Can I save my home by filing bankruptcy?
Everyone knows about the recent issues with the housing market. Many homes have lost value over the past couple of years. As a result, more and more people are facing foreclosure. Over 10 million American homeowners are “underwater” on their home. That means they owe more money on their mortgage loans than their house is worth. While bankruptcy will not solve every mortgage problem, in many cases foreclosures can be stopped and mortgages reinstated through the use of a Chapter 13 plan.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case allows an individual or married couple with regular income to deal with their debts by making regular payments to a Chapter 13 Trustee. The payments are made over a period of 3 to 5 years. The plan can cure an arrearage, or overdue balance, on a home mortgage over a 60 month term. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can also deal with many other short-term debts such as credit cards, car loans, and medical bills. This can free up funds so that future mortgage payments can be made in a timely manner.
In addition, in many jurisdictions a Chapter 13 plan can remove or “strip off” a second or third mortgage on a house. In order to remove the second or third mortgages, the property value must be less than the total amount owed for the first mortgage. Once the lien is stripped off, the second mortgage can often be paid little or nothing through the plan. The remaining balance on the second or third mortgage is completely discharged at the conclusion of the plan.
Another huge advantage of Chapter 13 is that the case can be filed without a big upfront expense. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the homeowner’s attorney fees are included in the plan. The attorney fees are then paid during the course of the 3 to five year plan. In fact, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can be started for as little as $125 ($75 partial court costs and $50 credit counseling).
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
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- Chapter 7 Basics
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- What to expect: Second credit counseling course
- What to expect: Your next appointment
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