Society Needs to Stick to its Commitments

Every now and then I answer questions submitted by buyers and sellers on Trulia, an online real estate search site, which allows people to connect with knowledgeable local real estate agents. Lately I have seen an alarming trend with a few sellers out there who think they can take advantage of the current mortgage and economic mess. That trend is called bailing on your mortgage when you can readily pay.

A few weeks ago, one home seller admitted he was able to keep current with the mortgage he has on a rental property. The rent covers the mortgage, but the house is worth less that what he owes. So he wanted to know if it would be OK for him to stop paying on his rental and just let it slip into foreclosure….all because it is worth less. Now, his home is not even for sale, so there is no need to talk about a short sale. He just wants to jump into the “poor me” foreclosure pool and use the foreclosure mess as an excuse. Heaven forbid a home be worth less.

Just today, another gentleman wants to refinance his first mortgage so it is less, but bail on the second mortgage and stop paying, because he feels they won’t try and foreclose on him. It seems he just wants to take advantage of the system and save a few bucks.

See, this is what is wrong in America today, lack of personal responsibility. People want to have it all, but when the time comes to pay the piper, they whine and cry and try to make everyone feel sorry for them. Look folks, if you take out a mortgage and you agree to pay it back, then do everything in your power to live up to that agreement. Not only did you sign the “promissory note” (meaning you promise to pay it back), but you have a moral obligation to live up to your word.

I recall a scene in “Jerry McGuire”, when the football stars dad promises Jerry with a handshake, that they will sign with him for representation. He says something to the effect, “my word is stronger than oak”. Not surprisingly, later we find his word is worthless, as he signs his son up with another agent.

It used to be that no one signed documents to make a deal…a handshake was all you needed and the word of honor. But today, we have pages and pages of legal papers that must be signed when any deal involves money.

It used to be, that ones signature, and the word of honor, was all one needed to rest assured he would be paid back. But today, a signature means nothing. Personal responsibility is a thought of the past. Society no longer applies moral code to itself. It is an “everyone for himself” world now.

When are we, as a society, going to say enough is enough? When are we going to stop this madness of looking to the government for bailouts? When are we, as Americans, going to bring back a moral code that stresses personal responsibility? Until we turn the tide and do this, expect more questions from home owners on Trulia, asking if it is all right to bail on a commitment they know they can fulfill.

We need to cut off the life line of taking the easy way out.

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