Sadly, this is a topic that never seems to go away.
If you’re currently behind on your mortgage payments or are anticipating falling behind on the payments, a short sale may be appropriate for you. For those unfamiliar, a short sale is a sale where the seller owes the lender more on the mortgage than their home is worth.
Before listing your home for sale, though, there are a handful of things that you absolutely have to do for your own sake …
1) Contact an attorney. Short sales are not appropriate for everyone and there may be tax consequences that go along with the sale. Talk to a real estate attorney to see if you are better off with a short sale or letting the home go to foreclosure. (Bankruptcy also may be an option for some.)
Side note – there have been agents who have complained in their own circles about lenders who recommend foreclosure more often than short sales because of the loss of a possible commission check. I’m pretty much the opposite, understanding that short sales are not a viable option for everyone. If the attorney recommends foreclosure for you, I’m fine with that and the commission check be damned.
2) Contact your lender(s). Most lenders have a short sale package that they will send out with a list of the information that they need. The information is relatively standard across the board; the one major piece that changes from one lender to the next is the financial information sheet where you list assets and liabilities.
3) Gather the needed information. As I said, it varies but usually includes:
- Last 2 tax returns
- Last 2 bank statements
- Last 2 paystubs
- Hardship letter
- Financial information sheet
- Third-party authorization
The last form, the authorization, allows an agent to talk to the lender on your behalf to work through the short sale.
4) Get your home listed. Lenders almost always want your home listed with a real estate professional (as opposed to selling yourself as an unrepresented seller.) As a side note, this isn’t the time to list your home with your friend’s hairdresser’s cousin who just got their license.
If you need names and numbers of foreclosure and/or bankruptcy attorneys, let me know and I can pass them along.