Many New Jersey homeowners remember July 2009. The housing market had collapsed and hundreds of thousands of homeowners across the country were either behind on their mortgage debt or in foreclosure. It was during this time that one woman received a heart stopping letter from her mortgage company telling her that if she didn’t pay them a certain amount by within two weeks, she could lose her home.
Even though she had no money, the woman refused to give up. She pulled out an old family recipe and began baking. She was able to sell enough of what she calls Mortgage Apple Cakes to get caught up with her lender. Recently, a movie was made about her ordeal.
Since this woman’s home was in jeopardy, the number of foreclosures in New Jersey has diminished. However, as of the fourth quarter of 2013, one of every six homes was in foreclosure or the owners were behind on their payments. These families, however, do not have the good fortune of being able to bake their way out of their financial problems.
For those homeowners, the solution to their overwhelming mortgage debt could be bankruptcy. Bankruptcy could provide distressed homeowners with the option of keeping their homes through Chapter 13 (reorganization) or walking away from them through Chapter 7 (liquidation). Further, since the expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act on Dec. 31, 2013, homeowners could be taxed on any debt forgiven by lenders (the Act could still conceivably be extended retroactively). However, in bankruptcy, that money is not taxable. Further, filers can deal with their other debts during a bankruptcy as well, providing them with a fresh start with which to start over financially and, perhaps, finally put the financial stresses caused by the recession behind them.
Source: northjersey.com, “TV movie tells story of Teaneck woman who saved house by baking“, Jay Levin, April 11, 2014