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Wendy Rulnick makes some great points in this post. The drawbacks vs. benefits should be explored and analyzed fully before making a decision to pursue a short sale. I would also add: what is the average market time in your area? If it is greater than 90 days and the seller is behind on payments, an inquiry needs to be made to see if the bank will postpone foreclosure proceedings with adequate documentation. I would also recommend giving the buyer a document explaining the short sale process and ask them to sign it. Unfortunately, their agent may not give them this information and you are less likely to have the buyer walk-away if they are fully informed of the process up-front.
I get calls daily from property owners in my Destin FL area who want to do a Short Sale. These are the bullet points from my qualifying conversation with them:
Your lender will want to know what your hardship is. What has changed from when you first took out your mortgage until today -where you can no longer keep up with the payments? If it's not loss of income, unemployment, relocation, medical expenses, divorce, mortgage rate increase or similar, then you probably don't qualify for a Short Sale.
Is your monthly net income less than your total monthly expenses? Include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, food, utilities, child care, alimony, credit card, auto loan, etc. We're not talking vacations, pet grooming, tennis lessons and child's birthday presents! (Yes, I've actually had some of my sellers think those are basic expenses.) Your mortgagee wants to know you are living in an austere manner to try to make your mortgage payments. If not- you probably won't be approved, as I discussed in Qualifying The Short Sale Seller.
Do you have a substantial balance in a non-retirement savings or checking account? If you do, be prepared to give some of it to your lender. For example, if you have $12,000 in savings, your bank might ask for $10,000 as a cash contribution at closing if they approve your Short Sale. Even if you don't have much, they still might ask. I want you to be prepared for that.
Is there a second mortgage, and if so, is it in collections? When your note goes into collections and is being handled by a third party, such as a law firm, be prepared for more stringent Short Sale terms, a greater cash contribution and/or promissory note.
You may be asked to sign a Promissory Note. Ideally, you won't, but if so, most Short Sale lenders will ask for some monies to be paid back at 0% interest over 5-7 years. It may be as little as $5,000. Be prepared.
Have you been making your mortgage payments? If so, know that some lenders won't approve your Short Sale. Why should they? They have 20,000 files before yours from mortgagors that cannot pay, and you are paying. That doesn't mean you won't be approved, for example, if you are taking funds from your retirement or charging basic expenses, or getting cash advances from your credit card to make payments. Be aware, however, that not making payments will affect your credit. It's a personal decision for you to make.
Have you received a Lis Pendens or Summary Judgment notice from your lender? If so, please contact an attorney for legal advice. If you already have a foreclosure sale date, we don't have much time.
As you can see, this qualifying conversation can branch out into many directions, but it is critical to get it right, and inform your seller at the start, before ever beginning the Short Sale process.
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Specializing in real estate sales, short sales and foreclosures on Emerald Coast of Florida: Destin Florida real estate, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Dune Allen, Blue Mountain Beach, Freeport, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field. Call toll-free 1-877-ITS-WNDY (1-877-487-9639) or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
This blog, Wendy Rulnick or Rulnick Realty, Inc. is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax advisor for more information.
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