Everyone—from the halls of Congress to the many channels of media—is paying a ton of attention to those Americans who have lost their homes in the seemingly endless mortgage meltdown. Virtually ignored have been the millions who continue to pay their mortgage every month, even when they really can't afford to. As a result, most homeowners are losing big on what used to be their biggest investment.
Which begs the question: Is the best solution to stop paying your mortgage?
For homeowners around the country who haven't skipped their mortgage payments—but are seriously struggling—there are several reasons why homeownership is going less than swimmingly:
You’re Trying to Staying Afloat While You’re Underwater
Many of you are struggling to pay off a mortgage balance that is significantly higher than the value of your home. As a result, selling your home is simply not an option, since you would ultimately have to come up with the difference to settle with your lender.
You’re Drowning in the Deep End of Debt
Many homeowners just like you are spending down their savings, taking cash advances and/or relying on credit cards to buy bare necessities. Why? Because you’re using every actual dime that’s coming in to keep up with your mortgage payments. The result is millions of Americans who are not only underwater on the their mortgages, but who are also drowning in debt.
While staying current on your home commitment is admirable, and very much the American way, it’s also a quick and easy way to drain your savings, retirement, or nest egg, while also accumulating enormous debt, simply to avoid the dreaded “F-word.”
While it can be scary, this particular “F-word” can be your first, best step to a pair of “F” positives: financial freedom. If you are now hundreds of thousands of dollars underwater and go into foreclosure, your losses are essentially erased. In most cases, your lender can take the house, but not your future earnings with the only real financial consequence being trouble getting a loan for almost a decade (in an era when getting a loan isn’t easy even for those with stellar credit).
Unfortunately, most foreclosure alternatives are simply bad ideas. Let's take, for example, the short sale. In a short sale, the lender is agreeing to accept less than what is owed to satisfy your loan. Assuming you find a buyer, you will then have run the offer by your lender. Even if they decide to go along with it, you could still be stuck with the deficiency if you're not careful. That's not to mention the tax implications of the forgiven debt. Why go through the hassle of a short sale, if it's just as likely to hurt your credit, and may lead to even more debt.
Another foreclosure alternative, the loan modification, would be an option if lenders were granting permanent modifications. The problem is, most lenders are understaffed, behind on applications, and you're likely to get lost in the shuffle. As of 9/1/09, over 362,000 loans have been granted a trial modification. Of those trial modifications, only 1,711 have been approved for permanent modifications.
And Then There’s Bankruptcy
If your credit score is going to suffer anyway, why not create a completely clean slate? As a hurting homeowner, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future. The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.