Short Sales Explained
Understanding the Short Sale Transaction
A“short sale” is a real estate transaction in which a home seller’s mortgage lender agrees to accept a payoff that is less than the amount owed on the mortgage. When homeowners find themselves with a serious financial hardship, and owe more on the mortgage than the home is worth, a short sale may be a way to avoid foreclosure by negotiating a settlement with the lender.
A successful short sale can be a “win” for all parties involved: the seller is relieved of the financial burden of the mortgage, the losses taken by the lender in the short sale can be significantly less than an eventual foreclosure, and the buyer gets a fair deal on the purchase
Negotiating a short sale is no easy task; therefore, it is highly suggested that homeowners considering a short sale work with a licensed real estate professional who specializes in short sales. An experienced agent/broker will be well qualified to guide a homeowner through the short sale process, facilitate communication and interaction with the lender, assist with collection of lender-required documents, and bring the transaction to a successful close.
What is a HAFA Short Sale?
HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) is a federal government program designed for homeowners who can no longer afford their mortgage payments and wish to avoid the negative impacts of foreclosure when home retention is not an option. Under HAFA, a homeowner can exit home ownership gracefully and without the liability associated with their mortgage debt.
The Benefits of a HAFA Short Sale:
• No Deficiency Judgments
• No Cash Contributions at Closing
• No Promissory Notes
• $3,000 to Seller for Relocation Assistance
• Additional Incentives for Second Mortgages, up to $6,000 more at closing
Eligibility Requirements for a HAFA Short Sale:
• Home must be or have been the primary residence in the last 12 months
• Seller must have a hardship
• First lien mortgage cannot be a government loan
• Mortgage originated on or before January 1, 2009
• Mortgage is delinquent or default is foreseeable
• Current unpaid principle balance is $729,750 or less
For more information about this program, please call me and I will help you better
understand a HAFA short sale.
Do You Qualify for a Short Sale on Your Home?
In the short sale process, you sell your home and settle your mortgage debt for less than the amount owed. You may be eligible to sell your home in a short sale if:
• You have a hardship, such as a job loss, divorce or medical emergency
• You owe more on the mortgage than your house is worth
• You’re unable to afford your current monthly mortgage payment
• You’re unable to modify your current home loan
If you qualify and want to move forward with a short sale, it is highly suggested that you consult with a professional real estate broker/agent who is experienced in short sale transactions. See the “Basic
Steps for a Short Sale” article in this newsletter for a general idea of the process…but keep in mind that the steps may vary depending on the lender requirements and/or the advice of the real estate professional who will guide you through the process.
Know Your Options
Basic Steps for a Short Sale Transaction
It’s highly suggested that you work with a real estate professional who specializes in short sales and is well qualified to help you with these steps:
1. Complete a property valuation analysis – lenders will only approve a short sale if the borrower owes more than the property’s fair market value.
2. Contact the lender for a short sale application.
3. Collect all of the financial data and other information required by the lender – include a fact-based letter detailing borrower’s hardship and current financial situation.
4. List the property for sale.
5. Receive and ratify a purchase contract from a qualified buyer.
6. Send the purchase contract to the lender, along with all of the lender-required documentation (requirements vary from lender to lender).
7. Be persistent, but patient – ideally, it should take 30-45 days for a purchase contract to work its way through the lender’s system, but the process could take longer.
These steps will need to be completed for each lender that is involved and every lender has its own process. Some lenders that are in second position (2nd trust/mortgage) will only start processing their short sale after they’ve received written short sale approval from the first trust. This means that the overall short sale approval process may take twice as long if there are two trusts/mortgages secured by the property.
It is also recommended that you consult with an attorney and/or a licensed tax professional to understand all your obligations relating to a short sale.
ASHORT SALE requires an experienced Real Estate Agent to navigate the transaction. If you have family or friends who need this expertise, please refer them to me for professional guidance.