Short sales are a preferable alternative to foreclosure for homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. Short sales, however, can be stressful and time consuming. Getting the lender to sell for less than the mortgage balance is only the first step. If mistakes are made during the sale, it can lead to negative consequences.
Here are five tips for a successful short sale:
- Seek guidance from a professional. Talk to someone who has recent experience handing short sales in Orange County. Ask around and find someone who is trusted and highly recommended. A reputable short sale specialist will meet with you to answer any questions you may have.
- Consider what happens after the sale. Just because you are underwater, you should not rush to sell without considering the consequences. If you are not careful, you may still owe the difference between what the house sold for and what you owed on the mortgage. Make sure your lender agrees to waive the deficiency and get it in writing. You may also do the short sale through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program. Lenders who participate in HAFA must release borrowers from the potential deficiency judgment.
- Consider negotiating a waiver. You may be able to negotiate a deal with the lender. In some cases, lenders will ask for only a portion of the balance.
- Be patient. A short sale often takes between three to six months. Rushing to make a sale will only cost you money. Make sure you secure the best option available.
- Have a realistic evaluation of your property. Look at similar properties in your neighborhood and for how much they have been sold. Do not get emotional about this process.
There is help out there for homeowners who are overwhelmed and underwater. For example, there are government programs to help you avoid future debts. Contact an experienced Orange County real estate lawyer who can guide you through the process. You do not have to do this alone.