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- The mortgage is in or near default status: In the past, lenders would not consider a short sale if the payments were up to date. Currently, lenders are eager to head off any future financing problems, no matter the payment status. A high risk of default will generally sway a lender toward accepting a short sale.
- The seller has fallen on hard times: The seller must submit a letter of hardship that explains why they can not pay the difference due upon sale, including why the seller has stopped or will stop making the monthly payments.
- The seller has no assets: The lender will probably want to see a copy of the seller's tax returns and/or a financial statement. If the lender discovers enough assets, they may not grant the short sale because the lender will feel that the seller can pay the shorted difference. Sellers with assets may still be granted a short sale but could be required to pay back the shortfall.
- The home's market value has dropped: Hard comparable sales must substantiate that the home is valued at less than the unpaid balance due to the lender. This unpaid balance may include a prepayment penalty.
Some examples of hardships
- Divorce with the loss of income.
- Medical emergency with the loss of income.
Steps of a short sale are:
- The seller signs a listing agreement with a real estate agent subject to approval from the bank as a short sale.
- The agent finds a buyer who makes an offer based on market value, which is often less than the amount of the mortgage.
- The seller accepts the buyer's purchase offer.
- The seller's lender accepts the buyer's purchase offer.
- The transaction closes when the buyer delivers the funds, the lender releases the lien, and the seller delivers the deed.
Betty Garcia is a locally recognized expert in real estate.She is a licensed Realtor with more than 23 years of experience in South Florida Miami-Dade Real Estate
Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure
Are you having trouble keeping up with your mortgage payments? Have you received a notice from your lender asking you to contact them?
- Don't ignore the letters from your lender
- Contact your lender immediately
If you are unable to make your mortgage payment:
1. Don't ignore the problem.The further behind you become, the harder it will be to reinstate your loan and the more likely that you will lose your house.
2. Contact your lender as soon as you realize that you have a problem.Lenders do not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.
3. Open and respond to all mail from your lender.The first notices you receive will offer good information about foreclosure prevention options that can help you weather financial problems. Later mail may include important notices of pending legal action. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in foreclosure court.
4. Know your mortgage rights.Find your loan documents and read them so you know what your lender may do if you can't make your payments. Learn about the foreclosure laws and timeframes in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.
5. Prioritize your spending.After healthcare, keeping your house should be your first priority. Review your finances and see where you can cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses--cable TV, memberships, entertainment--that you can eliminate. Delay payments on credit cards and other "unsecured" debt until you have paid your mortgage.
6. Avoid foreclosure prevention companies.You don't need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help--use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender. While these may be legitimate businesses, they will charge you a hefty fee (often two or three month's mortgage payment) for information and services your lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor will provide free if you contact them.
7. Don't lose your house to foreclosure recovery scams!If any firm claims they can stop your foreclosure immediately and if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you may well be signing over the title to your property and becoming a renter in your own home! Never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney, a trusted real estate professional
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