Short Sale Process
The Short Sale Process
SHORT SALE INFORMATION
Please contact Scott Zeller for a free consultation if you are thinking about a short sale on your home. Scott has much experience in the short sale process and can help you avoid foreclosure!
A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property's loan. It often occurs when a borrower cannot pay the mortgage loan on their property, but the lender decides that selling the property at a moderate loss is better than pressing the borrower. Both parties consent to the short sale process, because it allows them to avoid foreclosure, which involves hefty fees for the bank and poorer credit report outcomes for the borrowers. This agreement, however, does not necessarily release the borrower from the obligation to pay the remaining balance of the loan, known as the deficiency.
In a short sale, the bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance because of an economic or financial hardship on the part of the borrower. The home owner/debtor sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender. Neither side is "doing the other a favor;" a short sale is simply the most economical solution to a problem. Banks will incur a smaller financial loss than would result from foreclosure or continued non-payment. Borrowers are able to mitigate damage to their credit history, and partially control the debt. A short sale is typically faster and less expensive than a foreclosure. It does not extinguish the remaining balance unless settlement is clearly indicated on the acceptance of offer.
Lenders often have loss mitigation departments that evaluate potential short sale transactions. The majority have pre-determined criteria for such transactions, but they may be open to offers, and their willingness varies. A bank will typically determine the amount of equity (or lack thereof), by determining the probable selling price from an appraisal, Broker Price Opinion (abbreviated BPO), or Broker Opinion of Value (abbreviated BOV).
Lenders may accept short sale offers or requests for short sales even if a Notice of Default has not been issued or recorded with the locality where the property is located. Given the unprecedented and overwhelming number of losses that mortgage lenders have suffered from mortgage failures that in part triggered the financial crisis of 2007–2010, they are now more willing to accept short sales than ever before. For "under-water" borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth and are having trouble selling, this presents an opportunity for them to avoid foreclosure as a result.
Short sales are different from foreclosures in that a foreclosure is forced by a lender, whereas both lender and borrower consent to a short sale. However, this consent may change at any time, and negotiations may be ongoing between the lender and borrower even while the short sale is on the market. The borrower may decide to remain and refinance their house, or become obstinate and force foreclosure. The bank may renege as well if they decide to stick with the current borrower, or if they disapprove of the sale price. Any short sale contract includes a contingency where the bank must approve the sale.
In some states short sales can be tricky in that it is important for the party handling the deal to advise the seller to seek the advice of an attorney and a CPA. There could be tax consequences if the loan(s) on the property are not purchase money (all the funds needed to purchase the property). On the other hand, if the loan(s) on the property are purchase money, then the loans are considered "non-recourse" and the debt is generally forgiven and satisfied at the end of the short sale.
Changing consent can present a perilous situation for potential buyers. It can waste considerable time and money for a prospective buyer who anticipated a sale. Typically, deposits with the bank will be refunded but money for paid inspections or other services cannot be.
There are several defenses against this. If the seller has moved out of a property, that is a clue that they have no intention of staying or negotiating further with the bank. "Bank Approved Short Sales" are advertised by real estate advertisements, indicating that a real estate broker has verified the selling bank's position. This still does not guarantee acceptance, and it often does not take junior lien holders into account, but it is better than situations where the bank holding the mortgage has only been lightly involved in the borrower's decision.
Short sales are a type of settlement, and they adversely affect a person's credit report. The negative impact may be less than a foreclosure, but in some cases the effect is the same. Unlike bankruptcy line items, short sales DO show on a credit report like Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax and remain on your credit report for 7-10 years. Some people may have some credit available to them within 18 months or so. Depending upon other credit information, it is possible to obtain another mortgage 1–7 years after a short sale.
While lenders sometimes forgive the remaining loan balance, other lien-holders likely will not. Further, it is possible for a lender to omit updating mortgage balances zero balance after a short sale. However, willfully misrepresenting information on a credit report can constitute libel in some jurisdictions, and lenders may be sued in civil court for engaging in this behavior.
Short sale success rates vary from state to state and from bank to bank.
Please call or email Scott Zeller with any short sale questions.