(LoanSafe.org) – Nobody looks forward to short selling their home (a short sale means a homeowner, because of poor financial situation, sells their property for less than the amount due on the mortgage(s), with all the proceeds going to the lender). Each short sale processed is dependent upon the seller’s lender(s) approval to release the lien in exchange for less than the amount owed on the debt.
The process can be very strenuous and the homeowner could have an offer submitted for many months before the lender finally gives the “ok” on the sale. For borrowers with a junior lien attached to the property, the process may be grueling and the lien holder may request additional funds from the seller in order to settle the account. If the complex and lengthy process fails and the homeowner has explored all options, the end result could be foreclosure.
As in any real estate ventures, expedience is all about being prepared, organized, and possessing the right knowledge.
Here are 10 tips to help you short sale your home fast:
1. Communicate. Begin and sustain an efficient dialogue with a real estate agent, a CPA, and consult with a local real estate/foreclosure attorney. Every state has different laws and regulations, and these are constantly changing across the country. With this trio of advisors, you will certainly stay in the loop as your continue with the process of short selling. Do not think you are going to spend thousands of dollars on these services, the real estate agent gets paid through commission once the sale goes through and a consultation with a local CPA and attorney should cost no more than $200-300.
2. Check references. Many real estate agents and lawyers publicly claim they have experience in short sales, but often it’s not the case and more of an attempt to gain desperate clients. Research their experience in short sales, as that is what only counts, and hire accordingly. If the real estate agent is used to normal sales, they may not have the knowledge or preparedness to handle this lengthy process.
3. Get your documentation in order. It’s a chore with a regular sale, but it’s more compounded with short sales. Documents can easily reach 80 pages. Consult the real estate agent and your mortgage servicer to determine which documents you will need to provide. For most short sales, the lender will require your most recent paystubs, bank statements, tax returns, monthly mortgage statements, and a list of other debts and expenses you have acquired.
4. Stay on top of Home Owner Association (HOA) payments. Delinquent fees can kill a short sale much more than a normal sale. Many buyers and real estate agents simply won’t touch short sales where the HOA payments are negligent. And having an attractive property or common area is much more essential with short sales.
5. Know how much your home costs. Banks will often lower the price of a home as much as possible in order to unload it. That’s expected, but you should be able to keep the price at a sensible level, so the first step is to know the actual price. By simply contacting the Appraisal Institute you can find an appraiser in your area.
6. Price your home right. Once the value of the home is discovered, it should be sold at slightly-above market value.
7. Expect the price of your home to shift down. If fortunate, the property will be sold in a reasonable time. But it’s likely the price can ultimately fall as time goes by. Any lowered intervals of price should be after, and again, consulting the real estate agent, CPA, and attorney.
8. Negotiate (and often). Nothing is written in stone, and lenders would rather sell the property than have it default. You must be realistic, but being realistic means you have quite a bit of bargaining power.
9. Be patient. That goes without saying in any real estate transaction, but it’s more important in a short sale, just considering the added paperwork and scrutiny from the bank. For example, a short sale package can take up to three months, and then it’s the real waiting time.
10. Never expect it to be over once the home is sold. There are instances after the short sale when a borrower will later be asked to pay the difference between the short sale and what the home is worth (known as a deficient judgment). One way to avoid this is to perform the short sale through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA).
With all this in mind, the process of a short sale should be no slower than a normal sale. And sometimes it’s just as fast. But this won’t happen unless the right preparation as well as the right attitude is taken.