The Bankruptcy Law Clinic Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rebuilding your American Dream

Eliminate your second mortgage, home equity line and credit card bills and keep your house!

South Florida is ground zero for the worldwide housing crisis.  By some estimates, 20% of homes in Dade county are in foreclosure.  In the past two years, there have been over 350,000 foreclosure filings in Dade county alone. 

In addition, thousands of South Floridians are trying to get loan modifications, but relatively few are getting any meaningful reductions in the principal of their loans.  Did you buy a house a few years ago and owe $350k? Is it now worth only $150k?  Too bad, maybe the bank will temporarily reduce your  payments and stick the difference on the end of your loan.  Maybe they’ll change the loan from a 30 year to 40 year loan (and make even more money off of you), but actually reduce the principal of the loan?  Forget about it!

So, what to do?  Well for those who have second mortgages, bankruptcy may be the ultimate loan modification through a process called lien stripping. 

Lien stripping is a very powerful and helpful tool within Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Law for homeowners in or near foreclosure.  Second mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit can be completely eliminated in chapter 13 bankruptcies as long as the value of your home is less than the amount you owe on your first mortgage.

Chapter 13 is a debt repayment plan that gives you up to five  years to get caught up on back mortgage payments and other debts by repaying creditors what you can afford. After you have successfully finished your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the mortgage company must remove the junior mortgage(s) from your property and the arrears on the mortgage(s) do not have to be paid back. This can be enormously helpful with keeping your home!

The reason behind this is that the lien stripped loan will be converted from a secured debt that is required to be paid in full to an unsecured debt through the bankruptcy. Unsecured debts are not required to be paid in full in a Chapter 13. In fact, most of the time, the unsecured debts are paid next to nothing. This is completely legal and is done with Court approval. This can be a great benefit for you as the second or third mortgages can be removed and NOT paid according to your Chapter 13 Plan.

There are many ways a bankruptcy can help people with only one mortgage or who cannot afford to make any payments.  Please call us at 305-663-3281 24 hours a day for a free consultation to learn how.

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