Short Sale Legal Issues Affecting Real Estate Agents Part #5

Real Estate Agent with BHHS Fox & Roach |

Great Series... A Good Read... Just read parts #1 through #5 in one sitting. Great job Drew!

Check it out for yourself!

Short Sale Legal Issues Affecting Real Estate Agents Part #5

The previous posts in this Short Sale Legal Issues Affecting Real Estate Agents series were on 04/23/10, 04/28/10, 4/30/10 & 05/07/10


This series of posts is meant to assist real estate agents in recognizing: 

  1. Legal & Tax Issues their clients are exposed to through a short sale.
  2. The legal liabilities agents may expose themselves to when representing short sale sellers. 

Disclaimer:  This series is not intended to advocate the hiring of attorneys and CPA's for short sales, but rather that agents should fully research and be aware of the potential legal liabilities and tax issues for themselves and their clients.

A decent portion of the feedback I've been getting on this series is from agents stating they have no need for attorneys or CPA's.  That may be true, but it also may be a disservice to their short sale seller clients.  There can be so many convoluted legal & tax issues involved in a short sale and they're often overlooked by agents. 

Not that attorneys or CPA's are perfect either.  I recently referred a short sale seller to an attorney I prefer, after a very disappointing conversation with the attorney they had found on their own.  The attorney was the infamous, "jack of all trades, master of none" type that was just looking for a pay day, but barely knew the basics of short sales.  So, be careful who you refer your clients to!

Short Sale Issues Agents & Sellers May NOT Even be Aware of

These legal & tax issues may not come up on every short sale, but if they do come up & are missed, the ramifications could lead to a lawsuit against an agent.  Most of these are serious legal or tax issues.  An agent should proceed with extreme caution if they choose to address these on their own or ignore them.

  • What figure should go on line 7 of a 1099-C and can it be negotiated?
  • How much in taxes will a seller owe on a potential 1099?
  • Would it be better to rent the property, even at a loss, rather than pay the 1099 taxable amount?
  • When is it better to sign a Promissory Note as opposed to accepting a possible deficiency judgment or 1099?
  • Was there a Truth-in-Lending violation by the lender that can be leverage in negotiations?
  • What happens if a seller gets both a 1099 and a deficiency judgment?
  • When should a seller consider bankruptcy?  What type?
  • What actions can a seller take now to protect their assets if they're later forced into bankruptcy by a deficiency judgment?
  • How can a seller structure a short sale to make sure they qualify for a Chapter 7 versus being forced into a Chapter 13?
  • What legal issues does a seller expose themselves to when having someone buy their short sale to then rent, lease-option, or contract to sell back to them?
  • Should a seller disclose a non-arms length short sale to their lender to avoid a future fraud lawsuit?
  • When can IRS Form 982 be used and how?
  • Will there be a capital gain issue in addition to a 1099 or deficiency judgment?
  • If the seller moves out of the property, how to keep lender from considering it abandoned & accelerating the foreclosure process?
  • What happens if a 2nd lien holder discharges their Mortgage security instrument, but enforces their Promissory Note and gets a judgment against the seller before the short sale closes?
  • Will a short sale lead a seller's lender to investigate their mortgage application and are there issues there that could lead to charges of fraud against the seller?
  • Will there be a state tax on any forgiven debt, even if seller qualifies for the federal exemption?
  • If the property is a condo, how should any past due association fees be handled?

Stay tuned for the last post in this series...


NOTE: if you're the impatient type and don't want to wait to read the series as it's published, I'll send you the complete whitepaper for the series when you do ALL of the following: 

  1. Post a constructive comment on one of the posts in the series
  2. Reblog one of the posts in the series
  3. Make me an associate of yours on ActiveRain (go here:
  4. Join my Fanpage @ and send me a message there requesting the whitepaper with your email address.

If you're a Michigan agent, I'd also very much appreciate you joining a new AR group specifically for Michigan real estate professionals willing to share marketing and social media ideas with each other.

Thanks for reading and I hope you spread the word.


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Drew Sygit: CMPS, CMC, CRMS, CMLO, CALO, MBA, NAMB/MAMP Instructor & Speaker
The most Certified Mortgage Expert in the Midwest

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P: 248-356-3739 • F: 866-215-3755 •


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Loan Survivor Real Estate Financing Expert
Purchases, First Time Buyers, Pre-Approvals, Refinance - Birmingham, MI

thanks so much for reblogging me:)

May 18, 2010 03:07 PM #1
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Letitia Stevenson

Delaware Valley Real Estate, Lic'd in DE, PA & MD
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