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Short Sales Revisited

October 6, 2011 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Columns No Comments
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By Carl Fisher

As first a real estate agent, then a principal broker, serving this community for the past twenty- three years, I’ve had the pleasure of helping many people move forward with their lives, through making changes in their real estate holding. Be it a rental, a move-up buy-sell, or a pre-retirement sale, each has provided me with a great opportunity to help others adapt to new realities as it suited their needs.

But none of these “normal” transactions can hold a candle to the mental, physical, and emotional demands of a “Short Sale”!

For one thing, most folks confronted with the need to “sell short”, are generally doing so against their will. And though, on occasion, they are simply reaping fruits of the financial seeds they had sown, in the past three years, a great many “good people” just got mauled by the dominoes of a reality imposed upon them by circumstances they did not necessarily create.
So feeling “out of control”, they delay taking any action until often, they act too late.

If you owe more on your home than you can possibly pay right now, you need to step back and consider “Am I in over my head?”.

If you have completely missed, or made only a partial payment on your mortgage (first OR 2nd trust, or equity line), and failed to “catch up” completely (read “interest, late fees, and penalty”), you may have already triggered a process that just gets worse as time goes by.

And if all you have on your side is common sense and an appeal to reasonableness, you may be on the front end of what I call a “Learning Experience”.

To make matters worse, the skill sets most residential real estate agents have lived by for most of their years in the business are NOT the specific skills now required to resolve your present dilemma.

Let me explain.

Typically, in days gone by, a responsible owner faced with a difficult financial situation that is affecting his ability to pay his mortgage, would simply contact his local lender, tell his story, and respectfully work with the bank to figure out how to remedy the problem.

Not so today.

Since many of the residential mortgages originated in the past five years were “sliced and diced” then packaged as

“Collateralized Debt Obligations” (CDOs), and ultimately sold to investors all over the world, the party they must deal with to remedy their non-performing loan issue is not their local bank, but rather a “loan servicer”.

And you’d probably be surprised to learn that the longer your loan stays delinquent, and the more “needs” you have to get your issues resolved, the more money that loan servicer gets to bill the holder of the note for the “services” he renders.

Their goals and yours, ARE NOT ALIGNED!

So finally you decide to reach out to someone in the real estate community for assistance…. And here’s where it gets a bit tricky.

First off, that agent needs to know what type of loan you have (VA, FHA, Conventional) and if
there is mortgage insurance on these loans.

Then, he needs to know the magical formulas the various loan servicer’s “Asset Disposition” agents use to determine what they can, or will, do about it. There are many “box canyons”, or dead ends in this process; all of which simply add to time lost as the foreclosure clock ticks away.

You may need to be “pre-approved” for a Short Sale before you enter into any agreement. To simply put your house on the market without that pre-approval only drives you back to square one and then you start all over again.

And if you have a first and 2nd trust (or equity line), you surely need to know which of the two creditors you reach out to first. It makes a difference. If the 2nd trust gets “wiped out” if the house goes to auction, why waste time negotiating with him when his decision has little impact on your final outcome?

In this market, what you don’t know can, and likely will, cost you. Because while you are in the process of figuring out how to go about your short sale, the foreclosure clock has already begun to tick. And THAT clock takes precedence over any short-sale effort you may initiate.

Where are you in this process right now? Can a short sale be accomplished to the benefit of all parties? Absolutely!

I’ve done it many times. But the process will require the utmost patience, confidence, understanding, and trust between the distressed owner and his agent. It’s not like any other process I have experienced in all of my years in this business. So take a deep breath and do what you need to do for yourself and your family. I can help.

Call me anytime to discuss your options.

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