Distressed Properties and Short Sales
Housing and Financial Crisis
The current U.S. housing market and financial crisis have caused tremendous stress and heartache for families across America and especially California. If you or someone you know is among the millions today affected by the prospect of foreclosure, understand that you are not alone.
Unfortunately, seven out of 10 homeowners in foreclosure proceed without the assistance or advice of real estate professionals. Now more than ever, you need to find an advocate for you and our family’s interests, one who is prepared to handle your specific needs.
Real estate professionals with the Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE) Designation have trained extensively to understand the options, solutions and effective methods to for dealing with homeowners facing hardships. Don’t risk our financial future and the potential sale of your home with an agent who does not have all the solutions or expertise.
Certified Distressed Property Experts fully understand that saving a home can save a life, which can save a family, which can save a future.
What is a CDPE?
A Certified Distressed Property Expert® is a real estate professional with specific understanding of the complex issues confronting the real estate industry, and the foreclosure avoidance options available to homeowners. Through comprehensive training and experience, CDPEs are able to provide solutions for homeowners facing hardships in today’s market, specifically short sales.
The prospect of foreclosure can be financially and emotionally devastating, and often homeowners proceed without guidance of any kind. The developers of the CDPE Designation believe that the best course of action for a homeowner in distress is to speak with a well-informed, licensed real estate professional. They have the tools needed to help homeowners find the best solution for their situation. Often, when other options have been exhausted, CDPEs can help homeowners avoid foreclosure through the efficient execution of a short sale.
While enduring financial difficulties is challenging for any family, the process of finding a qualified real estate professional should not be. Selecting an agent with the CDPE Designation ensures you are dealing with a professional trained to address your specific needs. Our Team of Agents have completed the extensive training and have received the CDPE Designation.
Short Sale Process
A Short Sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on a loan secured by the property sold.
In a short sale, the bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance due to an economic or financial hardship on the part of the mortgagor. This negotiation is all done through communication with a bank's loss mitigation or workout department. The home owner/debtor sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender, sometimes (but not always) in full satisfaction of the debt. In such instances, the lender would have the right to approve or disapprove of a proposed sale. Extenuating circumstances influence whether or not banks will discount a loan balance. These circumstances are usually related to the current real estate market and the borrower's financial situation.
A short sale typically is executed to prevent a home foreclosure, but the decision to proceed with a short sale is predicated on the most economic way for the bank to recover the amount owed on the property. Often a bank will allow a short sale if they believe that it will result in a smaller financial loss than foreclosing as there are carrying costs that are associated with a foreclosure. A bank will typically determine the amount of equity (or lack of), by determining the probable selling price from a Broker Price Opinion BPO (also known as a Broker Opinion of Value (BOV)) or through a valuation of an appraisal. For the home owner, advantages include avoidance of a foreclosure on their credit history and partial control of the monetary deficiency. A short sale is typically faster and less expensive than a foreclosure. In short, a short sale is nothing more than negotiating with lien holders a payoff for less than what they are owed, or rather a sale of a debt, generally on a piece of real estate, short of the full debt amount. It does not extinguish the remaining balance unless settlement is clearly indicated on the acceptance of offer.
Lenders have a department (typically called "loss mitigation") that processes potential short sale transactions. Today, lenders may accept short sale offers or requests for short sales even if a Notice of Default has not been issued or recorded with the locality where the property is located. Given the unprecedented and overwhelming number of losses that mortgage lenders have suffered from the 2009 foreclosure crisis, they are now more willing to accept short sales than ever before. This is great news for borrowers who are "under-water" or in other words those who owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth and are having trouble selling to avoid foreclosure because of this.
Lenders have a varying tolerance for short sales and mitigated losses. The majority of lenders have pre-determined criteria for such transactions. Other distressed lenders may allow any reasonable offer subject to a loss mitigator's approval. Multiple levels of approvals and conditions are very common with short sales. Junior liens - such as second mortgages, HELOC lenders, and HOA (special assessment liens) - may need to approve the short sale. Frequent objectors to short sales include tax lien holders (income, estate or corporate franchise tax - as opposed to real property taxes, which have priority even when unrecorded) and mechanic's lien holders. It is possible for junior lien holders to prevent the short sale. If the lender required mortgage insurance on the loan, the insurer will likely also be party to negotiations as they may be asked to pay out a claim to offset the lender's loss in the short sale. The wide array of parties, parameters and processes involved in a short sale makes it a relatively complex and highly specialized type of real estate transaction which is why unfortunately short sale deals have a high failure rate and often do not close on time to save homeowners from foreclosure when they are not handled by a knowledgeable and experienced professional. The best sources of knowledge and expertise in short sales are short sale negotiators, loss mitigation specialists, and real estate lawyers who specialize in short sale.
One thing a buyer should know about a short sale is there is no necessary commitment by the bank to sell the house. When the bank completes a short sale they have to write off the difference between their loan amount and the lesser proceeds from the escrow, something they wish to avoid. You may go through all the paperwork to make an offer on the house, pay for inspections, and put down a deposit to start the sale process. After you have made your offer, the bank may try to convince the seller to refinance their loan and stay in the house, which avoids the bank having to take the write off. Some real estate listings now make a distinction between a "bank approved short sale" and a situation where the seller hasn't really communicated their intentions to the bank (short sale). So if you have a fixed time period to get in a specific area you may be better off with a foreclosure (the bank formally took possession of the property) or a situation where the seller has equity.
A short sale does adversely affect a person's credit report, though the negative impact is typically less than a foreclosure. Short sales are a type of settlement. Like all entries except for bankruptcy, short sales remain on a credit report for seven years. Depending upon other credit information it is typically possible to obtain another mortgage 1-3 years after a short sale.
While it is frequent if not common for a lender to forgive the balance of the loan in question, it is unlikely that a lien holder that is not a mortgagee will forgive any of their balance. Further, it is common for a lender to omit updating mortgage balances zero balance after a short sale. However, willfully misrepresenting information on a credit report can constitute libel in some jurisdictions, and lenders may be sued in civil court for engaging in this behavior.
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