I had a tenant lined up before I even started looking for the house. I got it (tax sale) for a bit over half of appraised value). Now I will use my mortgage to build up my credit. When possible (about 2013), I will start to get lots of credit cards. If SHTF looks imminent, I will use the cards to buy gold coins and other preps, "lose" all my $ at casinos, and take a bankruptcy. Contrary to what you may believe, this is not criminal fraud. No one can prove the necessary "intent to defraud". It's just a "civil failure to pay" situation. Naturally, I would not do this unless forced to by circumstances, because I'd lose the 20k downpayment on the house. However, it's a great way to have a major amount of $ to leave the US with, if that's ever necessary. It's quite feasible to have 1/2 million $ in this way, in 4 years or so.