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What Are My Options If I Owe More than My Home Is Worth?

What Are My Options If I Owe More than My Home Is Worth?

Nearly 9.7% of all U.S properties during the first quarter of 2017 were “underwater”–meaning the balance of the mortgage is more than the property is worth. According to the report, from ATTOM Data Solutions, that’s a little under 5.5 million properties that homeowners are financially burdened with.

Fortunately, there are a couple of options that will not only allow you to keep your home during an underwater mortgage, but also save you money in the process.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you’re behind on mortgages but want to keep your home, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an attainable option. Here are a few of the advantages it has to offer:

  1. Keep your home. If you can afford a payment plan, you get to keep your property. Typically, you file a “plan” to pay off some of your debt over 3 to 5 years.
  2. Reduced debt. While you’ll still owe money for your home, the amount will be drastically lower. Better yet, you’ll be able to bunch other debt (medical bills, credit card bills, etc.) into your payment plan.
  3. Stop a foreclosure. Even if you’re close to the sale date of your home, filing for Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure.
  4. Second mortgages can be dismissed. If you qualify for lien stripping, you can have second or third mortgages removed from your debt.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Looking to completely get rid of your debt? Chapter 7 bankruptcy might just be for you:

  1. Walk away from most of your debt. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can get rid of most of your debt. Unfortunately, this means you’ll be giving up your home. However, for many, this is an appropriate solution.
  2. Cases are over in a short amount of time. Your case could be discharged 3 to 6 months after filing for Chapter 7.
  3. Keep the wages you earn. Any wages you earn or property you acquire after the bankruptcy are yours to keep. None of it will go to creditors unless you make that choice.

If you want more information about your options for underwater mortgages, discuss your case with one of our Northbrook bankruptcy lawyers at Bach Law Offices.

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