It is a complicated problem with no real easy solution. The banks could be more willing to write down mortgage balances to more realistic levels but they seem to fear that it will give the appearance of weakness. Some people may agree with this statement but the reality is that it is terrible business practice for banks to expect borrowers to continue to pay on a loan that is worth two to three times the value of the collateral.
The short sale seems to be the method of choice for banks and it is becoming more and more common. Even without hardship some banks are considering short sales just to clear their books of such liabilities. The percentage of loans that will remain current if they are double the value of the home is very small.
It is worth trying to do a short sale even if you are current on your mortgage and you have no true hardship. Hardship can also be a very broadly defined term and it is up to the banks to make the final judgement as to whether or not they will accept a short sale. If you are in Las Vegas and greatly underwater it is realistic to assume you may never get back to even. Therefore exploring a short sale with or without hardship is the advisable thing to do.
Chris LaHaie Realtor List with Chris Prudential Americana Group, Las Vegas, NV email@example.com