ABSTRACT: This article explores the contributions of neoliberal practice to the expansion of homeownership and the foreclosure crisis to illuminate the contradictions between the rhetorical goals of homeownership and the actual experiences of new homeowners. In doing so we explore the theories and practices that homeowners deploy to try to survive and keep their lives together. First, we review the aspects of housing policy in neoliberal regimes that led many of the homeowners we studied into both homeownership and foreclosure. In the second part, we analyze conversations from 14 focus groups in five cities with homeowners threatened with foreclosure to understand how neoliberal rhetoric and practices participated in their buying and potentially losing their homes and how they come to understand and act on their experiences of threat and failure. We conclude by redefining the foreclosure crisis and discussing the political moment of challenge to neoliberalism it created.