Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walking away from under water property

Question: One of my properties is under water and I would like to walk away from it. The bank knows my financial situation and I am not in hardship. What is a proper legal procedure I can follow to walk away from my house?

Response: In a somewhat rare situation like yours, it is best to negotiate a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure with the bank. If you simply walk away from your house now, the bank will follow its typical foreclosure routine and obtain a deficiency judgment against you. What makes your situation rare is that you actually have assets to satisfy deficiency judgment, as opposed to most other cases where the bank would not be able to enforce such deficiency. Therefore, in your situation, it is best to do the deed-in-lieu to the bank as long as it has been agreed that you walk away with a clean slate, i.e., no deficiency. Please note that the bank will usually consider a deed-in-lieu as the last resort. They would want you to try to do a short sale first. With short sales, there may be tax consequences and again, in your case, it would have to be properly negotiated with the bank to avoid that. Also, please note that in order to do a deed-in-lieu, the property must not be occupied by tenants.

In the legal blog, Attorney Svetlana Kaplun addresses typical questions our firm has received from our clients, or come across from homeowners related to foreclosure, foreclosure defense, loan modification and bankruptcy topics.

The information contained in the legal blog of Attorney Svetlana Kaplun is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a legal advice on any subject matter. Please read our full disclaimer or contact the Law Office of Svetlana Kaplun, P.C. by telephone at 718-444-1115 for more information.
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