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Avoiding Foreclosure Will a Short Sale Work for You and Your Lender?
By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist
A short sale in real estate is rarely a pleasant or easy transaction. But, if handled correctly, and approved by the lender, it can help avoid the embarrassment and long-term financial impairment of foreclosure. It is a worthwhile course of action to pursue for owners who can no longer afford to keep their mortgage payments current.
When lenders agree to a short sale, they are agreeing to accept less than the total amount what is owed. Because there are tax ramifications and other issues involved, homeowners should first consult with an attorney and/or tax advisor for advice, suggested real estate broker Russell Nolting in Manchester, Mo.
"At that point, sellers who believe their homes qualify for a short sale should pursue this option with their lender especially if they have an interested and qualified buyer waiting in the wings," Nolting said. "But be prepared to make the following steps along the way."
-Call the lender, but avoid delays by asking to speak directly to someone authorized to approve a short sale.
-Submit a letter of authorization to the lender, listing your name, the property address and loan number, and the names/contact numbers of your attorney, accountant, and/or participating real estate broker.
-Include a preliminary net sheet, prepared by your advisor. This is an estimated closing statement showing the sale price you expect to receive and all the costs of sale, unpaid loan balances, outstanding payments due and late fees, including real estate commissions.
-Include a hardship letter, describing how/why your ability to pay has changed, such as loss of job, dramatic medical expense, etc.
-Include proof of income and assets, as accurately and honestly as possible. Back it up with recent bank statements showing deposits and withdrawals.
-Submit a comparative market analysis, prepared by your real estate broker, showing recent sales and prices in your area.
-If a valid offer has been made on your home, the lender will want a copy of it, along with a copy of your listing agreement.
While the lender is under no obligation to agree to a short sale, said Nolting, sellers in a bind have nothing to lose by this honest attempt to avoid foreclosure.