Friday, January 25, 2008

More on homeowner walkaways

(Calculated Risk) Yesterday Peter Viles at the LA Times brought us a story of a homeowner planning to use "jingle mail": A tipping point? "Foreclose me ... I'll save money"

A commenter on L.A. Land this morning writes, "I am one of these people. My condo has dropped in value from $520K in 5/06 when I bought it to $350K now. My ARM payment will probably go up $900 per month in June.
...
"I have purchased a cheaper place in a nearby area now, while my credit is good, and will stop making payments on house #1 after house #2 closes. I know the foreclosure will be on my credit for 7 years, but I will have saved a lot of money.
Today Viles has a poll: Is walking away irresponsible? Or smart?

There are other issues to consider than just a wrecked credit rating. There are possible tax consequences. And it is possible, depending on whether the loan is recourse or non-recourse - and the frame of mind of the lender - for the lender to seek a deficiency judgment against the homeowner. Also it appears the homeowner has not properly disclosed the planned foreclosure on his current home with his new lender.

I'm not a lawyer or a tax advisor, and there may be other issues too. Hopefully the homeowner mentioned above has obtained tax and legal advice.

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