Homeowners Walking Away: Right or Wrong?
In my previous blog post, Underwater Homeowners Walking Away From Their Homes, I covered the issue of homeowners who "walk away" from their homes and mortgages (even though they can afford to pay their mortgages) due to the mortgage debt on their homes far exceeding the market value of their homes (in other words, they are "underwater"). "Walking away" is also called a "Strategic Default". That post briefly covered the fact that most homeowners view "strategic default" as being morally wrong, but despite that many homeowners would still "walk away" from their homes and mortgages if the debt to market value ratio reached a certain point. The post showed, that based on current financial research, that debt to market value ratio is somewhere around 50%. In this post I want to address the issue of whether "walking away" from a home and mortgage is Right or Wrong?
I will only state my position briefly as I would like input and comments from other people. A few years ago I would have said that "walking away" from your home and mortgage was definitely wrong. Now, I am not so sure. Real estate investors, business owners, Wall Street firms, etc. have "walked away" from debts for many, many years. If a business or investment firm cannot pay a debt, they file bankruptcy, shut down, simply do not pay, or now ask for a government bailout. Why should looking at paying debts as a business decision be OK for businesses and investment firms, but not for individuals? That is why I am no longer sure "walking away" is wrong. If buying a home is an "investment" as the National Association or REALTORS (NAR) has stated for years (they should regret that statement now) then why shouldn't a homeowner have the option to "walk away" if that so-called "investment" goes bad? After all, the mortgage lender does have contractual recourse (via the loan note and mortgage) such as reporting the lack of payment to credit reporting agencies, taking the home back via foreclosure and pursuing the delinquent homeowner for any losses not recovered by selling the foreclosed home. No where in the documents that the borrower/homeowner signed does it say that shame or moral indignation is part of that recourse. That being said, I do think that trying to sell a home via a short sale is a significantly better option for a homeowner than a "strategic default". Therefore, I would highly recommend that a homeowner try a short sale before "walking away". With that I respectfully request your comments.
If you are a homeowner in Middle Tennessee who cannot pay your mortgage (due to losing your job, having your income reduced, illness, health problems, etc.), or your home is already in foreclosure, or you owe more than your home is worth, please contact me to discuss your options including loan modifications or short sales. I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure REALTOR and Expert. I serve real estate owners, homeowners and investment property owners in Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN. If you do need to short sell your home (a real estate short sale occurs when the sale proceeds are not sufficient to pay off all the mortgages and liens on the property/home), or you need a quick sale due to being in foreclosure, you can request short sale and foreclosure help and assistance on my website at Get Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance from a Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure REALTOR and Real Estate Expert.
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