Some people should stop paying their home equity loans.

If the value of the combination of your home equity loan and your regular mortgage exceeds the value of your house today, and if you are unable to make full payments on both of them, the best thing to do might be to keep up full payments on your regular mortage and skip payments entirely on the home equity loan.

The reason for this is that the holder of your home equity loan, particularly if it is not the same as the holder of your primary mortgage, is probably not going to foreclose. This is often the case with so-called 80-20 loans in which 20% of the financing came from a home equity loan.

According to the Wall Street Journal more and more home equity loan holders are simply “writing off” the loans when the house value is less than enough to cover both mortgages. They know that if they foreclose on their loan, forcing a house sale, the primary lender has to get paid first and there is unlikely to be anything left for them.

This does not mean that you no longer owe the money. The home equity lender will retain a lien on your house and if you go to refinance or sell, they will show up and demand their money (if there is any left after the primary lender is paid off). But until you refinance or sell, you can forget about the home equity loan and use your money to keep the primary loan current.

This could save your house.

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