About a year ago, I was attempting to sell my home. It’s a lovely home in the suburbs of southern California, has a swimming pool, lovely fruit trees in the backyard, is close to the best schools and is 15 minutes from some of the nicest beaches in SoCal. Perfect, right? What it lacked was a modern kitchen. The previous homeowners had decorated the kitchen in a very “country-style” theme, while the rest of the house was very modern. Homebuyers weren’t having it, and kept submitting low-ball offers based on the amount of work that needed to be done in the kitchen. Eventually, I was forced to take the home off the market.
I reached out to a local contractor who helped me upgrade the kitchen. These kinds of projects quite often take on a life of their own. Before I knew it, the kitchen was not only getting upgraded, but it was going to be larger than before. The ceiling was being raised. The AC unit and hot water heater were relocated to make extra room. The entryway to the house also had the ceiling raised in order to match the styling of the new kitchen. A fireplace was removed. New cannister lamps were installed in the ceilings. New floors had to be put down to accommodate the new layout. The bills just piled up faster and faster. Before I knew it, my credit cards were reaching their maximum limits, and by the time everything was done, I was buried in debt and had not a single credit card that wasn’t maxed out.
I didn’t see this as too big a problem at the time. While I didn’t like carrying all that debt, the idea was to sell the house and pay off the cards, and all would be right with the world again. Except that, things didn’t work out that way. Instead, circumstances changed, and I was no longer in the market to sell the house at the time. The good news was that I had the kitchen of my dreams. The bad news was, my credit, which had once been rated as “Excellent”, was now rated as “Poor”.
Why this wrecked my credit
There’s an old joke about airplane crashes. “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end.” Credit is sort of like that. The problem wasn’t the amount of money that I owed. Obviously, I had a high enough credit limit on my cards (thank you, previous good credit) to support the…