Nearly 40% of homeowners who took out a second mortgage are underwater on their loans, but the news surrounding second mortgages isn’t all doom and gloom for Floridians, says Florida foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim.
Second mortgages refer to any loan taken out on a property that is subordinate to the first mortgage, and include home-equity loans or lines of credit.
According to data from CoreLogic and The New York Times, homeowners with a second mortgage are two times more likely to be underwater on their property. CoreLogic’s data also shows that homeowners with second mortgages are facing deeper levels of negative equity in their homes – $83,000 compared with $52,000 – than borrowers without second mortgages.
The bright side is that Oppenheim Law is seeing massive principal reduction on second mortgages through loan modifications, according to Oppenheim. It’s becoming common for the Florida foreclosure defense law firm to negotiate up to 80% in principal reductions of second mortgages, a far greater percentage than first mortgages.
A vast majority of first mortgages were cut up, bundled and sold to investors as mortgage backed securities, the process that played such an enormous role in the Florida real estate crisis. On the other hand, nearly three-quarters of second mortgages are still held by the banks that made the original loans.
The good news for Florida homeowners is that these banks are beginning to treat second mortgages similarly to consumer credit card debt, accepting minimal “pay offs” to settle up with homeowners.
Homeowners who are willing to negotiate a “short payoff” can have tremendous success reducing their second mortgage principal by 50% to 80% and then paying off the remaining balance in cash. Banks are even starting to solicit Florida homeowners with second mortgages to make initial offers for 40% to 50% reductions, which Oppenheim Law is then able to negotiate to as much as 80%.