When A House Is A Bad Investment, Is It OK To Just Walk Away?

Here’s one that’s sure to start some intense debate: If you’ve made a bad investment and your house isn’t worth what you thought it was going to be, is it OK to just walk away?

Some people think so. From the LA Times:

“I am one of these people. My condo has dropped in value from $520K in 5/06 when I bought it to $350K now. My ARM payment will probably go up $900 per month in June.

“Despite all this, I would be willing to stay if the bank would refi the loans to a 30 year fixed, but since I’m not a ‘hardship’ case they’d apparently rather foreclose. I guess the only way I could qualify for loan mitigation is to get my boss to fire me, stop making payments, and wreck my credit. In fact, my bank won’t even talk to me until I miss a couple of payments.

“I have purchased a cheaper place in a nearby area now, while my credit is good, and will stop making payments on house #1 after house #2 closes. I know the foreclosure will be on my credit for 7 years, but I will have saved a lot of money.

“I realize I agreed to the deal when I signed the mortgage papers, but I am within my rights to walk away from a bad deal and suffer the consequences, just as many corporations write down billions of dollars of debt, lose money for their shareholders, and lay off people as a result of their bad decisions.

“I don’t really understand why people view a business decision by a homeowner as a terrible moral lapse. However, when large lending institutions, with access to more sophisticated information than any consumer could imagine, make mistakes affecting thousands of people worldwide, they are not excoriated and vilified with the same righteous zeal.”

We’re not touching this one with a 10 meter cattle-prod.

A tipping point? “Foreclose me … I’ll save money” [LA Times] (Thanks, Stephen!)
(Photo:Meghann Marco)