As you probably know, it’s been a sellers’ market with many listings getting multiple offers. With such a strong housing market, it would seem unthinkable that some home owners would be underwater on their mortgages when selling their homes. But the fact remains that there are many home owners who have to go through the short sale home selling process to sell their homes.
On the face of it, the January 14th press release from ATTOM Data Solutions (attomdata.com) seems to add credence to the housing market’s strength, touting that foreclosure activity is the lowest in sixteen years. The report stated that default notices, auctions, and repossessions decreased 57 percent from the previous year, and decreased 93 percent from 2010’s peak would seem to be terrific news. But the low foreclosure activity stats are actually a manifestation of a government moratoria on foreclosure activities that was imposed due to the pandemic emergency.
Rick Sharga, Executive Vice President of RealtyTrac, an ATTOM Data Solutions company, stated “The government’s moratoria have effectively stopped foreclosure activity on everything but vacant and abandoned properties. There is a backlog of foreclosures building up – loans that were in foreclosure prior to the moratoria; loans that would have defaulted under normal circumstances; and loans whose borrowers are in financial distress due to the pandemic.” Further commenting on the foreclosure backlog, Sharga believes that the foreclosure wave won’t be as bad as what occurred prior and during the Great Recession. But he cautioned that we won’t know how large the foreclosure wave will be until the moratoria expires.
So, in the face of a strong housing market, there are many home owners who need to sell (due to job loss, job relocation, divorce, etc.) but can’t because the proposed sale price is short of the amount needed to cover the costs of selling (which typically includes mortgage, closing costs, realtor & title fees, etc.). This is where a short sale can be considered.
A short sale is basically when your sales net isn’t enough to pay the mortgage(s) on the property. In many cases, short selling home owners don’t have the funds to make up the shortage needed at settlement. Instead, they seek lender approval to allow a lower mortgage payoff in order for the transaction to close. Because short sales have become a common form of transaction in the real estate landscape, the process has become more standardized since the Great Recession. Although the typical time to complete a short sale can take three to six months, short sales can take as little as forty-five days. However, it’s important to note short sale approval can also take more than six months.
Although the core process is the same, lenders have different requirements when collecting information and conducting their due diligence. Having a professional negotiator helps facilitate your short sale. Seasoned short sale listing agents typically work with experienced attorneys to negotiate and handle the process.
If you are thinking of short sale home selling, interview several experienced and local short sale agents. Ask about their track record for successful short sales and how they work on your behalf to get the job done. Also talk to their negotiator, and ask about their track record in successfully negotiating short sales.
When considering a short sale, consider all your other options as well and get professional advice from an attorney and CPA to determine your best solution.
By Dan Krell
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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.