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Posts tagged with: upside-down

Walking Away from a Mortgage…

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I’ve know I’ve told the story before, but here’s the Reader’s Digest version about our home. We purchased our home in 2007. Since that time, the value has dropped more than $125,000. After we both lost our jobs and I took a new one making far less money, we shaved our spending and are still able to make the payments and reduce debt.

When people hear how far upside-down we are on our home (a common topic in southern California), a good number of them ask… ‘Why don’t you walk away?’

Sunday night, 60 Minutes aired a segment called ‘Walking Away’ about homeowners who can pay their underwater mortgages but choose not to. Nine states forbid banks from chasing other assets, making this process nearly painless.

According to these homeowners, ‘it’s a logical business decision’, ‘it’s legal’, and ‘it’s the right thing to do’.

In fact, there are companies who help you through the process (for a fee of course). One of them is called Youwalkaway.com who says their greatest challenge is convincing people that this decision is not immoral, it’s a business transaction. Homeowners, who can pay their mortgage, live in their homes for free until foreclosure and store up cash for their next big purchase.

Maybe I’m in left field but…

First, I do believe this is a moral decision. I don’t care if I had a lame bank or made a bad deal, I made the decision to take the deal and as long as I am able, I will hold up my end of this nasty bargain.

Second, this is a selfish decision. Sure, these homeowners will save themselves an instant wad of cash… at the expense of their neighbors, their fellow homeowners, and in the end… themselves. One way or another, you and I have to pay for those losses.

Third, no one learns a lesson when there is no loss. The show talked about people storing up cash and buying more things. If you don’t suffer the loss, you simply can’t learn from the lesson and you will make the same stupid mistakes over and over again.

We’ve learned that when people ask about our underwater status, we smile and say ‘Eh, we’re not concerned. We’re staying for the long term and don’t keep track.’

We made a BAD, BAD decision and it’s a lesson we will pay for 125,000 times but I certainly don’t expect others to foot my bill.


Reasons to not sell our truck…

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Oops! Some readers have recently posed the question…

Why don’t you sell the truck?

I neglected to explain the reason we’re carrying the truck payment. It’s funny that no one noticed the debt on the truck earlier. It wasn’t until we paid down enough on the rest of our debt to make the truck HALF our total debt that someone asked about it.

My husband had a Chevy that gave out on us a few years ago and he’s one of those few people who actually need a full size truck for work. He tows trailers, fills it with concrete, moves landscaping, etc. A reliable full sized truck isn’t an option… it’s a requirement. We financed a Toyota truck for 26K two years ago and at the time, it was a great deal – or at least that’s what everyone likes to think after leaving a used car dealer.

Fast forward a few years, a few gas hikes, and a few construction related dents later and suddenly…

The truck is more than just a little upside-down – it’s hanging from its toe nails.

We’d MAYBE be able to sell it to someone for 8K… if we made them test drive it in the dark and promise them it got 58 miles to the gallon completely powered by canola oil. But since we’re honest folks, that’s not an option. Plus, we’d have to buy another full sized truck reliable enough to take the 25 – 30 thousand miles a year he drives for work.

Take the nearly 5 thousand we’d have to pay for our upside-down loan and add it to the cost of another truck and it just doesn’t make sense. I’d rather bite the bullet, pay if off by mid-year next year, and have a truck I know works for us.