Are Short Sales a true foreclosure alternative?
The resounding answer to that question is yes! Short sales are the most popular foreclosure alternative, in my office, hands down. A short sale occurs when the seller (usually the borrower) lists and sells the property for less than the amount owed – the “short” amount. Short sales used to be quite rare – banks do not like to lose money.
How do I qualify for a short sale?
That depends. The most common short sale approval I see at my office are Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) short sales. HAFA is a government program that seeks foreclosure alternatives for those who are suffering from the real estate crisis. In order to qualify for a HAFA Short Sale, you must meet these minimum requirements:
- You have a documented financial hardship.
- You have not purchased a new house within the last 12 months.
- Your first mortgage is less than $729,750.
- You obtained your mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
- You must not have been convicted within the last 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, money laundering or tax evasion in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.
Again, these are general requirements and vary by the lender. They can be added to and additional requirements and documents may have to be required to participate in HAFA.
Why should I apply for a Short Sale through HAFA then?
Because, other than hitting the lotto, a short sale is one of the only ways to see a principal reduction. A principal reduction is one of the most sought after foreclosure alternatives that my clients seek. It allows the bank to approve the purchase price of your home while allowing you to sell it for below the amount you purchased it at. In negotiating the short sale, I seek a deficiency waiver. This would be contained in the short sale approval letter. Please bear in mind – this is not a guarantee. The bank won’t always grant you a deficiency waiver. Sometimes it may just be a lien release.
Don’t Short Sales take years?
This used to be more prevalent in the past, but yes, in some instances a short sale can still take over a year to be approved and actually close. At my office, I have a loss mitigation team that is constantly updating and seeking out approvals from the banks. This is not the case at some other law firms. We are consistently checking the status of each of our short sales to ensure that everything possible has been done on our end.
What if I don’t get any offers on my property?
If you don’t get any offers on your property, you may be eligible for another program, such as a deed in lieu. I make it a point to seek out all the foreclosure alternatives and find one that is right for you.
If you have recently been served with foreclosure papers and are interested in seeing what your options are in the lawsuit, please call me at 813-502-6768 to set up a free consultation or e-mail me. If you have not yet been served, but are interested in seeing what your options are, please contact my office to schedule a low-cost consultation!