Should I Attempt to Save My Colorado Home from Foreclosure or Should I Surrender the Home?

Particularly with chapter 13 bankruptcy filers here in Colorado, as a Littleton debt relief lawyer, I’m asked this question quite frequently.  Some want to surrender the home, others are on the fence, while many (no matter what the financial consequences) insist on doing whatever it takes to remain in the home – and I completely understand.  

With chapter 13, you can prevent against foreclosure and save your home, depending on the exact circumstances.   However, perhaps the question that should be asked is not “can I keep the home?” but, rather, “should I save the home?”

I practice bankruptcy law only in Denver and most areas of Colorado, and not in any other states, but house foreclosures in Denver continue to rise.  Many, if not most, of my clients are “upside down” or have negative equity in their home.  This means that the mortgage debt exceeds the actual value of the home.  In fact, more than a few of my clients in Colorado who have 2 mortgages are “upside down” as to only the first mortgage.  (If you are in this situation, please contact me as we may be able to “strip off” the second mortgage lien in chapter 13 bankruptcy.)

But, unless you expect the value of a now depreciated home to rise back to the level it was previously, surrendering your home (in either a Chapter 7 or chapter 13) may be the wisest thing to do from a financial standpoint.  In my Denver, Colorado practice, I receive calls every day from clients facing foreclosure.  They may ask if they can prevent foreclosure, keep the home, and catch up on missed mortgage payments during the bankruptcy process, especially with chapter 13.

For instance, a client may earn $50,000 in gross income, yet have a monthly mortgage payment of over $2,000 and be another $20,000 behind on mortgage payments.  Even catching up on the back monthly mortgage payments (plus interest and the late fees a lender may attempt to tack on) within a 60 month chapter 13 plan may not be realistic.  But, again, my recommendation as to the best option really depends on your entire financial picture.

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