Mortgage Balance, Default and Foreclosure

Statistics show that the wealthy may be able to stay in their homes longer after default than the average homeowner. The length of time that a homeowner may be in default before the bank takes action may depend in part on the value of the property. A new report suggests that banks may be more lenient with homeowners who live in million-dollar homes than the average homeowner with a mortgage of $250,000 or less. These homeowners have been able to stay in their homes an average of 792 days without making a payment, while a homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage will likely be required to vacate their home up to six months sooner.

The exact reason for the difference is unclear. Some speculate that several factors weigh into the bank's decision to initiate foreclosure proceedings, including:

•· The expense in maintaining these types of homes during the foreclosure process

•· The greater likelihood that the wealthy individual will regain the ability to repay the mortgage in the near future

•· The fact that a lot of banks do not package and sell larger mortgage loans, loans which may be made to individuals who banks feel are important citizens in the community or with whom they have a long-standing relationship.

All of these factors may play a role in the bank's decision to initiate foreclosure proceedings.

Bank foreclosures are happening everywhere in this country. Many homeowners are faced with the reality of losing their homes. But homeowners may have options that will stop or delay the process. One of these options is filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy allows debtors to get a fresh start. Essentially wiping the slate clean, individuals can start over and begin the road to recovering financial stability. Once an individual files for bankruptcy, the court implements an automatic stay. This "automatic stay" requires creditors to hold off on their collection actions while the bankruptcy is pending. Whether individuals are able to keep their homes following the bankruptcy may depend on what type of bankruptcy was filed. But often debtors are able to keep their home and vehicle so they have a place to live while rebuilding credit.