How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask LawTalk Your Own Question

LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 27889
Experience:  I have more than 25 years of experience in the practice of law.
15277592
Type Your Bankruptcy Law Question Here...
LawTalk is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I own a home I can no longer afford. I cant refinance. Do

Customer Question

I own a home I can no longer afford. I can't refinance. Do I have to declare bankruptcy? If I get foreclosed do I owe the bank money?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Lou,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Filing for bankruptcy may be premature, and unless you have a lot of other consumer debt (credit cards, other loans) then you might want to consider other options. Some are better than others, but the three main ones tend to be a short sale, offering a deed in lieu of foreclosure to the lender and then strategic foreclosure. If your property is worth almost as much as you owe, then you might consider a short sale, or offering a deed in lieu.

While you may certainly offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure to your lender, it is rare that they are acceptable by the lender---primarily because the lender is not in the business of buy and selling property---but in making loans and collecting money. It is inconvenient and expensive for them to take over a property and therefore most lenders will reject the offer of a deed in lieu.

Likewise, there really is not a whole lot of benefit to a short sale UNLESS, you can get an agreement IN WRITING from the lender that they will not seek a deficiency judgment from you after the short sale, and that they will forgive the debt.


Other than that, the short sale generally is very time consuming---lenders often will not agree to the offer made by the prospective buyer, even after you bring what you believe is a good offer---if there is more than one mortgage--all lenders must agree on the short sale---you must generally remain current on your mortgage during this period---your credit score will suffer almost as bad a hit for the short sale as it would for a foreclosure. Finally, recently it was determined that the average short sale in the US sold for about 10% below market value---meaning that if your outstanding loan is much higher than about 10% over market value, you may encounter difficulty getting a short sale approved by your lender.

Most people will instead opt for what is known as a strategic foreclosure. They cease making payments on the mortgage and taxes---and bank the money they save during the 6 to 12 month average time it takes the lender to decide to begin foreclosure and when the property is sold at the foreclosure auction for use in relocating.

After the foreclosure is completed, the lender will auction the house. The lender can do one of a couple of things then.

The lender can seek a court judgment against you for the difference between the loan amount and the amount of sale at auction (deficiency). With the judgment, they can attempt to collect money from you; they can garnish your wages or levy on your bank account.

The lender, however, often will not bother to do this though because the collection rate on deficiency judgments are usually not very good --in fact statistically, the collection rates are dismal.

The lender may instead choose, and often does choose, to write the debt off for tax purposes. If they do that, they will send you a 1099 tax form and the loss the lender took (the difference between the loan amount and the amount of sale at auction).

If you were not fully insolvent at the time of the foreclosure---as an example you had $10,000 more in assets than in debts, then while the lender may 1099 you for $100,000, you would only have to pay taxes on the amount that you were above the insolvent level----you would pay income taxes on just $10,000.00.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link if you need any clarification of my answer.


Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed, so that I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested. I will be happy to continue further, and to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

I wish you the best in 2013,

Doug

LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 27889
Experience: I have more than 25 years of experience in the practice of law.
LawTalk and 2 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Lou. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have:
http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-lawtalk/

Thanks again.

Doug

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (8-10). It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3203
    Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3203
    Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TL/tleeders/2012-6-13_204815_TSL1.64x64.jpg Terry L.'s Avatar

    Terry L.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2204
    Better Business Bur 15yrs bankruptcy experience. Chicago Bar
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    950
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/cortrightlaw/2011-12-5_4117_Kevin.64x64.JPG cortrightlaw's Avatar

    cortrightlaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    490
    Attorney practicing Bankruptcy Law including Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/Jay1968/2006-12-03_004423_JoeRossPhoto.jpg JoeLawyer's Avatar

    JoeLawyer

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    376
    Attorney in the practice of Bankruptcy Law since 1996
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DY/Dylatess/2012-9-11_1968_BHBTemplePhoto.64x64.jpg dylatess's Avatar

    dylatess

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    370
    35 plus years of experience specializing in bankruptcy law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/US/USLawAnswers/2012-9-20_23143_20090105211638Headshot3b.64x64.jpg Brent Blanchard's Avatar

    Brent Blanchard

    Bankruptcy Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    315
    Twelve years experience in all aspects of debtor & creditor BK.
 
 
 

Related Bankruptcy Law Questions