It was a rainy Saturday morning in January 2009 and the doors of a house in a nondescript strip mall in a town outside of Pittsburgh were already closing when I walked in the front door.
I was a single mother of four and I was working as a cashier at a local convenience store when the owner of the house came by the door with a big stack of bills.
He told me I was supposed to be there by 8:30am, but he wasn’t going to be able to come until 9:30pm because he’d be working late.
That was the last I ever heard from my mom, who was still living at home in the house at the time.
She was never able to see her daughter, who died two years later.
That’s how many people lost their homes and homes in the housing crisis that plagued Pittsburgh in the early 2000s.
I went through the motions of keeping a lid on my emotions, but at that moment I was still numb and just trying to figure out how to move forward.
When I looked around the apartment, I saw a pile of bills that had been stacked on top of each other for days.
It was a mess, and it was hard to get my head around what was happening.
It took me two days to realize what was going on.
I had never been in this situation before.
I’d been home for less than a month when I got the news that my mother had died.
The loss of a mother is a very, very hard thing to cope with.
I started calling the house to see what the issue was.
I asked the cashier about my mother and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s my mother.
She passed away two years ago.’
And I knew.
I knew I had to do something.
It wasn’t like a typical sale, but the house was worth about $300,000 at the beginning of the year.
I had already spent more than $2 million to buy it.
After the sale, I rented the house from the bank and moved in.
I found a job in sales and then got my first job at the store.
At the time, the house had just a few units, but it had the potential to become a massive rental unit.
The real estate market had changed so much in the last two years.
When I got to the store, it was already over the top.
I used to see new condos and condominiums on the market, but I wasn’t familiar with the kind of properties that were sold on Craigslist.
As I was driving to work, I noticed a couple of people selling their homes on Craigslist in Pittsburgh.
They had no way of knowing they were going to get a deal that would have allowed them to buy the home.
I realized that the real estate industry was in a tailspin.
We were the only ones selling in Pittsburgh that had no clue what was coming down the pike.
And we weren’t alone.
As the real-estate industry struggled to recover, some people who had never heard of the real thing suddenly were buying up the properties.
The houses I worked at at the mall were worth more than what I’d ever made in my life.
They were the ones that were making a living.
In the months following the collapse of the housing market, I began to see more and more people moving into our area.
The trend was in our neighborhood.
I remember a neighbor walking by and saying, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’
I started getting calls from people who were saying, “I have to move because I can’t afford to live here anymore.”
But I didn’t want to leave.
I said to myself, I’ve got a lot of money.
I’ve been in business for more than 40 years.
I don’t need to be living in this country anymore.
The way I looked at it was, I’m not leaving Pittsburgh.
It didn’t feel right.
It just felt like it was too much.
When the markets started to rebound, I was able to get back into my career, but my work was hard.
The recession didn’t stop, but as people started to recover from the recession, I started seeing a big spike in new housing starts.
I also began seeing more new condominium construction.
I wanted to make sure I had a plan for my retirement.
I put down a deposit on a house and when the mortgage company came back and told me that the mortgage was paid, I said, “Yeah, that’s fine.
I’ll do it.”
When I got back to my job, I took a new job as an attorney with a local real estate firm.
We saw the market come back up.
We didn’t know how bad it would get.
But we knew that we had a home that was worth $200,000.
I think that’s the last thing I ever said to my mom.
It doesn’t really matter what happens, but