If you are planning to file for bankruptcy protection, you may be worried about what will happen to your home. Bankruptcy law provides a debtor with numerous exemptions which safeguard assets from being included in the bankruptcy estate. Additionally, many debtors do not realize that their real estate can be positively affected by your filing.
A debtor who owns a home with more than one mortgage on it may be eligible to strip the inferior lien on it. To take advantage of the lien stripping process, you must be “underwater” on your mortgage. In other words, the value of your home must be less than what you owe on your first mortgage loan. The argument is that the home does not have sufficient equity to support the second (or third) mortgage loan, so the inferior liens should be treated as unsecured debt, which effectively strips the lien from your home.
In some cases, a debtor may be able to negotiate better contract terms with their mortgage lender. Most commonly, you can lower your interest rate or re-amortize your mortgage loan. This could result in you having a lower monthly payment which, in turn, can help you afford to keep your investment property.
If you are underwater on your home and you want to get out from under the debt, a debtor is allowed to surrender the real property back to the mortgage lender. The surrender is treated as “payment in full” because any remaining balance is treated as unsecured debt. If you file a Chapter 7, your unsecured debt is usually discharged or eliminated in full. In a Chapter 13 case, your unsecured creditors are typically paid a very small percentage, if anything, on what is owed.
If you are interested in learning more about how a bankruptcy filing could provide you beneficial options for your real estate holdings, contact Faro Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment.