Need to Sell your Home Short Sale?
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A short sale happens when you sell your house for less than your remaining mortgage balance, the proceeds of which go to the lender and in return the lender forgives the remaining balance. Selling your home as a short sale is one way to avoid foreclosure.
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Foreclosure situations are extremely time sensitive.
A short sale is indeed an alternative to foreclosure for homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments and are at risk of losing their homes. Here are some key points to understand about short sales:
1. **Definition**: A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the homeowner, with the approval of their lender or mortgage servicer, sells their home for a price that is less than the remaining balance on their mortgage.
2. **Reasons for Short Sale**: Homeowners opt for short sales when they can no longer afford their mortgage payments, and the home’s current market value is less than what they owe on the mortgage. This situation is often due to financial hardship, such as job loss, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses.
3. **Approval from Lender**: To proceed with a short sale, the homeowner must obtain approval from their lender or mortgage servicer. Lenders are not obligated to agree to a short sale, and they may consider factors like the homeowner’s financial situation, the property’s market value, and the potential costs of foreclosure.
4. **Deficiency**: In some states, after a short sale, the homeowner may still owe the lender the difference between the sale price of the home and the remaining mortgage balance. This is known as a deficiency. It’s important to understand your state’s laws regarding deficiencies and to discuss this with your lender.
5. **Waiver of Deficiency**: Homeowners who want to avoid being liable for the deficiency should request that the lender waives it. This means the lender forgives the right to collect the remaining amount. It’s crucial to obtain a written agreement for the waiver and keep it for your records.
6. **HUD-Approved Housing Counselor**: Seeking the assistance of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselor is highly recommended when considering a short sale. These counselors can provide guidance on the process, help you understand your options, and assist with the necessary paperwork.
7. **Relocation Assistance**: Some private programs, often referred to as “cash-for-keys,” may offer homeowners financial incentives to voluntarily leave the property after a short sale. These programs are designed to help homeowners transition to a new living situation.
In summary, a short sale can be a viable option for homeowners facing financial hardship and the possibility of foreclosure. However, it’s a complex process that requires lender approval and careful consideration of potential deficiencies. Seeking the guidance of housing counselors and understanding your rights under your state’s laws is essential when pursuing a short sale.
- Read additional information from the National Association of Realtors about Short Sales.
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Sissy Dufrene is CDPE Certified. (Certified Distressed Property Expert)
Alternatives to a Short Sale
If you’re underwater on your mortgage and can’t keep the home, a short sale may seem like the only way to avoid foreclosure. But other foreclosure alternatives may be available to you.
Discuss your situation with your lender to determine whether you’re eligible for a loan modification wherein the lender changes the terms of the existing loan to eliminate the need for a short sale (for example, by reducing the principal), or a mortgage refinancing (replacing it with a new one).