Should I Stay or Should I Go? Options for Underwater Homeowners in California


After almost five years, the U.S. housing market continues to struggle. California has been particularly hard hit. Zillow reported in August 2011 that housing values in California dropped 7.2% between 2010 and 2011. Different sources estimate that between one-quarter and one-third of California homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. In some regions, such as the Inland Empire and the Sacramento area, 50% of homeowners are believed to be underwater.

If you are one of the many homeowners who owe more on your mortgage than your house is worth, there are several options available to you; however, each has its drawbacks. The following is a guide to navigating the financial and legal considerations, and understanding your options if you have an underwater home.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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