Friday, July 31, 2009

Hard Decisions

Another hot Mayo board. This one is a 6'2" quad in Coke bottle tint.

I have talked to several distressed property owners over the course of the year who have found themselves in the undesirable position of owing substantially more on their mortgages than their properties are worth. Whether they bought at the peak or refinanced with cash out, they now struggle with their obligation to continue to pay off a loan that's far more than the property would bring in a sale. Many feel an ethical obligation to continue to pay regardless of the impact on their personal finances. Even some of those not so ethically encumbered continue to pay for fear of ruining their credit or even shame among their peers should they decide to walk away. Those who find themselves in this position have three basic choices; continue to pay, pursue a short sale or simply walk away. Without taking any position on the ethics or morality of choices two or three, I will point the reader towards a very interesting discussion of the subject at Mish's blog. Excerpt below.

"Mortgages are not ethical documents, they are legal contracts. The typical residential mortgage for an owner-occupied home gives the borrower two options: pay on time and in full, and keep paper title to the house, and full entitlements to any appreciation upon its later sale after the mortgage is satisfied; or, stop making payments, and hand the keys back to the lender. Morality and ethics don't even enter the equation. Either option is perfectly legal for the borrower, and the only criteria should be business-based. All the ethics you need are contained within the four corners of the pages of the mortgage contract."

"It doesn't matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions."_________Jim Rohn