AVP/Sr Mortgage Originator
Alaska USA Mortgage AK#157293
Phone: (907)261-3458 Cell: 223-4440
License: NMLS Unique Identifier #203077
Problems With Your Mortgage?
There May be a Short Way Out
With unemployment figures reaching a 25-year high, the toll of the declining economy continues to impact hundreds of thousands of families each month, especially homeowners struggling with their mortgage. According to RealtyTrac, 303,410 foreclosure notices were served on properties in the month of December alone. This followed the 2,854,396 foreclosure filings throughout all of 2008.
For homeowners facing foreclosure, options do exist that can prevent the trauma of losing their home or facing long-term financial loss. YOU Magazine has addressed these options in previous issues. So, this month we'll focus instead on short sales, an alternative to foreclosure for struggling homeowners who do not want to stay in their homes but would also like to avoid the years of potential financial damage that a foreclosure could cause on their credit rating. If you or someone you know are looking for a "short" way out of a mortgage, keep reading and find out if a short sale is a feasible option.
Don't Be Short-Sighted
That's why, before choosing to attempt a short sale, it's important to ask yourself if staying in your home is an option you'd like to explore, because there are opportunities, including a loan modification that may be a better path for some struggling homeowners to pursue. A loan modification would allow the homeowner, in many instances, to renegotiate the terms of their existing mortgage(s) to a more affordable monthly payment(s). This can be accomplished in a number of ways that bring about both temporary and permanent solutions but ultimately allow the homeowner to keep their home.
If you think that a change in your mortgage terms, like a lower rate or lower monthly payments, might help you make it through this rough patch, it's important to communicate with your lender, even if you're several months behind in your payments. Many lenders have reported that in over 50% of the cases where a homeowner is delinquent on his or her mortgage, they have been unable to reach the owner to discuss any options. Picking up the phone and placing a call is always in your best interest. More importantly, opening lines of communication with family members, in many cases, could help lighten the emotional burden that often comes along with these challenges.
When Staying is Not a Viable Option
For a lender to consider a short sale, there are a number of factors that the lender will take into consideration before an approval can be secured, including:
It's important to note that, unlike a loan modification, a homeowner does not have to be delinquent to be considered for a short sale. However, a hardship should be demonstrated showing that the homeowner would not be able to remain current on the mortgage in the future due to mounting financial obligations.
Why would a lender agree to sell your home at a loss? Well, in many cases, the foreclosure process results in a loss of up to 40% or more of the original mortgage balance for the lender. When borrowers and lenders work together on a short sale or loan modification, however, these losses can be reduced by roughly half, in many cases. For example, a foreclosure on a $300,000 home could cost the lender up to $120,000 or more in losses, where they might only lose $60,000 by working with the borrower. Add to that the record losses incurred on other foreclosures, and it's clear why lenders, in many cases, prefer to negotiate a solution.
A short sale also has a lesser impact to your FICO score compared to a foreclosure, which is very important for obtaining future credit from everything including automobiles and consumer credit to getting reconnected with local utilities and cell phones services. Your credit score can even affect certain employment opportunities as well.
Start the Process
The second step is to enlist the help of an experienced real estate agent. An agent who is skilled at handling the negotiation process will not only minimize negotiation time, he or she will also help in limiting the time and costs of marketing the property.
Tony Sena, a real estate agent with North American Realty in Las Vegas, Nevada agrees. Sena, who is currently closing 10-15 short sale transactions a month says, "The single greatest reason for a distressed property not selling is selecting the wrong agent."
When selecting an agent, don't be afraid to ask questions about their experience. Sena says to look at the current inventory of listings the agent represents and ask:
The third step is to price the house properly, according to the market. While many buyers would love to "steal" your property for the lowest price possible, remember that the lender is already going to incur a loss and they are not interested in losing more than they have to. Sena suggests initially pricing the property at the current value and then reducing the asking price every two weeks until it attracts buyers. Then, once you have an offer, the negotiations on the final price can begin with the lender.
The last step is to be prepared for challenges in both the short sale process and in the market place. Remember, you have a lot of competition out there and getting a property sold can be tough, especially in a buyer's market. However, choosing the right agent and setting the right price can assist you in not only selling it more quickly but also in minimizing the friction of having to deal with the lender directly.
Be aware that, in some cases, not all, a lender will agree to a certain price, but only if the seller agrees to accept a promissory note for some amount of the deficiency – that means money that you will be responsible for paying back. In some cases, Sena has seen lenders ask that sellers pay up to $20,000. However, while early last year the interest rate for these notes was in the range of 4% to 8%, lately Sena has seen that lenders have also been extending offers with 0% and terms of repayment up to ten years.
License AK# 157293 Washington Consumer Loan Company license# CL-157293 California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License# 4131067
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