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Survey: More Say It's O-K to Walkaway when Mortgages are Underwater

September 28, 2010

BOISE, Idaho - One in every 220 homes in Idaho is undergoing some sort of foreclosure process, according to RealtyTrac. At the same time, public support is growing for at least some people who walk away from home loans that are underwater, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Thirty-six percent agree it makes sense to stop making payments in some cases.

Liz Quick is an attorney who counsels homeowners pondering that decision, and she advises having a lawyer or credit counselor look at the original loan documents first.

"You might end up having issues related to your loan, perhaps predatory lending. You may need something looked at so you can see if there's any protection for you within your contract rights."

In Quick's experience, most people don't intend to default on their obligations. Instead, she says, they run through their savings to stay current – and often wait too long to seek help.

"Educating yourself and getting as much information as you can, as early as you can, is always the best advice."

In the Pew survey, the less secure people felt about their finances and the more their homes had dropped in value, the more likely they were to say it's okay to default on a mortgage. The survey, "Walking Away," is online at www.pewsocialtrends.org.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID