I Want to Let the House Go. My Husband Wants to Keep It. What Should We Do? – Amy

“Dear Lewis,

We filed chapter 13 and it was confirmed a year ago even though our income wasn’t sufficient.

We owe 300,000 on house and received a letter from mortgage company that we defaulted and are behind 6 months. We aren’t behind 6 months. My husband has been working to get it caught up and we are behind 3 months. THis does not include the arrears in bankruptcy.

My income has recently declined due to medical issues and am making 832. a month but loans and insurance get all of that and collecting unemployment of 1000. a month.

My husband receives socsec 1600. and 2000. from job monthly.

Our mortgage pymt alone is 2500.

My husband wants to keep the house at all costs and says the market will turn. He is 65 I am 55.

Should we let the house go and file a chapter 7 or continue to fight to keep house in the chapter 13?

I say let it go. He says he feels a failure and wants to keep.


Dear Amy,

Unfortunately, sometimes an attorney just cannot make a personal decision for you and your spouse. An attorney can lay out all of your options, give you an idea of the likelihood of success. But if there is a personal conflict, the two of you will have to decide.

You haven’t told me how much your house is worth. Depending on how far upside down you are, and the fact that you were behind on the mortgage when you filed bankruptcy, and got further behind on the normal monthly payments, I would say it might not be a good idea to keep the home.

If the value is severely upside down ($100,000 or more, for example), I would say that you will never be in an equity situation in your lifetimes. It will be a long time before we see 20% yearly gains on home values. And if it happened again, there will surely be another crash again. (Americans have short memories.)

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I would imagine that you could rent for far less than $2500/month for a similar home in your area. I also have no idea how long a foreclosure takes in your area (since I am not sure where you live). But you could likely live in the home for a long time making no payments at all, or defending any foreclosure to maximize your time in the home.

But ultimately any attorney shouldn’t tell you what you should or should not do. This is not a legal question, it is a personal decision. And personal decisions need to be made by the person(s) who have to live with the decision.

I hope that you both will be satisfied with the course of action you choose to pursue.

My name is Lewis Roberts and I’m an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia. My practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, real estate issues/closings, and mortgages. I also have Florida real estate broker and mortgage broker licenses. I am a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA), and a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp. I enjoy helping people with decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.

If you have a bankruptcy question you’d like to ask just use the online form.

Florida Consumer Protection Attorney
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