What Do the Experts Say?

Morality and Ethics

Voluntarily defaulting on a mortgage is not immoral or unethical. Ethics should not enter into your decision concerning whether or not to strategically default.

Law Professor Brent White of the University of Arizona puts it simply in his academic paper entitled Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis -- Morality and emotions have no place in one’s decision to strategically default on a mortgage. Forget about shame and guilt -- Professor White says -- Don’t worry about your credit score. If you owe more than your home is worth, stop paying your mortgage and walk away.

“Underwater homeowners aren’t knowingly making bad financial decisions; they just can’t cognitively grasp that they would be better off if they walked away from their mortgages,” he writes. “Most underwater homeowners don’t default as a result of two emotional forces: 1) the desire to avoid the shame or guilt associated with foreclosure; and 2) fear over the perceived consequences of foreclosure -- consequences that are much less severe than most homeowners have been led to believe.”

Housing Prices

Yale professor and economist Robert Shiller is concerned that the housing market may not recover for at least 50 years. Professor Shiller is probably best known for helping create the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index, a widely-followed measure of housing prices,

"It can get big as it was again maybe in 50 years. This housing bubble was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I imagine," Shiller said. "Although, you know, the market might be more volatile, so the future is always unknown."

To make his case, Shiller noted how the investing culture has changed over the years, thereby greatly affecting the housing market.

"50 years ago, hardly anyone thought of houses as investments, but now, people are focused on it like never before," Shiller said, adding that homebuilding was so rampant in markets like Florida, it quickly drove up home prices to where one could see the bubble forming very early on. "The funny thing about this recent experience is it became so nationwide. Housing markets aren't supposed to be correlated all over the country like that. It was a rare phenomenon."

Going forward, though, Shiller doesn't expect history to repeat itself anytime soon, if ever.

This is bad news for Florida property owners, many of whom owe much more to the bank than their houses are worth. As the economy continues to deteriorate, many Florida owners are choosing to walk away from their underwater mortgages by engaging in strategic mortgage default.

What Should You Do Next?

What should you do if you are one of the millions of Americans who owe more to the bank than your home or property is worth? Call me for a free telephone consultation today. No office visit is required. I will evaluate your individual situation and discuss your options. I handle cases in all Florida counties. Call me today at 800-915-3923. I'm here to help.

The Forrest Law Firm
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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