Does It Make Sense for Me to Fight Foreclosure of Deceased Relative’s Property?

I am seeking to cure the mortgage, assume financial responsibility, and live there for a few years until I earn my degree. After that I plan to use as a rental property.

About me and my circumstances

* 25 year old Ph.D. student (Public Health Epidemiology)
* I need a place to stay. I’m currently staying with a relative and she wants me out by August – really ASAP.
* Cheapest rent in Miami is $ 500 per month in VERY bad neighborhoods for an efficiency or room. I would be looking at least $ 600-700 for a decent, single 1-bedroom apartment…excluding utilities.
* Income
-Unemployed but receive $ 1833.33 via fellowship (money does not have to be repaid).
-I CANNOT work as stipulation of almost half of the funding I receive.
-Considering giving away part of the fellowship so that I can work and then be better candidate to refi altogether with something like a 203K.
-Have $ 23,000 liquid I am holding onto from student loans I took out for the sole purpose of saving this home (either to go towards reinstatement or repairs).
* Expenses monthly are roughly $ 975 per month in bills and $ 350 for miscellaneous expenses. I support myself only.
* Debt
-Revolving accounts: $ 15,055.99
-Student loans: $ 53,269.87 (including the cash I’m holding onto)
-Auto loans: $ 5,989.26
* Credit
-Building credit since 2004.
-No prior negative history with the exception of minor case of identity theft where a cable account was opened in my name and collections activity was briefly on my file last year. Quickly resolved and had removed.
-Current scores coasting at the upper 600s to low 700s (703 peak) mostly due to high balances and age of accounts.
-Extremely responsible with paying bills. Have a VERY rigid system, NEVER late.
* I recognize that my financial picture is kinda ugly…especially for someone my age. 
* No one in my family is in a position to help me with this. They are either not willing (in the case of my six-figure earning engineer uncle) or cannot (in the case of my parents who are going through a bankruptcy).

About the property

* I am listed on the title of the property along with my father and uncle.
-Grandmother signed a warranty deed prior to death leaving property in her children’s names.
-One of those children (my aunt) subsequently lived in the property, didn’t pay ANY bills, and did not notify the rest of the family about the past-due notices/foreclosure threats.
-That aunt quit-claimed her ownership to me almost a year AFTER foreclosure proceedings were initiated.
-Father is currently in bankruptcy process.
-Property has never been through a probate.
* Has been in foreclosure 24 months and no sale date ever assigned.
* Monthly mortgage payments for the property are $ 318. Previously they were $ 260 per month but due to initiation of foreclosure proceedings, lender-placed insurance and taxes are now being escrowed.
* Current payoff total (breakdown below): $ 35,574.75
-Principle balance: $ 21,388.76
-Interest: $ 2,540.30
-Late Charges: 78.36
-Escrow: $ 8,617.33
-Fees: $ 2,950.00
* Bank wants total of $ 19,422.97 to reinstate the mortgage. This amount includes:
-$ 10,805.64 past due payments, late charges, interest, and fees
-$ 8,617.33 for escrow
* Home needs significant repairs >$ 20,000. Without them, home is uninhabitable.
-I paid $ 1,600 to have water-lien removed; I didn’t want that to make things more complicated.
-What ultimately led the aunt to leave the home is that the water was shut off due to non-payment of the water bill that stemmed from a water leak that would’ve originally cost her $ 150 to take care of.
-The aunt also took all of the appliances from the home and left it in horrible condition (photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/108920621280191069467/House?authkey=Gv1sRgCP7t9bGQ7OvB4AE&feat=directlink)
* Home was appraised at $ 70,000 (sales-comparison) and $ 103,546 (cost approach, if developed).
* The bank does not have the original note (thought I’d mention that).
Clearly, this is a huge dilemma for me. I do have a lawyer on the case but he honestly seems to be doing nothing. My father and uncle hired him. He hasn’t even been trying to negotiate. I spoke to him once and he says his priority was to hold the bank off as long as possible and that he’s done pretty well considering how much time has elapsed with no substantial progression in the foreclosure case.

On one hand I do need a place to stay and this would be just about the only place I can afford. On the other hand, I could use the cash I have on hand to pay off some of my debts and work towards being debt free. Granted I do understand that I using borrowed money to pay other debts isn’t the smartest thing in the world. In my defense by paying down some debts now, I would be able to decrease the amount of money spent monthly. The loans which ultimately have to be paid back won’t be due until after I graduate. HOPEFULLY, I can land a decent job once I graduate with my Ph.D. Sigh.

I am ext

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