Negative Equity: Options If You're Upside Down in Your Mortgage

More Americans find themselves in a position of negative equity -- owing more on a mortgage than the home is currently worth. By itself, negative equity isn't necessarily trouble. Those who can afford their monthly mortgage payments and have a safe loan structure can wait out the market until home values improve.

For homeowners with riskier loan structures, such as interest-only or short-term ARMs, negative equity is a bigger problem. It can hamper their ability to refinance to a more stable loan and can set the stage for possible foreclosure.To prevent those from happening, government entities have devised a loan programs that throw cash-strapped homeowners a lifeline.

See which may be right for your situation: