What is a Short Sale (Short Payoff)
What is a Short Sale all About??
A Short Sale Can Be Difficult and Stressful, but Successful.
A Short Sale in real estate is not always a pleasant transaction.
There are many ways to lose a home but signing away ownership in a manner that destroys credit, embarrasses the family and strips an owner of dignity is one of the hardest. For owners who can no longer afford to keep mortgage payments current, there are alternatives to bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings. One of those options is called a “short sale.”
More than half of my sales in Sacramento over the past few years are short sales. That’s how prominent short sales have become.
When lenders agree to do a short sale in real estate, it means the lender is accepting less than the total amount due. Not all lenders will accept short sales or discounted payoffs, especially if it would make more financial sense to foreclose; moreover, not all sellers nor all properties qualify for short sales.
If you are considering buying a short sale, there could be drawbacks. For your protection, I suggest that all borrowers:
- Obtain legal advice from a competent real estate lawyer
- Call an accountant to discuss short sale tax ramifications
As a real estate agent, I am not licensed as a lawyer nor a CPA and cannot advise on those consequences. Except for certain conditions pursuant to the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, be aware the I.R.S. could consider debt forgiveness as income, and there is no guarantee that a lender who accepts a short sale will not legally pursue a borrower for the difference between the amount owed and the amount paid. In some states, this amount is known as a deficiency. A lawyer can determine whether your loan qualifies for a deficiency judgment or claim.
Although all lenders have varying requirements and may demand that a borrower submit a wide array of documentation, the following steps will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Call the Lender
You may need to make a half dozen phone calls before you find the person responsible for handling short sales. You do not want to talk to the “real estate short sale” or “work out” department, you want the supervisor’s name, the name of the individual capable of making a decision.
Submit Letter of Authorization
Lenders typically do not want to disclose any of your personal information without written authorization to do so. If you are working with a real estate agent, closing agent, title company or lawyer, you will receive better cooperation if you write a letter to the lender giving the lender permission to talk with those specific interested parties about your loan. The letter should include the following:
o Property Address
o Loan Reference Number
o Your Name
o The Date
o Your Agent’s Name & Contact Information
Preliminary Net Sheet
This is an estimated closing statement that shows the sales price you expect to receive and all the costs of sale, unpaid loan balances, outstanding payments due and late fees, including real estate commissions, if any. Your closing agent or lawyer should be able to prepare this for you, if you do not know how to calculate any of these fees. If the bottom line shows cash to the seller, you will probably not need a short sale.
The sadder, the better. This statement of facts describes how you got into this financial bind and makes a plea to the lender to accept less than full payment. Lenders are not inhumane and can understand if you lost your job, were hospitalized or a truck ran over your entire family, but lenders are not particularly empathetic to situations involving dishonesty or criminal behavior.
Proof of Income and Assets
It is best to be truthful and honest about your financial situation and disclose assets. Lenders will want to know if you have savings accounts, money market accounts, stocks or bonds, negotiable instruments, cash or other real estate or anything of tangible value. Lenders are not in the charity business and often require assurance that the debtor cannot pay back any of the debt that it is forgiving.
Copies of Bank Statements
If your bank statements reflect unaccountable deposits, large cash withdrawals or an unusual number of checks, it’s probably a good idea to explain each of those line items to the lender. In addition, the lender might want you to account for each and every deposit so it can determine whether deposits will continue.
Comparative Market Analysis
Sometimes markets decline and property values fall. If this is part of the reason that you cannot sell your home for enough to pay off the lender, this fact should be substantiated for the lender through a comparative market analysis (CMA). Your real estate agent can prepare a CMA for you, which will show prices of similar homes:
o Active on the market
o Pending sales
o Solds from the past six months.
Purchase Agreement & Listing Agreement
When you reach an agreement to sell with a prospective purchaser, the lender will want a copy of the offer, along with a copy of your listing agreement. Be prepared for the lender to renegotiate commissions and to refuse to pay for certain items such as home protection plans or termite inspections.
Now, if everything goes well, the lender will approve your short sale. As part of the negotiation, you might ask that the lender not report adverse credit to the credit reporting agencies, but realize that the lender is under no obligation to accommodate this request. Credit report status is not always negotiable.
Know Your Options
These days you have to know your options. If your buying a home you have to know your options. If your selling your home, you need to know your options. If you are trying to loan mod or short sale, well you know the answer. Know your options!
Luckily Fannie Mae has created a web site that answers a lot of questions if you have a Fannie Mae loan. They will explain options to stay in your home or options to leave your home. They also offer in person or telephone support to answer your questions.
So your probably thinking, “Do I have a Fannie Mae loan?” Well here’s how you can find out. Go to Fannie Mae Lookup and see if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae. All you do is input your address and answer a couple of questions and it will tell you on the spot if you have a Fannie Mae loan.
The same goes for Freddie Mac. They have created a website that can answer the question if your loan is owned by Freddie. Go to Freddie Mac lookup and see if your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac.
Next thing you want to do is is visit Know Your Options by Fannie Mae and read all the valuable information on how they can help you resolve your issue. Then contact me. I can help you along the way and guide you through this sometime, troublesome process. My contact information is below.
Being put in a situation of loosing your home is a tough pill to swallow. For most homeowners, a short sale is the best alternative after weighing all the options. We can help you figure out and teach you all the different option you have. We will put you in contact with our certified short sale specialists that will sit down with you, listen to why you are facing this situation, explain all the options you have and be there to answer all the questions you will have. We are good people here to help good people. Contact us and we’ll setup an appointment to meet confidentially at your home if you wish. All at no costs to you.(That’s an option you may or may not of known of)
Certified Short Sale Specialists
Home Living Tree is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. If you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your home and damage your credit rating.