The Underwater Mortgage Escape Plan

Updated on March 22, 2020 Updated on March 22, 2020
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House that is underwater
Table of Contents  
  1. Show Notes

Are you stuck with a mortgage that is under water?  We’ll craft an escape plan so you can save money and move on.

An underwater mortgage means the balance remaining on the mortgage is higher than the fair market value of your home.  In other words, you owe the bank more money than your home is worth.

A lot of people found themselves in this situation when the economy crashed in 2008.  Even at that time, interest rates were lower than you will generally average in the market.  And mortgage interest is tax deductible.  Money tied up in a house is inaccessible.  You can pull money out of the market and have cash in hand within a few days.

If you’re underwater, don’t overpay on your mortgage.  You’re only tying up more money.  Invest that money and get your average 7%.

Give some thought to doing what Matt did when he found himself underwater.  He moved in with his brother, paying a very low amount of rent and rented out his condo.  In some cases you can get more in rent than what you are paying for your mortgage.  You just need a friend or relative willing to give you cheap rent.

A big housing bust like the one we had in 2008 doesn’t occur very often.  If you can afford your mortgage payments, hold onto the house.  Eventually you will be above water and can sell the house if you decide to.  And maybe live in an apartment for a bit.  Owning a home is not all it’s cracked up to be and not necessarily still a part of the “American Dream.”

Show Notes

Mint:  Track your spending.

Betterment:  The easy way to invest.

Vanguard:  Among the lowest fees in the industry.


Candice Elliott - Senior Editor Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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