Thursday, January 10, 2008


Rough times ahead.

Fueled by the mortgage crisis, personal bankruptcy is reaching all levels of the income spectrum -- from affluent professionals to lower-income subprime borrowers, bankruptcy lawyers said.

"I have doctors, Realtors, mortgage brokers and all kinds of people who had rental properties who are in trouble now," said Andrew Baron, a consumer-bankruptcy lawyer in Orlando. "These are people who never dreamed they'd be facing this kind of situation. And they'll resist until the bitter end before they file bankruptcy."


Exotic interest-only loans or adjustable-rate mortgages with low "teaser" rates lured the rich as well as the not-so-rich, many of whom bought second homes (and sometimes even more) with the intent to quickly resell, or "flip," them at a profit.

When the housing market collapsed, they could find no buyer, leaving them strapped with debt, falling prices and little hope of refinancing.

"We know of a lot of folks who own more properties now than they ever thought they'd still have," said Dan Moisand, a certified financial planner in Maitland and former chairman of the Financial Planners Association of America. "There are many stories out there about flippers who are stuck all over the place."