Customer Reviews: Underwater Home: What Should You Do if You Owe More on Your Home than It's Worth?
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on December 21, 2010
Like so many of our friends and family, my husband and I are underwater in our home. This book allowed us a moment of clarity to set aside our fears and thoughtfully consider our options. Underwater Home is a necessary read for any underwater homeowner wondering how to cope with such a large financial burden. The book addressed each of our concerns about foreclosure, short sale and loan modification clearly and compassionately. It also educated us on the options we have available to us, and how we might begin evaluating them. Although we have a long road ahead, what a relief to have access to trustworthy foreclosure information! If you or someone you know is in this situation, I highly recommend this book.
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on May 30, 2011
If I could give Mr. White a personal hug, my husband AND I would. We have been investigating this housing crisis for a year now and were coming to the same conclusions that this book did. The bank/government are at fault and their propaganda in guilting the consciences of hard-working, tax paying citizens has run its course with us.

Thank you for putting so succinctly, in such easy to understand English, that the contract we signed with the bank, was a two way, JOINT contract. It is not a one way deal whereby the bank loans me money, I in turn owe them my life, and they can now do whatever they like with the housing market without consequence. Thank you for conveying to me that we lived up to the agreement in our contract with the bank that the foreclosure insurance that we paid at closing (as most homeowners do, but don't know it) covered the bank AND that they entered into an agreement with us that should we ever foreclose, that we would forfeit the house to them. Well, here's your house and I lived up to my end of the agreement. You agreed Mr. Big Banker that you would accept my home as collateral. Next, we should sue you for ruining our once perfect credit (800+ scores) as the terms of the contract were met.

Thank you also for bringing to light that the credit score isn't the end all of who we are as people and we can within a short period of time recover from that as well. Another scare tactic of the banks and the government.

There is so much useful and concrete advice in this book that I cannot write enough about it. We had made our decision to walk prior to reading this book but now we do it with the utmost confidence and clarity. Thank you is not enough for the surety your book has brought to our decision.

March 26, 2013
Update. In my first review my only concern if you could call it that was my credit score. Well, less than two years later after walking away, my credit score is 787. And we are enjoying our mountain cabin home we purchased prior to the foreclosure. Too many thank you sentiments to write. Best financial decision we ever made.
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on February 15, 2011
Approximately a year ago I read a remarkable discussion paper authored by Professor White titled Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis in which he presented a refreshing and compelling argument supporting the contention that walking away from underwater mortgages, in many cases, might be the more rational and wise course of action to take. I finished the discussion paper and thought to myself that Professor White needs to write a book on this very important and timely subject. I was delighted to discover that he recently published a book and I didn't hesitate in making the purchase.

If you are underwater on your home mortgage, this book is a must-have. If you have a friend or a family member who is underwater on their home mortgage, or struggling to make sense of the various options available to them, consider a polite way to introduce them to this book. They will be forever grateful for your kindness and thoughtfulness.

What makes this book really unique is that it is written by a lawyer who goes far beyond the typical "just the facts" legalese. Professor White goes the extra mile in helping the reader determine, for themselves, the best course of action to take for their unique situation and to also feel good and confident about their decision. Professor White's insight and thoughtful strategies, along with his easy-to-read writing style, make this book a one-of-kind guide and reference manual setting the standard by which all other books on this topic will be measured in the future. This book is empowering and has a lot of heart.

Reading suggestions: If you are not sure whether walking away from your mortgage is the appropriate thing to do, read the book through rather quickly and don't get bogged down with the details of the various options available to you. If, on the other hand, you've already decided to walk away from your mortgage but want to do it with finesse and confidence, begin reading the book with pencil and tablet handy so you can capture the key points and action items as you go.

Be prepared to receive much more value from this book than the cover price suggests.


Steven Wallace, Co-author - The END TIMES Hoax and the Hijacking of Our Liberty
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on December 26, 2010
I have just finished reading Professor White's book and found it extremely informative. He examines the plight of a homeowner who has an underwater mortgage and provides excellent advice as to the available options. More than that he helps demystify the choices you have and helps remove the emotion involved with the decision to walk away from an underwater mortgage.

He also provides numerous websites and simple calculations that will help you decide what is your best option. His explanations help to reduce the emotional ties a homeowner has to his house, explains them and then encourages you to make a logical decision based upon your own particular situation. He helped me make up my mind as to what I should do and I know can help others who are facing one of the most critical decisions they will ever have to make.

Highly recommend to anyone who is facing an immediate foreclosure situation or would like to know more about this subject.
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on March 18, 2011
First off, for the price, I was expecting way more information than what is in the book. At first glance, it just seems like a high school student trying to meet a word quantity requirement for an essay: overly large font, even larger margins, etc.

Anyway, for the title's question of "what should you do if you owe more on your home than it's worth?" the author has two solutions: strategic default or keep the house. While somewhat informative, I felt that the author never really came to any specific conclusion or made any statement...other than the legal statement at the beginning saying that the book is not meant to give advice, just offer possible courses of action. Fine. He's clearing himself of legal liability, but then the rest of the book is pretty much non-committal as well. White does a great job in explaining why guilt and shame have no place in the decision about what to do in the underwater situation, and even goes on to tell how the industry uses those tactics to keep people paying their mortgages.

But where the book fails, for me, is that White seems to be pushing the strategic default concept a little too hard. I'm open to trying strategic default, but his explanation of the consequences of doing so is sparse. He has some anecdotal material from people whose credit scores weren't too affected by defaulting and purportedly bounced back in a matter of months, but there is no clear connection between how a default affects one's credit scores specifically. Defaulting on a mortgage could free up money to pay off credit card debt which, in turn, would help your credit score increase again, but what if you're not in credit card debt? Then what happens if you default on your mortgage? How low does your score go? It would have been nice to have more expanation and investigation into this aspect. He seems to not have a clear understand of how the credit reporting agencies tally up your FICO score, and brushes it off to say that it's a closely guarded secret.

White also claims that credit scores aren't as important as the agencies would like us to believe. Great, but there is no real evidence to back it up. The author says that it shouldn't hurt your chances of being offered a job (unless you're in a specific job that requires you to handle financial matters) sinceyou can just be honest at the interview and explain why they'd see a default on your credit report, but if I'm going up against other interviewers (and in this job market, that's a given), then all other things being equal, my credit score could hurt my chances of getting that job.

He also explains in some detail what repercussions there could be to defaulting in terms of the banks coming after you for money that is owed. I would have like a more concise compilation of state laws and the options the banks have for recourse. He didn't mention much about one-action statutes.

All in all, if you're looking for a book explaining what a strategic default is or if you're feeling anxious about defaulting as an option, this book does a great job of explaining what a default is and helping to put emotions in perspective. However, if you already know about dafaulting as an option, then this is more of a lightweight read.
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on July 2, 2011
This book is a lifesaver.I feel such relief by learning what I need to know about the mortgage industry. It contains all the information you really want to ask but, were afraid to.
It is like having a real estate Lawyer in the family, giving you all the pertinant information.
Corporations have all the right people to advise them how to handle financial issues.Here is the great advisor for the homeowner, the rest of us.Knowledge is power!
This book is worth every penny! It is a quick read, I was ingrossed in it.
Honestly, It is the book the lenders do not want you to read!
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on June 8, 2012
of allowing my first home to go to foreclosure. If your house is underwater, you must read this book. For the longest time, I had an emotional attachment to my first house. I eqated it with my freedom, and the fact that no one could make me leave, as long as I followed the rule (make payments on time). In reality, I was burdened with a property that would never gain back it's value, and would also drag me down with it due to major repairs. It was and still is in a neighborhood that is inundated with uncontrolled violence.

If I hand't read this book, I would still be putting my life and health in danger every day. The biggest thing that I got from this book was an ability to step back and view my home objectively, not as a feeling, but as a real thing; as though it were a business transaction, and not the vessel for many happy memories.

This book was given to me as a gift. I consider it one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.
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on March 7, 2011
This book is entertaining, informative and well written. It is a clear, concise and plain language analysis of a complex and often missunderstood subject.
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on February 14, 2013
Our attorney recommended this book to us when we approached him about advising us on a short sale. As the other reviewers have stated, this book is invaluable if your home is underwater. In addition to outlining the main options available to underwater homeowners (staying in your home and continuing to pay the mortgage, mortgage modification, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, and foreclosure), the author takes you through the emotions that you might be feeling regarding walking away, highlights the double standard in our society (businesses strategically default on debt all of the time without any of the social stigma that homeowner's have for doing the same thing), and outlines ways to analyze your finances to decide which option is right for you. The book helped convince us that a deed in lieu of foreclosure was a better option than a short sale and we are glad we did it. We completed a deed in lieu of foreclosure in about 6 months from start to finish with no additional money owed to the bank and a drop in our credit score of about 50 points as of about 6 months after the home officially transferred back to the bank. Without Professor White's compassionate and informed advice, we would have been lost in this process. Instead, we read his book, were empowered, and definitely made the right decision for our family.
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on November 2, 2011
I am so glad I purchased this book. It gave me the basics of what I need to know regarding my intent to pursue a strategic default on my underwater mortgage. This book is well-written and an easy read. I highly recommend!
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