Walkaway’s Catch-22

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Q: As a single woman a couple of years ago, I bought a loft with a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and no money down. My mortgage will start adjusting in about two years, and I am now about $50,000 upside down. In the meantime, though, I've gotten married (my husband is not on the loan) and we'd like to have a child soon, which won't work in the loft. We are thinking of walking away from the loft and getting some closure on it, so we can move into a home that makes sense for our family. We're also thinking about trying to get a loan modification, although I'd really rather not hold on to the loft. And some people we know have recommended a short sale. I feel like my past decision to buy the loft with that ARM trapped us in this situation. But I also want to know what to do now so we don't get trapped again. A: Between putting no money down and the depreciation in value, you now find yourself, like almost 30 percent of your fellow Americans who own homes, owing more than...