Underwater Mortgage. It’s a situation nobody plans for and everybody hopes to avoid. But with the recent downturn in the economy and the burst of the housing bubble, many Floridians are still facing the problem today. Thankfully, the number of home owners owing more in mortgages than their house is worth—hence underwater—is becoming less, but unfortunately not by much. In 2011, the number of underwater mortgages in Florida was between 42 and 47 percent. Florida trailed behind Nevada and Arizona in the top three with the highest rate of underwater mortgages. By the end of last year, this number had dropped to around 40%. As the housing market continues to rise, many are seeing the value of their home rise. But is it enough? What do you do with an underwater mortgage?

You have plenty of options. You have to do what is best for you. You could reach out to your lender for help. Many are surprised to find their lender will help them with options so they can keep their house.  Lenders do not want to deal with foreclosures either. They will help you find a way to continue paying your mortgage monthly to avoid any negative impact on your credit score.

You also have the option of a short sale or selling your house for a lesser value than what is owed on the mortgage. If you find yourself in a complete financial disaster, you also have the option of filing for bankruptcy.

Whichever you choose, the most important step to take when you find yourself underwater is continuing to make monthly payments and reaching out to your lender for help. It never hurts to ask.

A real estate attorney can also give guidance in this situation. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, that can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.