Increasing numbers of home owners are struggling with the decision to walk away from their homes because their mortgages are so far underwater.

Whether it is a good idea or not is an open question with strong arguments on both sides of the decision.

Leaving a home and a mortgage ruins a credit score, complicating future transactions, and makes it more difficult to rent another residence and buy a car.

Despite this potential pain, Glenn Kelman, chief executive of, believes that people should consider giving up.

“I think there are a lot of people who don’t walk away from their house for moral reasons that are economically irrational,” he said.

Some experts believe that credit-evaluation companies will view foreclosures differently in this era. “This is a once-in-a-century real estate market. The question that FICO will be asking itself is, is a foreclosure in 2008 and 2009 the same as a foreclosure in 1998, 1999 or 2003 and 2004?” said Todd J. Zywicki, a bankruptcy expert at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Va.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, Alejandro Lazo (11/29/2009)