Losing your house: Just how much do you understand about Going Bankrupt in Australia?

The greatest question a lot of people have when they come to our business regarding Going Bankrupt is simply ‘Can I manage to keep my house?’ and sometimes the truth is yes, you can keep your house.


The only reason you are going to be driven to sell your family home when you file for bankruptcy is due to the fact that you have a great deal of equity in the home that it is deemed an asset. Please check out these straightforward hypothetical case studies below to get your head around Going Bankrupt and how it affects houses in Australia. Remember If you have to know more about Going Bankrupt and houses feel free to get in touch with us here at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575, or go to our website: http://www.bankruptcyexpertsAustralia.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 Going Bankrupt given that they have massive debts of $80,000 on top of their mortgage and credit card and tax debt.

They really wish 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 home is currently only worth $450,000 after all these years, to make sure they searched http://www.realestate.com.au/ sold section of the website to see what other homes in the streets nearby have sold for recently.

Having said that 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 house when they go bankrupt, as long as they keep up the mortgage payments then all will be well for these people for the 3 years they are in bankruptcy.

At the end of the bankruptcy period of time the trustee will write to them and ask if they want to take over ownership of their house again and as long as it has not grown 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 Going Bankrupt and houses.

Case Study 2. (Bill & Michelle Johnson)

2 years ago Bill and Michelle bought a townhouse in a nice suburb of Australia 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.

As a result of a recent business failing Bill is about $240,000 in debt. Michelle who works in banking has a separate job and no other debt aside from the mortgage. Bill cannot pay his debts therefore he is reviewing Going Bankrupt. Michelle is bothered that she too may need to declare bankruptcy or be forced into it due to the house loan.

Within this particular case the trustee is required to access or get their hands on Bill’s half 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 in 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 be capable 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 Going Bankrupt in Australia is challenging and demanding, these two case studies above are just the tip of the iceberg as far as your options in Australia are concerned. If you need to know more about Going Bankrupt and houses feel free to call us here at Bankruptcy Australia on 1300 795 575, or head to our website: http://www.bankruptcy-australia.net.au


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