Strategic foreclosures are emerging as a popular trend as homeowners across the country are looking for ways to escape underwater mortgages.
Strategic default, or strategic foreclosure, is a process by which homeowners who can afford to continue making their monthly mortgage payments, make a calculated financial decision to default on their mortgage in order to improve the likelihood of getting out from an underwater property.
Do you owe more than your house is worth? You’re not alone, and you’re not without options. A recent 60 Minutes Special estimated nearly 11 million Americans are currently underwater with their mortgages, and the number is projected to double in the next year.
Strategic default is also often the first step for homeowners looking to execute a short sale, loan modification or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Strangely, banks will usually not even consider a request for any of these real estate options unless a borrower is at least one month behind on their mortgage payments. Homeowners are being forced into default by the banks’ inefficiency and unwillingness to offer meaningful assistance.
After doing the math and watching property values shrink in some instances to less than half of what’s owed on a mortgage, more than 1 million homeowners joined a growing group who have allowed the banks to file foreclosure against them in order to get a strategic advantage in negotiations with the bank. According to the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index, strategic default accounted for one third of all the first quarter foreclosures in 2010.
If strategic default is an option you are considering, it is suggested you consult an attorney. Oppenheim Law can protect your rights during the strategic foreclosure process, prevent deficiency judgments and represent your interests during negotiations with your bank.
For more information on Oppenheim Law or strategic defaults, please contact us.