Friday, November 25, 2011

Reaffirmation Agreements

A reaffirmation agreement is a brand new legal contract that revives your personal liability on the mortgage note – a liability that will otherwise be wiped out when you receive your discharge in your bankruptcy case.

What this means is  if sometime down the road, say, 2 or 5 or 10 years from now, you can no longer afford to make your mortgage payments, your lender would not only be able to foreclose and take your home, but the mortgage company can also file a lawsuit against you for the deficiency from the foreclosure sale (ie, the difference between what you owe on the mortgage loan and the amount the property sold for at the foreclosure sale).  For example, if you owe $200,000 on your mortgage loan, and your home is worth only $150,000 at the time of the foreclosure sale, then if you sign a reaffirmation agreement now, you could legally owe your lender $50,000 even though you no longer own your home.

Your lender will give you reasos to try to get you to sign the reaffirmation agreement which will certainly sound enticing: start receiving monthly billing statements again, reestablish automatic debit payments, and  have your positive payment history reported to the credit reporting agencies.

But you have to ask yourself whether those are nearly good enough reasons to put yourself back on the hook for a liability of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future?   Just keep making your mortgage payments and comply with all the other terms in your mortgage loan documents (property taxes, insurance, etc), and if you have any problems with your lender, then come talk to us.

Now, if your lender is willing to re-negotiate the loan, lower the interest or the principal owed, or somehow entice you into an offer you cannot refuse, then we may be willing to talk about it.

Note: This does not apply to car loans.  You must reaffirm car loans to keep the vehicle.  Ride through  provisions no longer apply to vehicles.