Owning a home is the most important investment that a family can make. It usually starts with the family providing a down payment. Ms. Orman’s suggestion that the Cartwrights should walk away from their home, pocket the money and move to an apartment is certainly misguided.
Ms. Orman rightfully criticized the government-backed Home Affordable Modification Program. It is true that HAMP’s track record for approving loan modifications is somewhat low. This is because most homeowners are not sophisticated enough in the application process.
It is important to note that not pursuing bankruptcy, short sales and other remedies may leave the Cartwrights stuck with a foreclosed home and a large debt load. Bankruptcy could be their only option if they decide to leave. Even though Ms. Cartwright filed for bankruptcy in 2005, Mr. Cartwright could file for bankruptcy to stave off foreclosure proceedings while he negotiates with the bank. Ms. Cartwright is eligible to file for bankruptcy again in 2012 under the old statute.
Further, the Cartwrights should make sure that there are no tax implications from walking away from their home. I don’t believe that walking away from their home would make them a good candidate for landlords. It appears that if Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright decided not to pay off their credit card debt, then they would have enough money to pay down their mortgage. The Cartwrights should save their money anyway for their mortgage payments until they receive a final decision from the bank.
The most important thing for them to do is consult an attorney and a tax advisor. Then they should do their own research to get the best result.
Lauren P. Raysor, Esq.
Ms. Raysor is a New York State licensed lawyer and author of “Living the Wealthy Life.”
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About Lauren P. Raysor
Lauren P. Raysor is an attorney concentrating in personal injury, civil rights, matrimonial and family law, and corporate, business and municipal legal services. A 1988 graduate of Fordham Law School, Ms. Raysor has worked on behalf of the people, both in her own practice and as an attorney for the City of New York and the State Attorney General’s Office. In 1993, Ms. Raysor joined the New York City Law Department as Deputy Chief and Senior Trial Counsel, handling negligence cases in the city. From 1999 to 2001, she served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, investigating and litigating consumer fraud cases. In 2002, Ms. Raysor served as President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, where she testified before the City Council on civil rights issues. She has handled high-profile cases, including representing the shooting victim in the case against rap and hip-hop artist Remy Ma.