Mortgages & Home Loans Real Estate Resources What Is Wrong With Buy and Bail? Buying a New Home and Sending the Old Home Into Foreclosure By Elizabeth Weintraub Elizabeth Weintraub Facebook Twitter Elizabeth Weintraub is a nationally recognized expert in real estate, titles, and escrow. She is a licensed Realtor and broker with more than 40 years of experience in titles and escrow. Her expertise has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CBS Evening News, and HGTV's House Hunters. learn about our editorial policies Updated on March 1, 2022 Reviewed by Doretha Clemon Reviewed by Doretha Clemon Doretha Clemons, Ph.D., MBA, PMP, has been a corporate IT executive and professor for 34 years. She is an adjunct professor at Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, Maryville University, and Indiana Wesleyan University. She is a Real Estate Investor and principal at Bruised Reed Housing Real Estate Trust, and a State of Connecticut Home Improvement License holder. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Ariana Chávez Fact checked by Ariana Chávez Ariana Chávez has over a decade of professional experience in research, editing, and writing. She has spent time working in academia and digital publishing, specifically with content related to U.S. socioeconomic history and personal finance among other topics. She leverages this background as a fact checker for The Balance to ensure that facts cited in articles are accurate and appropriately sourced. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: jsolie / E+ / Getty Images Buy and bail is the result of buying a new home with the intention of sending the former home into foreclosure. It is considered mortgage fraud. Even extenuating circumstances do not give a homeowner the right to commit mortgage fraud. Extenuating Circumstances for Buy and Bail Sometimes homeowners feel justified because they believe they were duped when they bought their existing home. A few of the reasons buy and bail borrowers feel misled are as follows: Mortgage representative did not thoroughly explain the consequences of the financing such as adjustable-rate loans will adjust or interest-only payment options do not pay down the principal. The real estate agent led the buyer to believe that home values can never fall. In markets where values fall and the buyer has invested little or nothing toward equity, the home can be worth less than the amount owed to the bank. The bank might have promised the buyer that a refinance would always be an option and then changed lending guidelines, which made obtaining a new loan impossible. Under any of the above scenarios, the homeowner might feel cornered and pressured into letting the home go into foreclosure but does not want to give up the right of homeownership. In the minds of these homeowners, they feel the circumstances warrant deception because they were deceived. However, it does not change the fact that buy and bail constitutes mortgage fraud and is against the law. How Does It Work? Buy and bail involves lying. It typically involves drawing up a phony rental agreement and presenting this false documentation to the lender. Let's follow the steps that a mythical homeowner—we'll call him Claude—would follow: First, Claude decides that—for whatever reason—his home no longer suits his purposes. Since Claude cannot obtain a new mortgage loan after a short sale or foreclosure, he sets out to find a home to buy before going into default on the existing mortgage. Claude writes a purchase offer on the new home and submits a loan application. The lender asks Claude for a rental agreement to show that a tenant will move into Claude's old home and make rental payments to Claude. Claude asks his buddy Clyde to sign a rental agreement, even though Clyde has no intention of moving into or renting Claude's old home. He submits this fake rental agreement to the lender. The lender approves Claude's new mortgage and funds the loan. Claude never makes another payment on his old home. A Notice of Default is filed and the home goes into foreclosure, subsequently going back to the bank. Claude's credit is ruined, but he doesn't care because he's already bought a new home and has no intention of moving for a long time. Why Is It Against the Law? In Claude's case, he falsified loan documents and deliberately lied on his loan application. That is mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud happens when a borrower withholds information—such as a deliberate intent to stop making payments to another creditor—or falsifies information—either of which would cause the new lender to reject the loan if the lender knew about it. It's also considered fraud to lie on a loan application and produce false documents to the lender. The FBI defines mortgage fraud as any "material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omissions relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan." I don't know about you, but I would not want to mess with the FBI. At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, License #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, CA. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Fannie Mae. "Mortgage Fraud Prevention." FBI. "Mortgage Fraud Report 2008."