The most important question people have when they come to our company about Bankruptcy is normally 'Can I keep my house?' and in many cases the truth is yes, you can manage to keep your house.
The only reason you can be compelled to sell your family home if you file for bankruptcy is actually because you have a lot of equity in the home that it is viewed as an asset. Please check out these straightforward hypothetical case studies below to get your head around Bankruptcy and how it impacts houses in Australia. Remember If you have to know more about Bankruptcy and houses feel free to consult with us here at Bankruptcy Advice Darwin on 1300 879 867, or go to our website: www.bankruptcy-advice.com.au/Darwin.com.au
Case Study 1. (Mike & Sue Smith).
5 years ago Mike and Sue bought a house in a mining town for $450,000. At this time the mining boom was keeping all the property prices nice and high. Now they are needing to look at Bankruptcy given that they have massive debts of $80,000 on top of their mortgage and credit card and tax debt.
They really want to keep their house but wonder if they can, they know that house prices if anything have gone down in the area in the last 5 years so to be safe they think that their house is still only worth $450,000 after all these years, to make sure they searched www.realestate.com.au/ sold section of the website to see what other houses in the streets close by have sold for lately.
However they have not paid any principal of the home loan over the last 5 years, mainly just interest, so they still owe $450,000.
Current House Value = $450,000.
Current Mortgage Value = $450,000.
Net Equity Value = $0.
Because there is no equity in this particular property the trustee will not ask Mike and Sue to sell their home when they go bankrupt, as long as they keep up the mortgage payments then all will be well for them for the 3 years they are in bankruptcy.
At the end of the bankruptcy period the trustee will write to them and ask if they would like to take over ownership of their house again and so long as it has not increased in price over the 3 years they have been bankrupt they will be asked to make an offer to have their house back. This is usually somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000 to cover the legal costs of modifying the land title deed etc.
Now let's look at a slightly different example of Bankruptcy and houses.
Case Study 2. (Bill & Michelle Johnson).
2 years ago Bill and Michelle bought a townhouse in a great suburb of Darwin for $850,000 they tipped in $50,000 as a deposit and now the townhouse two years later is worth $900,000.
Current House Value = $900,000.
Current Mortgage Value = $800,000.
Net Equity Value = $100,000.
Due to a recent business problem Bill is about $240,000 in debt. Michelle who does work in banking has a separate job and no other debt aside from the mortgage. Bill cannot pay his debts therefore he is reviewing Bankruptcy. Michelle is bothered that she too may need to declare bankruptcy or be forced into it due to the house loan.
With this particular case the trustee is required to access or get their hands on Bill's part of the equity which is $50,000 less selling costs. They can do this in a few ways; 1. Have them sell the home. 2. Invite Michelle to buy Bills half of the equity. 3. leave them in the home - but It's very unlikely with this case that the trustee would be happy to leave Bill and Michelle in the house because there is just too much equity.
So Michelle may have the opportunity to purchase Bill's share of the equity by coming up with $50,000 and buying out Bills' half and from that moment its now 100 % Michelle's house.
Property and Bankruptcy in Australia is challenging and complicated, these two case studies above are just the tip of the iceberg as far as your options in Darwin are concerned. If you need to know more about Bankruptcy and houses feel free to call us here at Bankruptcy Advice Darwin on 1300 879 867, or head to our website: www.bankruptcy-advice.com.au/Darwin.com.au.