Though experts say that the bulk of the nation’s foreclosure crisis is behind us in most parts of the country, there are still several million homeowners in the U.S. who are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments. Some underwater homeowners have considered simply giving up their homes, essentially turning the keys over the lender, in order to get out from under a mortgage they cannot afford. The reasoning is that perhaps the process would be less stressful, and save their credit. But the actuality is quite different.
The process of handing your home over to the lender is called “deed in lieu of foreclosure.” You essentially give the bank back the deed to the home, and save the bank the hassle of having to foreclose in order to take the home back. It should be noted that walking away from a home and simply turning the keys over to the lender will likely be reported the same way a foreclosure would be reported on your credit report. As such, it is likely that doing a deed in lieu deal will not only hurt your ability to seek replacement housing, as landlords across the country now routinely require a credit report as part of the rental process, but may also hurt your employment prospects as well.
Also, when you give up your home you may actually be hit with a tax penalty on the portion of the loan that the bank forgives. This means that after the bank sells the home at auction, you may actually have to pay taxes on the portion that was lost by the bank. There are various tax laws which may come into play with this scenario, including the >Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, but it is a scenario which may completely change any calculus involving give up the home.
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