Walking Away From The Mortgage: One Man's Story
I made my last mortgage payment on Nov. 1, 2009.
Bank of America changed the locks on my house on Sept. 29, 2011.
I realize that my results may not be typical and that every situation is unique. But I'd like to provide people in a similar spot with something that wasn't readily available to me when I realized I had to walk away from my house: answers.
What happens when you walk away? Are you arrested? Are you shunned? Do your kids decide they hate you?When I signed a mountain of loan documents to purchase my first home in 2006 I had the same attitude as most people. "Do whatever you can to pay your mortgage: run up credit cards, work out payment plans with the IRS, eat Ramen noodles. But pay your mortgage, every month, always. Because when you miss a few payments, a sheriff shows up with a cardboard box and throws you and your family onto the sidewalk. Or maybe if he's friendly he'll give you a lift to a shelter."
Nobody told me that some folks miss as many as two years worth of payments before they have to move out of their home. Or that the bank may even hand you a few thousand dollars to quietly evacuate without dumping plant killer all over your upgraded landscaping, ripping out the microwave or spray painting "the mortgage crisis sucks!" on the garage.
It certainly wasn't clear that my house would eventually be worth less than half what I owed on it; that my small business would suffer from a bad economy; that half the houses on my suburban double cul de sac would fall into foreclosure; or that many of the people who made money rigging the system on the way up would find ways to do so on the way down, while folks like me sat around waiting for the banks, for Dubya and for "hope and change" to do something to help us.
This is what happened when I decided to walk away. And it's not nearly as nightmarish as you might think.
To read Ryan's full story, see The Huffington Post.
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