How a Short Sale Works
1. What is a real estate short sale
A real estate short sale is a form of agreement between the seller of a home in the beginning stages of foreclosure and their lender, allowing the home to be sold for less than the existing loan balance outstanding. The mortgagee would accept less than the loan amount in order to avoid a foreclosure proceeding. This short sale would result in a substantially discounted purchase price for the buyer of the home. The buyer would then proceed with the purchase of the home much the same as in any conventional realty transaction.
2. How late in the pre-foreclosure process can you start a short sale?
Depending on individual state law and regulations, a foreclosure can proceed as quickly as 35 days from the date the notice to the borrower is filed. For that reason, time is of the essence and you should allow a window of no more than 60 days to effectuate a lender approved short sale.
3. Will a lender allow a real estate short sale when the seller has some a good amount of equity?
If the home has some considerable amount of equity, the lender may choose to continue with a traditional foreclosure proceeding to regain title to the property and dispose of it at a market price. Given the current state of affairs with the real estate market, the home will most likely be over encumbered, hence the reason for the short sale in the first place. A glut of homes for sale in the market area of the home may make the lender think twice about taking title to the property.
4. What documents are necessary to proceed with a short sale?
The individual documents necessary to proceed with the short sale will depend on the lender. Typically the lender will require hardship letter detailing the circumstances behind the short sale. A signed, valid purchase and sales contract, preliminary HUD-1 settlement statement and a preliminary estimate of proceeds to the lender. There may be additional requests for more detailed information on the financial condition of the seller, ie; pay check stubs, bank statements, a personal financial statement and monthly budget assessment, amongst other things.
5. Will the seller’s credit rating be affected if they allow a short sale on their property to occur?
While it is up to the individual lender to decide what to report, what often happens is the loan will report as "paid" on their credit report. While that good news the bad news is that there will likely be a reference that says "settled for less than originally owed" or something similar. It is certainly more advantageous to have the short sale referenced than to have a foreclosure on their credit report.
6. Will a lender allow the seller to make a profit on a short sale?
By the nature of the transaction, the seller is not going to make a profit on the short sale. They may have extracted equity from a previous refinance of the home, but their current loan balance will be higher than the selling price of the home.
7. If a seller is in bankruptcy, will that affect the short sale of the property?
Absolutely, as most lender would not consider a short sale if the homeowner is in the middle of a bankruptcy proceeding. Negotiating a short sale between the parties is considered a collection activity and such a negotiation is prohibited in bankruptcy.
8. Will the bank or lender require an appraisal on the home in a short sale?
Most lenders will require that a full appraisal be submitted in the short sale package. Some may only require a BPO or brokers price opinion. The lender will need some formal assessment of the value of the home in order to make a decision as to accept or reject the short sale offer.
9. Are there tax implications in the short of real estate.
Much like the issue of credit reporting, the circumstances are individual to the lender. As a short sale represents a loss for the lender, they can report the amount lost a debt forgiveness to the seller. If a formal tax form 1099 is filed, the seller may be responsible for paying taxes on the amount of debt forgiveness.
10.Why would a lender allow a short sale to occur.
Quite simply, it may benefit all the parties involved in the transaction. The seller is relieved of the home they cannot afford. A costly foreclosure proceeding by the lender is avoided and the buyer purchases the home at an attractive price.