Underwater on your mortgage?

Mortgage payment got you down? Negative equity giving you the blues?

The LA Times discovers the ultimate antidote to negative equity:
In what appears to be the latest symptom of the nation's mortgage meltdown and credit crisis, insurers, law enforcement officials and state agencies nationwide report a jump in home and automobile fires in the last year believed to have been set by owners unable to pay their debts. The numbers are small, but they're leading the insurance industry to scrutinize more closely what seem to be accidental blazes.

"We've seen a dramatic increase in this kind of fraud," said Dan Bales, director of fraud investigations at Mercury Insurance. "People upside-down on their house with variable-interest-rate loans, or upside-down on their cars, are pretty quick to burn their property right now."


Get arson when you get the blues
Hey, get arson when you get the blues
Get a gas can full of premium
Throw a match and just get gone
Get arson when you get the blues


Of course, for those with legal, moral, or safety concerns, there are milder remedies:
Joan Shaffer is turning in the keys of the north Phoenix Tatum Ranch home she bought with her daughter in late 2005. They put nothing down on the home, took out a loan that let them pay less than they owed each month and now their loan is $200,000 more than the house is worth.

"We paid $585,000. It was the peak of the market, but no one told us," said Shaffer, a real-estate agent from Colorado. "We would probably have to spend the next 20 years trying to get right on the mortgage. That's crazy."

I hope she sent a thank-you note with the keys. That's hospitality!

Jingle mail
Jingle mail
Jingle all the way!


Key rule for California (and many other states') homedebtors: while you are free to walk away from a purchase loan, most refinance loans are "recourse" loans, meaning the bank could come after your wages and assets if you try to walk. So don't refinance if you think you might want to play Jingle Mail some day.

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