A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the sales price is insufficient to pay the debt(s) and obligations encumbering the property along with the costs of sale, and the seller is unable to pay the difference.
Every short sale is dependent upon the seller’s lender(s) consenting to the transaction and agreeing to release the lender’s security interest in exchange for less than what is owed. In some cases however, the lender’s approval of a short sale does not necessarily mean the lender relieves the seller of liability for repayment of the entire debt.
It is possible the seller can sell the home and still owe the unpaid difference, plus interest and penalties, to the lender (the “deficiency”). The lender may then seek a deficiency judgment against the seller for this difference. If the judgment is issued by a court, it could be in effect for up to 20 years if not paid sooner. This is one of the most fundamental issues that sellers must address in considering whether to sell property as a short sale.
A short sale is a very complex transaction that involves numerous issues as well as legal and financial risks. All sellers are advised to seek the advice of a lawyer and tax professional before proceeding with a short sale.
A short sale may not be your best course of action. We will assist you to consider all your options before making a decision.
The lender may agree to change the terms of the original loan to make the payments more affordable. For example, missed payments can be added to the existing loan balance, the interest rate may be modified or the loan term extended. Lenders may use government program modifications or may use their own criteria. Loan modifications may be temporary or permanent.
If the lender will not agree to a loan workout or modification, the homeowner may be able to refinance the loan with another lender. The HOPE for Homeowners program will refinance mortgages for homeowners that can afford a new loan insured by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration.
The lender may allow a homeowner to “give back” the property. This option may not be available if there are other liens recorded against the property.
The lender may allow a specific amount of time for the home to be sold and the loan to be paid off. The lender may also allow a buyer to assume the loan as a method to purchase the property even if the original loan was non-assumable.
If you are considering bankruptcy as an option, consult us first.
Allowing the lender to foreclose is another option.