The economy’s effect on Florida’s real estate market has caused home values to plummet approximately 40 percent in recent years. While approximately four to five years ago, many homeowners had sufficient equity in their home to secure a second mortgage (or home equity line of credit — HELOC), these homeowners are now confronting the reality of owning a home that is valued far less than what is owed on their first mortgage, let alone what is owed on the second mortgage.
At the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A., we understand the financial burdens people experience when they have upside down and unsustainable mortgages. We counsel and advise people of their rights and options available to them, and we guide clients through all phases of the bankruptcy process. Since 1991, we have successfully helped countless people in the Tampa Bay area file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Is Your Home Worth Less Than What You Owe?
When a home is valued less than what is owed on the first mortgage, it is possible to eliminate the second mortgage and never have to repay what is owed on the second mortgage through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. What this means is that the second mortgage can no longer be considered a lien or encumbrance against the home.
Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the ONLY method available to homeowners to stop payments on a second mortgage and eliminate debt obligations owed on a second mortgage.
In order to successfully discharge second mortgage obligations, our attorneys will file a motion with the Bankruptcy Court in which we allege that your home is valued less than the amount owed on your first mortgage, in addition to any supporting evidence, such as an affidavit, appraisal, real estate tax statement, or other supporting documents. The motion is subsequently served on the second mortgage holder and is decided by the court. If the court verifies that the home is valued less than the amount owed on the first mortgage, it will issue an order discharging the second mortgage obligation, pending the successful completion of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This allows homeowners to sell the home, if they choose, without being required to repay the second mortgage obligation.
Should I Keep or Get Rid of My Home?
Our Tampa bankruptcy lawyers provide clients with the individualized and attentive legal counsel they need through difficult times. We tailor our debt relief strategies to meet the unique needs of each client. When advising clients about second mortgages or any other financial problem which brings them to our office, we carefully assess their financial situation and recommend the most appropriate option, given their circumstances.
While for some clients, it makes sense to file a Chapter 13 and eliminate a second mortgage, other clients will still owe far more on the first mortgage than what their home is worth, and will still have significant financial problems even if the second mortgage is stripped. In these situations, it may make more sense to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, surrender the home, discharge both mortgage obligations and purchase a new home at a lower mortgage. We take these complex issues, as well as the emotional impact on your family, into consideration when recommending debt relief strategies.
Contact a Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney to Address Second Mortgage Concerns
Most people are unaware that they may be capable of discharging debt obligations to a second mortgage through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For additional information, or to discuss your concerns with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, contact our Tampa, Florida, law firm. Call us at 813-254-5696 to schedule a free initial consultation. Attorney Robert M. Geller is a certified specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification *.
Visit our bankruptcy information center to learn more.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
* Accredited by The Florida Bar to certify lawyers in the specialty area(s) of consumer bankruptcy law.