How and Why to do a Short Sale

A short sale in Orange County, California may bring its share of headaches, but make no mistake,  it is a whole lot better than going through a foreclosure. I’ll cover everything you need to know about short sales.

With a looming foreclosure, some people believe their best option is to stay in the home until they’re forced to leave. But in most cases a short sale will save the seller and the bank a lot of headache and money.

A short sale is an agreement between you and your lender that your home will sell for less than you owe the bank. It might be hard to believe that a bank would willingly lose money and allow you to avoid a foreclosure. It can often be in the bank’s best interest.

Why Would a Lender Agree to a Short Sale?

Whether the lender forecloses on your home and sells it at auction, or allows you to short sell it at a loss, they are still going to lose money. Either way, it is unlikely that the price ultimately received will be any higher than fair market value.

In fact, the bank will probably get less money at a foreclosure auction then they could through a short sale.

This is because buyers cannot use typical mortgage financing to buy at auction. They must have the cash on hand (literally, they need to have cashier’s checks on hand to participate in the auction). This means the pool of buyers at auction is primarily made up of cash investors, and investors are only looking for one of two things: Deals & Steals.

By approving a short sale, the lender opens up their pool of potential buyers to the general population. In today’s seller’s market, this almost always catches a better price than a cash investor would be willing to pay.

Advantages of a Short Sale Process

Be a homeowner again more quickly

If you experience a foreclosure, bankruptcy, or short sale, it will affect your approval for financing in the future. The waiting period after a foreclosure is 7 years for most loan programs, but only 3 years for short sales.

By selling short today, instead of going into a foreclosure, you are keeping your options open in the future.

Help your community’s home values

The bank will likely get more money from a short sale than it would from foreclosure. Short sales actually help maintain property values. This is because the sale of your home will be used as a “comp” when valuing surrounding homes in the neighborhood.

How to Proceed with a Short Sale

The short sale process is more complicated than a typical home sale. Evidence is required to show the bank why you should be considered for a short sale. You’ll need to write a hardship letter that explains why you can’t make payments and that you have little to no equity in your home.

The steps involved can also vary from lenders and types of loans such as Conventional, FHA, and VA. There are many parties involved: multiple departments or points of contact at the bank and the loan servicing company.

A good Realtor that knows his way through this process is probably the best first step when starting down this road. Short sales are more complicated. There will need to be negotiations with the bank, you don’t want to take on this project alone.



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