Sunday, July 09, 2006

The New Californian Socioeconomic Class of the Future?

So you are one of the gazillions of Californians who REFIed, HELOCed, etc. and so you are drowning in debt but hey, it's "all good" because you can still make the payments as long as that job holds out, or your significant other's job holds out, you stay healthy, no family emergency arises, etc., etc., etc. So you think to yourself in the unlikely event that if worse comes to worse you get foreclosed on you can just hand over the keys and walk away. Right? Isn't that what folks did in the past? Isn't this such a great country where you can take on tons of debt and not worry about having to really pay it back? (Damn! Where's my credit card?) Well, think again. Here in California we may be looking at a future where there is a new socioeconomic class: the indentured housing-debt serf.
Homeowners behind in their mortgage payments after hocking the house to pay for a major remodel or a new boat or car may be in for a rude awakening. If they previously refinanced and their lender decides to foreclose, they may not only lose their house, but the bank also may be able to go after their other financial assets including stocks, savings and their paycheck.

A foreclosure may mean a big tax bill from the IRS and state Franchise Tax Board for any shortfall between what the bank gets for the sale of the owner’s home and the value of the loan. ‘This is going to become a hot topic,’ predicts Bradford L. Hall, managing director of Hall & Co., CPAs in Irvine.”

Some homeowners with little of their own money in their homes may think they will do what strapped homeowners in the ’90s did: turn over the keys to their lender if things get really bad and walk away.

But Hall and other financial experts warn that things may be different this time because so many people have refinanced. The difference is the recourse loan. In California, refinanced loans, second trust deeds and home equity lines of credit are generally considered recourse loans. In these cases, a lender can file suit and go after almost any of the borrower’s assets once they obtain a court judgment. ‘They can literally go after everything you have,’ Hall says.


49erFans said...

It angers me that the Realtors do not tell the truth
(as so called professionals) and put trusting buyers at this kind of financial risk.

BTW, see the Marin Heat Index for today - its at .55!!

Marinite said...

It angers me...

That makes at least two of us friend.

sf jack said...

It's not the Heat Index(tm) any longer...

It's now the Marin Market COLD Index(tm)!