Short Sale Tips & Strategies

Short Sale Tips & Strategies

Since the decline in real estates price began in approximately 2008, more and more people have been seeking to do short sales.  So what are they?

A Short Sale is simply a sale of real estate where the purchase price is too low to fully pay off the lender.  Therefore the lender is “shorted”.  When you sell real estate, you have to provide clear title to the buyer.  To do this all of your mortgages (lenders) have to be paid off along with taxes and any other encumbrance on title.

A typical example of a short sale with one lender.

Sale price of home:  $150,000
Mortgage Payoff:     $150,000
Costs of Closing     $25,000
Deficiency:               $25,000

*In this case, the seller will request that the mortgage (lender) allow the seller to pay only $125,000 of the $150,000 owed to get a release of mortgage at closing.  The lender then chooses whether to collect the $25,000 deficiency or write it off.  Typically, the lender will write off the deficiency and sell it to a third party who will try to collect the deficiency by filing a lawsuit and obtaining a garnishment against the seller’s wages.

Bottom line – in this case, the short sale got rid of the house but left the seller with a deficiency of $25,000 owed to the lender.  A great result if only getting rid of the house was the goal.  Typically this is people who are moving a long ways away and make enough money to pay off the deficiency.

A more typical example is:

Seller has lost his job.  Seller is in foreclosure.  Seller wishes to sell his house before the house if taken at a foreclosure sale.  Pre-2008; oftentimes the house would be sold for enough money to satisfy all of the lenders foreclosure costs and balance owed.  Post 2008 this is not the case.  Today, a seller will often take a 40% loss against the value of their home in 2006.  This means that the following example happens often:

Sale Price:               $200,000
First Mortgage         $210,000
Second Mortgage     $80,000
Closing Costs:          $25,000

In this case, the seller sold the house.  The first mortgage lender agreed to allow the second mortgage to be paid $2500 and the first mortgage lender received $172,500 ($200,000 – $25,0000 – $2500).

Here is the effect to the seller:

1)  The foreclosure is dismissed with a satisfaction and no judgment on seller’s record
2)  Second Mortgage Lender is still owed $77,500 which they can collect themselves or sell for collection
3)  The First Mortgage Lender is still owed $37,500 PLUS $25,000 in costs of foreclosure and arrearages.

What happens nexts:  Most often the seller is given a chance to pay off these deficiencies or is sued by the lenders for the deficiency.  The deficiency judgments are good for 25 years in Illinois with proper renewal.  Therefore, without bankruptcy or settlement, the deficiency is paid off at 100% plus 9% interest per year using the maximum garnishment which is 15% of the sellers gross income.

Bankruptcy is an imperfect solution, but is often used in a catrastrophe like the example above.  Assume that the seller makes $75,000 a year.  Has a family of four and credit card bills of $40,000.  Bottom line, the seller has over $125,000 in debt to pay off on a salary of $75,000.  You couldn’t pay this off in 100 years.  It is in this situation where a bankruptcy discharge of the debt is helpful.  It is also helpful for retirement, because retirement savings are exempt in bankruptcy.  With your debt under control it is easy to start saving for retirement.

In conclusion – what is the niche for a short sale – it is great for someone who really needs to get rid of a property and is not necessarily concerned about a deficiency judgment.

Can I get a waiver of a deficiency judgment – you can if your attorney remembers to ask for this and is successful in these negotiations.

Why on earth would a lender waive a deficiency?  The best answer is – if they know that the seller is insolvent and doesn’t have assets and/or income to pay they will usually waive the deficiency if the lender is receiving more money than if they were in a foreclosure sheriff’s sale.

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