What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is when you sell your home for less than what you still owe on your mortgage. A short sale may be a good solution for you if you owe more money on your home than it’s now valued at or you cannot sell your home for an amount that covers what you still owe on your mortgage. If your lender agrees to a short sale and you manage to sell your home you can then pay off your remaining mortgage balance.

When it comes to real estate, a short sale may not necessarily be the best solution for you, however it is an additional choice to be explored when looking at your financial options. As always, a debt relief attorney with experience in short sales is highly recommended when considering this option.

A few of the benefits of a Short Sale VS a Foreclosure include:

  • The homeowner avoids the foreclosure mark on their credit and the serious damage that goes along with it.
  • The homeowner has additional control over the transaction and the move from the property. With a short sale, you will not come home one day to find your locks have been changed and cannot gain access to your home.
  • The homeowner can avoid the embarrassment and additional stress that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with the foreclosure process. Short sales can be handled quietly and discreetly so your prying neighbors don’t find out what is going on. To the casual observer, the short sale transaction appears to be no different than the process of a traditional sale.
  • In most cases handled by a debt relief attorney, a full release is negotiated with the lender and the borrower is not personally liable to repay the loss taken by the lender.
  • The short sale process can be completed at no cost to the borrower. All sales commissions, costs, title and escrow fees are all paid by the lender.
  • A short sale is an amicable solution for a responsible borrower.

The borrower benefits by having the home sold, paying off the loan balance and having the ability to move at a negotiated time, oftentimes with relocation assistance.

A short sale is an option that helps borrowers avoid foreclosure by selling the property secured by the loan for an amount less than the current outstanding balance on the loan. A short sale offer must be approved by the lender because it is the lender who is taking a loss. The facts and circumstances in which the lender may approve a short sale are analyzed on a case by case basis.

Generally speaking, lenders require the following to take place in order to be eligible for a short sale:

  • The residence must already have been on the market for a certain period of time (usually 90 days).
  • There can be no liens on the property, other than consensual liens. If a borrower has tax or judgment liens against the property, those must be negotiated as part of the short sale process along with any junior liens on the property.
  • The property usually cannot already be in the foreclosure process. While some lenders will allow a short sale after the foreclosure process has been initiated, it is a case by case basis and a debt relief attorney should be consulted to assist you in this regard.
  • Borrower must have a hardship. This is another gray area, as some lenders realize the current state of the housing market and understand some people will strategically default rather than pay a huge mortgage payment on a house that is no longer worth what is owed on the loan. The hardship requirement can be waived by lenders under certain circumstances.
  • House must be priced at a reasonable amount.

You may also have concerns about the possibility of being unable to sell your home even if you qualify for a short sale. If this becomes reality it is possible that you may be able to transfer ownership of your property to the owner of your mortgage to release you from your current mortgage (see Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure).

Contact a reputable debt relief attorney to see if a short sale would be right for you and to find out if you qualify.