I agree with the OP.
My favorite saying I love to hear from a mortgage holder is, "I just bought my own home". Well no you have not, you are just renting the home, plus you pay taxes, repairs, and in some cases HOA that is just another rip off of thousands of dollars per year. My favorite thing to ask these new mortgage holders, "how much will you pay to the bank if you complete the loan". Deer in the headlights usually since the fine print of armotization is not even looked at when signing your pocket book away. You will pay 3 times the cost or the original loan plus the structure was worth only 1/2 of the original appraisal when you got the mortgage.
I am not attached to chases 219K underwater condo either. Lived here for three years and now I understand the saying, "mortgage poor". I have never been so broke in my life trying to live the "American Dream". I am ready to walk and go rent for twice the room, and half the price. No repairs, no taxes, no HOA.
I guess I am not the norm since I have never had a emotional attachment to this condo, I am sure its from my monthly stomach ache I have paying both mortgages, HOA, taxes and ins.
A home is where you make it, whether its a apartment, or renting someones home, your name does not have to be on the mortgage in order for it to be your home.
I will not any longer live and die by FICO. As the OP said and what I told my wife months ago, "cash, ATM or no dice". Maybe we all need to try and live under our means and not beyond our means. Buy what we need, not what we want.
Since not paying either mortgages I am paying off debt and stashing money under my mattress. CC are all closed and I will never have them again. Look at what my excellent credit got me into, I know I need a score of 400 to keep me inline for many years to come. Debt is truly dumb...