I read the article in the March 2011 issue of O Magazine ("What To Do When You're Facing Foreclosure"). Although I usually like Ms. Orman's tough-love advice, I disagree with her analysis that the homeowners should sell their home.
Owning a home is the most important investment that a family can make. It usually starts with the family providing a down payment. Ms. Orman's suggestion that the Cartwrights should walk away from their home, pocket the money and move to an apartment is certainly misguided.
Ms. Orman rightfully criticized the government-backed Home Affordable Modification Program. It is true that HAMP's track record for approving loan modifications is somewhat low. This is because most homeowners are not sophisticated enough in the application process.
It is important to note that not pursuing bankruptcy, short sales and other remedies may leave the Cartwrights stuck with a foreclosed home and a large debt load. Bankruptcy could be their only option if they decide to leave. Even though Ms. Cartwright filed for bankruptcy in 2005, Mr. Cartwright could file for bankruptcy to stave off foreclosure proceedings while he negotiates with the bank. Ms. Cartwright is eligible to file for bankruptcy again in 2012 under the old statute.
Further, the Cartwrights should make sure that there are no tax implications from walking away from their home. I don't believe that walking away from their home would make them a good candidate for landlords. It appears that if Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright decided not to pay off their credit card debt, then they would have enough money to pay down their mortgage. The Cartwrights should save their money anyway for their mortgage payments until they receive a final decision from the bank.
The most important thing for them to do is consult an attorney and a tax advisor. Then they should do their own research to get the best result.
Lauren P. Raysor, Esq.
Ms. Raysor is a New York State licensed lawyer and author of "Living the Wealthy Life."