In this market, many home owners in mortgage trouble don't realize that banks are willing to negotiate terms. Don't think that your only option is foreclosure. Experienced agents can help negotiate with the banks on your behalf. But thats only half the battle. Most real estate agents don't understand the entire process, or how to make sure that all the information provided to the bank can help ensure the highest level of success. It's whats commonly known as a short sale, and many more are appearing lately. The key is to make sure that your agent knows exactly how to qualify and speak with the bank to make sure you can be approved for a short sale. A short sale is when you owe more than what you will be able to sell it for, but the bank agrees to "let go" of the remaining amount owed. But its not that simple. Just because you find yourself in a situation where you owe more than the selling price of the home DOES NOT mean its a short sale. Its imperative that you deal with an agent that knows exactly what will constitute a short sale with the banks.
You may think that, "Well, banks don't want to own my house, so they'll approve the short sale no matter what!" The truth is that about 2/3 of lenders sell your loans to wall street, or investors, and there are clauses in those contracts of sale that may prevent the "easy" short sale.
The best thing to do if you are in a challenging situation, is to call a qualified real estate agent (preferrably a Realtor) to see if they have experience in handling short sales.
Don't ever think that you are without options.
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