Some homeowners nationwide, including in Florida, are still finding it difficult to stay on top of their mortgage payments despite the reported recovery of the housing market and general economy. According to a recent survey, almost half of those polled are pessimistic about their financial futures. More than six out of every 10 believe that the country is still in the middle of a housing crisis, and for many, home foreclosure is imminent.

Many survey responders indicated they had to forfeit something in order to maintain mortgage or rent payments. These sacrifices included getting additional jobs or working extra hours, and some even used the money they would typically add to savings or retirement funds to make up for a shortfall regarding the mortgage payment. Others utilized their credit cards for emergency funding.

Homeowners may find comfort in learning that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. By filing for personal bankruptcy, the automatic stay provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code will put an immediate stop to any foreclosure actions and other debt collection efforts. In order to keep the property, homeowners will have to catch up with payments, and lenders who feel that a client’s mortgage payments are too far behind may ask the court’s permission to proceed with foreclosure actions.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, credit card debt and other unsecured debt is typically discharged, leaving the consumer with extra funds to apply to mortgage payments in order to get current. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a more suitable option. It allows consumers to pay their mortgages and other debts over a three to five-year period — according to a court-approved payment plan. Florida homeowners who are overwhelmed by their financial circumstances, including those facing home foreclosure, may benefit from consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to consider the options available to them to regain financial stability. 

Source: ktar.com, “Scars of housing crisis still haunts American homeowners“, Sloane Kingston, June 12, 2015