Many homeowners behind on their mortgages stopped paying because they simply didn't have the money. A growing number, though -- one in eight, by some counts -- defaulted on purpose.
They're generally far underwater on their mortgages and want their lenders to foreclose because they want out. When stories started popping up several years ago, they were all anecdotal because no one was attempting to count. Now researchers are finding that these walkaway borrowers are pretty numerous -- and debate is raging about whether it's a reasonable reaction to a difficult situation or a selfish move that damages neighborhoods.
I thought you all would like to get to know a walker. What triggers such a decision? What is life like afterward?
Wallace Farmer, who left his home in Baltimore this summer, agreed to share his experience. He's part of the community of commenters here, so some of you already know a bit of his story.
Boiling a complicated situation down, he came to the city five years ago with plans of living as an urban pioneer and owning one rental on the side as a long-term investment. He left with savings shot, credit ruined and not one or even two but rather three mortgages defaulted.
How he ended up with two investment properties when he only intended to have one, and why he cut ties with a home he loved, is a boom-and-bust tale. You'll find the story here.