Short sales are not new. Lenders have been doing them for years. However, due to the increase in mortgage delinquency due to our current economic situation, the lenders are now inundated with request for short sales. Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo are lenders who have been very slow in their response to short sale request. Chase has indicated that they are still working on request made in June, 2009 and we are now closing in on November, 2009. The original timeframe of 60-90 days is now 90-180 days at minimum. The smaller lenders work more quickly.


If you own real property and you owe more on your mortgage then the home would appraise for and you have a hardship, then you may be eligible for a shortsale. In a shortsale, Lenders agree to accept less then what is owed.

In order for your lender to consider this option the following must apply: Property must be listed with a realtor and must have a contract based on the comparables in the area the property is located. Owner must have a financial hardship. A financial hardship could occur from divorce, loss of job, pay cut, illness, accident. etc. Owner’s expenses exceed their income, this is considered a hardship. Expenses must be legitimate expenses. One cannot have a $400 dollar a month clothes shopping addiction. Real expenses including; electric, water, rent, insurance, car payments, gas, groceries, homeowner association dues, health insurance, etc.

Once a financial hardship has been established on behalf of the owner, all of the required documents that must be submitted to your lender are below:

  1. Bank Statements – Last two months
  2. Pay Stubs – Last two pay periods
  3. Tax returns for 2008 and 2007
  4. W’2s for 2008 and 2007
  5. Financial Worksheet

The realtor will provide the following in order to submit to the lender:

  1. Listing Agreement
  2. Comparables ( active/pending/sold)
  3. Listing History
  4. Contract offer ( The accepted sales price, should be on or around the current market value) If the contract offer is not acceptable, then the agents should leave the short sale addendum un marked on #5, to allow additional offers to be submitted. But if the original offer submitted is sufficient, this clause should be eliminated.

The Title company will provide:

  1. Title search
  2. Preliminary Hud
  3. Complete Lien search, including: Code Enforcement, Open Permit and Water balance search.

We highly recommend that a title search and lien search be completed on the property being sold in order to make sure that there are no judgments, liens other than the existing first or second mortgage. If a title search is not completed and a Preliminary HUD -1 Closing Statement is submitted to the lender, which does not reflect other items such as: Code Enforcement liens, Outstanding Water Balances, Open Permits, HOA Liens, Certified Judgments, delinquent real estate taxes, you can get your approval. However, once you have completed your title search and lien search and they show any of the items above, at that point you have to re-negotiate with the lender.

Important Items to consider regarding a short sale: Be careful of large homeowners associations back assessments. Most lenders are not paying the entire amount owed. They are comparing a short sale to a foreclosure in these cases. If a lender proceeds to the foreclosure sale, the lender is, under law, only required to pay a certain portion of the back assessments. This is the rule of thumb to go by, if the property is a condominium, the lender will pay up to 6 months in back assessments, if the property is a single family home, then the lender will pay up to 1 % of the original balance of their mortgage or 12 months of back assessments. Attorney fees are not considered, nor paid for by the lender. In most cases, the HOA will reduce the amount owed to them.

However, some HOA’s are taking a stance that they will not accept what the lender is offering and they will kill the deal. Most lenders will only accept individual buyers. Most lenders do not allow; Corporations, LLC, LLP, Land Trust, Trust etc. The property must be purchased by an individual person(s). Not all companies who say they can negotiate a short sale are qualified to do so. Negotiating a short sale or even a loan modification requires a background and experience in mortgage, title and real estate. Most short sale negotiators who have a background in title insurance, mortgage, or even real estate have a better idea of the entire process and what is involved in all areas of the short sale transaction.

Lenders do not have to approve a short sale, even if there is a hardship; however, most lenders are trying to accommodate the owner to some degree. Lenders will definitely deny owners short sale if they feel there is not a legitimate hardship. Second Mortgage Lenders are asking for 10% of the principal balance. Also, some are advising that they will require the owner to pay the balance due on the second mortgage and they are also holding out for deficiency judgments.