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In bankruptcy, a homeowner who has fallen behind on mortgage payments may have two options, surrender the real estate through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or pay back the accrued arrearages in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan.  The goal of most homeowners is to keep their home, however, sometimes it just doesn’t make short or long term financial sense to do so.

For example, a homeowner has a mortgage in the amount of $200,000.00 and has an additional $25,000.00 in arrearages (past due payments); to determine whether it is in their best interests to keep the real estate two factors must be considered 1. value of the home and 2. affordability.

1. Value of Home.  Our bankruptcy lawyers perform an internet value search at every initial consultation.   In the event that the aforementioned subject real estate is worth $150,000.00, it would not be worth paying the mortgage and trustee payment on a residence that is so far under-water in terms of equity.   Further, in todays real estate market especially, it is foreseeable that the value can fall even lower and therefore the homeowner would be making payments on a depreciating asset with upside down equity.  In the event the home is worth near or exceeds the mortgage amount then affordability must be considered to ascertain whether it is in the homeowner’s best interest to retain the real estate.

2. Affordability.  There are many reasons why a homeowner(s) would fall behind on their mortgage payments.  However, if the cause was a short term financial situation, such as a loss of a job and the homeowner is now back to work then retaining the real estate and paying back the arrearages would be a viable option.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy helps thousands of homeowners retain their properties.  The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan will be successful if the homeowner(s) can now afford the regular monthly mortgage payment and paying back the arrearages (at zero percent interest) over a five year period.

In summary, the decision to retain or surrender a property is one that needs to be carefully reviewed and planned, I advise you to seek a consultation with a lawyer specializing in this field of law.  You may call Sadek Law Offices, LLC to set up your initial consultation regarding the intersection of bankruptcy law and  real property.

If there are any general questions or topics you would like to read about relating to bankruptcy law in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania region, you may contact the Philadelphia Bankruptcy Lawyers at Sadek Law Offices, LLC at 215-545-0008  or (877) 4-LAW-411 or email brad@sadek-cooper-site. Thank you.