You hear about them constantly, but what exactly is a “short sale”? Simply put, it is selling a property for less money than what is owed to the bank. For example: you owe $300,000 on your property. In today’s market? It’s worth a measly $200,000.
But don’t start fearing a short sale just yet.
I talk to homeowners every day who are struggling to survive and their number one stress is their mortgage. But I tell them the worst thing you can do is hang on till you have nothing left. Maybe your life has changed and now you’re having a hard time making your mortgage payment along with other expenses. The question you must ask yourself is simple: “Can I figure out a way to keep this house or do I need to give it up?” If the answer is “no,” your next step is finding a buyer and bringing his or her offer to the bank.
This the same process as any property transfer, with the additional step of proving to your bank that they should accept a sales price for less than what is owed to them. This is accomplished by providing pay stubs, tax returns, mortgage statements, income statements, etc. Remember when you bought your house, how you had to prove to the bank why you COULD afford the payments? Well, now you are going back to the bank and proving to them why you CAN’T afford the payments.
Regardless of what you may hear, this is a very smart option for homeowners in today’s economic environment. Find a competent realtor, attorney, and tax advisors to discuss all options. The only stupid decision in this market is to not educate yourself. Another key to surviving and thriving in tough times (whether in real estate or other arenas) is to become a very good problem solver. Don’t sit around and wait–be proactive and your success will follow.