Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Law Professor Advocates Strategic Mortgage Loan Default

Law Professor Advocates Strategic Mortgage Loan Default

Per this academic law paper, Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis, the author, Brent T. White (a law professor at The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law) advocates strategic mortgage loan default as a very viable option for both financially distressed and non-financially distressed underwater homeowners (i.e. the mortgage balance(s) exceeds the value of their home - there is negative equity). The major issues addressed in this paper include the following:

  • Part I: Most underwater homeowners are not walking away from their homes (i.e. strategically defaulting on their mortgages).
  • Part II: From a purely financial standpoint "many more homeowners should be strategically defaulting."
  • Part III: Homeowner and borrower "emotions such as shame, guilt, and fear play the largest role in homeowner decisions" to keep paying on their mortgage loans even though they are financial black holes and the most rational action would be to strategically default.
  • Part IV: The "government, the media, and the financial industry" and expected credit score damage combine to pressure underwater homeowners to keep paying on underwater mortgages even though strategic default would be the best financial option.
  • Part V: Substantial differences in behavioral norms between underwater homeowners (borrowers) and banks give the banks substantial artificial leverage over the homeowners. In other words, the banks regularly fail as evidenced by the TARP bank bailouts and all the other unprecedented government actions to artificially prop up the banks so the banks clearly have no shame in threatening to default and close their doors in order to get money from the government (i.e. morality has nothing to do with their decision making), yet those very same banks pressure underwater homeowners to pay their mortgages by playing the "moral card". According to the author, this situation has "created an imbalance in which individual homeowners have borne a disproportionate financial burden from the housing collapse."
  • Part VI: Government policy should seek out ways to level the playing field between underwater homeowners and banks so that given the circumstances mutually beneficial outcomes can be reached.

My view is that after seeking proper real estate (i.e. from me), legal and financial advice, underwater homeowners should consider "walking away" from their homes only as a last resort. In almost all cases, underwater homeowners should attempt the following loss mitigation actions (listed in order):

  1. Short Sale.
  2. Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure.
  3. Strategic Default (i.e. walking away).

Free* Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance for Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Nolensville, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne, Columbia, Mt. Juliet, Springfield, Gallatin and Middle Tennessee Financially Distressed Homeowners and Property Owners. Stop the Bank from Foreclosing with a Quick Cash Offer or Short Sale. If you are a Nashville Tennessee, Franklin Tennessee, Brentwood Tennessee, Nolensville Tennessee, Spring Hill Tennessee, Murfreesboro Tennessee, Smyrna Tennessee or La Vergne Tennessee homeowner, property owner, condo owner, real estate investor, home builder or real estate developer who cannot pay your mortgage payments (due to losing your job, having your income reduced, illness, health problems, adverse business conditions, slow sales, loss of investment property tenants, vacancy issues, lack of funds to complete the project, feuding business partners, etc.), know that you will not be able to pay your mortgage, have defaulted on your mortgage, are already in foreclosure, or owe more than your home is worth, please contact Jim to discuss a short sale (when the real estate sale proceeds are not sufficient to pay off the mortgages and liens on the property). Jim helps sellers (homeowners, property owners, condo owners, owners of high end homes and properties (estate homes, luxury homes and executive homes), real estate investors, home builders and real estate developers) of distressed real estate, short sales, pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, investment properties, failed new construction projects and struggling commercial real estate developments located in any Middle TN County (Rutherford, Williamson, Davidson, Maury, Sumner & Robertson). If you need to short sell your house or property, or you need a quick sale to stop a foreclosure sale, you can Get Free* Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance from a Nashville Tennessee and Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure REALTOR, Real Estate Expert and Real Estate Investor. (*Free: In a real estate short sale, the bank or mortgage company usually approves and pays all of Jim's commissions and fees.)

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