed-interest loan, with the income to back it up. Then, Bob lost his job and their dream house wasn’t too far behind.
Here at the Book Scan blog, we’ve covered the real estate + romance novel mashup. But Walker’s story isn’t about poofy blouses or forbidden trysts. This memoir is about how to keep a marriage together and romance alive under one of the most stressful situations a couple can go through together. And this isn’t about the perfect couple that can handle any of life’s problems, either. Stephanie and Bob have almost broken up before. What’s to say the end of homeownership might not also be the end of their union?
What ensues is a heart-wrenching reexamination of what really matters in life. At one point, Walker writes that when she realized that her marriage is her true home, losing her house was more manageable. It’s really a beautiful tribute to family, though written in a breezy, funny way that doesn’t allow these sentiments to get too soggy.
While the story is heartwarming, the lessons for those in real estate are many. First and foremost, real estate professionals who read Walker’s book will come away with a deep understanding of the stresses of the short sale. Walker addresses the false hopes and “magical thinking” that accompanied every showing. She explains the difficult balance between optimism and realism that helped guide them through the short sale process.
Walker talks about the frustration of trying to deal with government assistance programs and lenders alike. She walks readers through the run-around and gives them what feels like an accurate window into the worldview of a distressed homeowner. From fielding a “charge off” threat from second mortgage lender to combating termites to deciphering the “Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance” letter, Walker addresses the confusion of the situation with humor and grace.
Aside from the professionals who help the couple through the twists and turns, the book is sprinkled with sage moments with Walker’s REALTOR® mother, who balances her knowledge of the industry with the no-nonsense compassion of motherhood.
Now, this book is definitely a little rough around the edges. As I noted in my last post about a book of compiled blog entries, this is an art form that remains to be perfected. And, similar to the authors of last blog-to-book piece I reviewed, Walker would have benefited from hiring an editor. But the roughness is not as troublesome in this format, because it’s just one voice readers need to get accustomed to, and it’s a casual one.
Walker’s blog is still ongoing, and she has great resources for people who are going through similar situations. If you know someone who is in that boat, grab them a copy of this uplifting book. It might just help them hang on to the love of their lives.