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Reporting from Washington – Go ahead. Break the chains. Stop paying on your mortgage if you owe more than the house is worth. And most important: Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t think you’re doing something morally wrong.
That’s the incendiary core message of a new academic paper by Brent T. White, a University of Arizona law school professor, titled “Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis.”
White contends that far more of the estimated 15 million U.S. homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages should stiff their lenders and take a hike.
Doing so, he suggests, could save some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars that they “have no reasonable prospect of recouping” in the years ahead. Plus the penalties are nowhere near as painful or long-lasting as they might assume, he says.
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Interesting advice, but you should always consult with a local attorney about the legal implications this will have for you for any deficiency balance or other debt that the lender could possibly come after you for later.  Bankruptcy could be one option to eliminate this debt if you do surrender your home.