Welcome to the Age Without Personal Responsibility

avatarthumbnail.jpgThis post has been a long time coming, but finally got pushed to the fore by a perfectly timed question on Trulia Voices:

“If my house is upside down, should I just walk away.”

In just 11 words, the questioner has managed to illustrate one of the more troubling aspects of today’s world: an utter lack of personal responsibility.

When I purchased my first house – actually, when I purchased all of my houses – the intent was to find a place to live, a place for my family to spend time and grow. The idea that I might be able to turn the house into an ATM never crossed my mind because, at the end of the day, I wasn’t looking for an investment vehicle. I wanted a home.

I’ve never purchased an automobile expecting it to be worth more than when I first started the engine. In fact, it was abundantly clear to me the car would be worth less with that first start (and each successive start) no matter what. The same can be said for just about everything I’ve purchased, outside of investments such as stocks and mutual funds – computers, appliances, vehicles, PlayStation 2 games, my Wii Fit. All were going to be worth less. Yet for those purchased on credit, the idea of not paying because they were not worth as much never crossed my mind.

If you truly can’t afford the payments for your home, that’s a different situation. But for those who can afford the payments – who have the ability to meet their obligations but simply have decided not to do so – I have next to no sympathy.  Getting spanked on your credit report really doesn’t strike me as enough, but it’s the only hammer available.

What is it many of us say when a professional athlete holds out because they want to renegotiate a contract already in play? “You knew what you were signing so uphold your end of the bargain.”

Of course, it’s hard to blame the general public for this type of attitude. We’re watching Wall Street get bailed out after years of terrible investments. These banks knew what they were doing when they made and bundled the loans, yet they come to Congress hat in hand and beg for assistance now that their bets went bad.

The next time I’m at Casino Arizona and hit on 12 only to see some paint hit the board, please remind me to pull back my bet because the odds weren’t in my favor.

At this point, do I need to answer the original question of whether you should just walk away from your home? Again, if you have no other options, then this screed really doesn’t apply to you. But if you’re doing it just because … try something different, act like an adult and take some responsibility for the decisions you made

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

2 Comments

  • Jim Duncan 9 years ago

    I’ve thought about this a lot lately and it wasn’t until I talked to someone recently in this situation that I came to this almost-conclusion – here’s their scenario.

    They bought for $300k early this year on an 80/20 loan. All was well until she recently got laid off. Within a couple of weeks, he got laid off. Their house is worth >$25-25k less now than when they purchased it.

    What is their incentive to fight the short sale/REO/foreclosure battles when it’s easier and a better financial decision to simply walk away?

    I want people to be responsible, but as we’re seeing now by our “leaders” – responsibility isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, particularly with regards to finances.

  • Jonathan Dalton 9 years ago

    But that would fall under the “unable to make your payments” category, which I can see. But that’s not always the case for the people walking away. Many more are just figuring that since the house is worth less, why bother.

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