Just about every month, housing values in the U.S. fall. That, in turn, increases the number of people who owe more on their houses than they are worth—either trapping them in homes they may no longer want or putting them in danger of financial catastrophe if they lose a job or are otherwise unable to meet the mortgage. Underwater: Options When Your Mortgage Is Upside Down offers valuable advice to homeowners on ways they can unload a house they no longer want, save a home from foreclosure, or undergo foreclosure and start anew. The book offers smart advice from lawyers, bankers, real estate agents, personal finance experts, and homeowners who have seen the foreclosure process firsthand, as well as those who have been able to save their homes through loan modifications and other creative methods. Those faced with tough choices will find invaluable guidance to help them make well-informed decisions while managing the emotional fallout each brings.
Many of the eleven million people in the U.S. now facing the "underwater" dilemma wonder: Is staying put the only option? What if I can't pay the monthly mortgage bill? Can I save my home? Underwater: Options When Your Mortgage Is Upside Down outlines the options—when foreclosure is a good idea, how to best protect the equity you've built up, the financial repercussions of going into foreclosure, strategies for renegotiating a loan, taking advantage of government programs designed to keep you happily housed, and more. Veteran financial journalist Chris Lauer provides the facts, ideas, and advice that can help any underwater homeowner—especially those facing foreclosure—make smart decisions for a better future.
What you'll learn
How to determine whether your home mortgage is "underwater."
How negative equity can cause long-term damage to personal budgets and the nation's economy.
What homeowners can do to get out from under an "upside-down" mortgage.
How to negotiate with your lender to refinance your loan, agree to a "short sale," or stop the foreclosure process.
How to protect your equity and limit your financial exposure under various options.
How other homeowners have been able to turn their mortgages around and rise up from dire circumstances.
How the choice to face foreclosure may be the right financial decision.
How to tap into federal programs designed to aid beleaguered homeowners.
How to navigate through the unfamiliar language of real estate jargon and make sense of the alphabet soup of real estate acronyms.
Who this book is for
The audience for Underwater: Options When Your Mortgage Is Upside Down consists of the millions of homeowners whose houses are either "upside-down" with their mortgages (owing more on their house than it is worth) and those who fear they may be close to that point. According to the real estate services firm CoreLogic, statistics at the end of the third quarter of 2011 show that about 10.7 million (22.1 percent) of all residential borrowers are "underwater" on their mortgage obligations. With one expert projecting a further decline of 5% in real estate values in 2012, that number will grow. These people, and those who may enter their ranks, are the audience for this book.
Table of contents
- About the Author
- Introduction: Underwater Homes and Upside-Down Mortgages
Part I: The Real Estate Market and the Underwater Mortgage
- Chapter 1: The Real Estate Crash
- Chapter 2: How Bad Is the Underwater Problem?
Part II: Expert Advice on Your Underwater Mortgage
- Chapter 3: Advice from an Underwater Homeowner
- Chapter 4: Advice from a Real Estate Attorney
- Chapter 5: Advice from a Real Estate Agent
- Chapter 6: Advice from a Mortgage Broker
- Chapter 7: Advice from a Real Estate Agent
- Chapter 8: Advice from a Real Estate Agent
- Chapter 9: Advice from a Mortgage Broker
Chapter 10: Advice from a Real Estate Expert
- Talk to Your Lender
- “Be There for the Long Haul”
- Examine Your Budget
- How Long Until the Recovery?
- Changing Attitudes
- New Market Rising
- The Keys to a Successful Short Sale
- Do I Need a Short Sale Facilitator?
- Your Credit Score
- To Foreclose or Not to Foreclose
- Deficiency Forgiveness
- Relocation Short Sales
- Short Sale Mistakes to Avoid
- Improved Forgiveness
Part III: The Real Estate Market: An Overview from the Experts
- Chapter 11: Advice from a Real Estate Economist
Chapter 12: Advice from an Economist
- Ignore Sunk Costs
- Ethical Considerations Will Arise
- Ask: How Much Am I Under Water?
- Projecting Future Home Values
- Why Did Economists Fail to Sound the Alarm Before the Real Estate Bubble Burst?
- Ethical Dilemmas: Part Two
- Are More Regulations the Answer?
- Are Homeowners Better Citizens?
- Put Aside Cynicism of the Government
- Chapter 13: Advice from CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming
Part IV: Housing: Fannie, Freddie, Legal Issues, and Government Programs
- Chapter 14: What You Should Know About Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Chapter 15: Lenders Settle with Homeowners for $25 Billion for Abuses
- “Largest Joint Federal-State Settlement Ever”
- Banks Held Accountable
- Who Is Eligible for Compensation?
- New Mortgage Loan Servicing Standards
- Banks Have 3 Years to Comply
- “Fraudulent and Wrongful Conduct”
- New Servicemember Standards
- A Step in the Right Direction but Not an End to the Crisis
- Is an End to the Crisis in Sight?
- How Was Settlement Money Spent?
- Military Protections
- Chapter 16: Twelve Valuable Government Programs
Part V: Appendices
- Appendix A: Glossary of Terms
Appendix B: Additional Resources
- Fannie Mae
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Mortgage Fraud
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Freddie Mac
- Hardest Hit Fund
- HUD’s Housing Counseling Program
- Legal Information Institute (LII)
- Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program
- National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program
- NeighborWorks America
- Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Rural Refinance Pilot Program
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Zillow’s Underwater Mortgage Resource Center
- Title: Underwater: Options When Your Mortgage Is Upside Down
- Release date: December 2012
- Publisher(s): Apress
- ISBN: 9781430244707
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