Helping Debtors and Lenders Throughout Florida
A situation where a debtor can no longer afford to pay a mortgage is never ideal, but it does not have to be disastrous. Though several means of resolving this scenario exist, avoiding the procedural and costly messiness of foreclosure through a short sale can potentially result in an advantageous outcome for both lenders and debtors in an otherwise unfortunate situation.
While often easier to manage and more efficient than a foreclosure on a defaulted mortgage, a short sale still requires a significant amount of careful negotiation between the involved parties, in addition to the necessary paperwork and appraisals. Our Tampa short sale lawyers at Cremeens Law Group PLLC have experience assisting both lenders and debtors in navigating short sales and are ready to put our knowledge of the complex system toward your situation.
“Well, my closing check has hit my bank account, and all’s right with the world! This was such an unexpected and delightful end to my Rushmore problems!”- Valerie R.
How Short Sales Work
A short sale is defined as one in which a debtor, with the permission of their lender, sells their property for less value than the outstanding mortgage amount. The lender collects the proceeds of the sale, and, in exchange, releases the debtor from their remaining mortgage obligations.
For example, say you still owe $100,000 in a mortgage for your home, but you are unable to keep up with payments. A buyer approaches with a $75,000 offer – less than what you still owe. After negotiating with your lender, they might agree to the $75,000 sale, the proceeds of which they will collect, to free themselves of a defaulting property and avoid going through the foreclosure process. In a successful short sale, that remaining $25,000 on your mortgage – the amount your lender did not receive through the sale itself – will ideally be partially or completely forgiven by your lender.
While obviously not a perfect scenario, a short sale still extends benefits to both parties. A debtor will often have some portion of their defaulted mortgage forgiven and avoid the credit damage that comes with foreclosure. A lender still collects a large proportion of the money owed on the property while avoiding the administrative costs associated with carrying out a foreclosure.
How Long Does a Short Sale Take?
A short sale takes about 4 months to complete, on average. The length of time it takes depends on your situation and if you have all the paperwork required by the bank.
Below is an overview of the process with estimate days:
- Selling: Up to 30 days
- Approval: Up to 60 days
- Closing Escrow: Up to 30 days
To ensure that there are no delays during the short sale process, it is recommended to have these documents handy as these required by the bank:
- Tax returns from the last 2 years
- W2s or 1099s from the last 2 years
- Bank statements from the last 2 years
- Paystubs from the last 2 years
- Financial statements or 1126 from the last 2 years
- Form 4506 from the last 2 years
- A signed and dated hardship letter
Potential Challenges in a Short Sale
Of course, not every lender will be open to a short sale proposal or will be very stringent in what sort of offers it might accept. A debtor will have to carefully negotiate with their lender and propose a solution that makes the deal as agreeable to both parties as possible.
More critical to debtors, however, is the possibility of a deficiency judgment. Going back to our earlier example, a lender may agree to a short sale to more reliably gain the $75,000 of the $100,000 you currently owe, but they may still wish to hold you accountable for the remaining $25,000. The outstanding amount following a short sale makes up the deficiency. If you are unable to repay this deficiency, your lender may seek a judgment against you. If a deficiency judgment is granted, the lender can move to forcibly collect what they are owed through a number of mechanisms, including levying bank accounts or garnishing wages.
Terms of the deficiency should be established during the negotiation process. A strong short sale attorney, like those that make up our team at Cremeens Law Group PLLC, can help reduce or even in some cases completely eliminate your deficiency obligations. You should also never sign a short sale agreement without having legal representation review it, as many misunderstand the extent of their deficiency obligations through trying to parse the document’s legal jargon.
Finally, for a short sale to occur, there must be an interested buyer capable of making an acceptable offer on the property. Like other parties, buyers are looking for the most advantageous outcome and are thus seeking a real estate deal well below market value. There will likely be some additional negotiation with the buyer to arrive at a number that is sufficiently high to satisfy the needs of the lender while also minimizing the extent of the debtor’s deficiency.
Our Team Can Assist You with Your Florida Short Sale
Whether you are a lender presented with a short sale proposal or a debtor seeking to avoid foreclosure by any means possible, our Tampa short sale attorneys can help protect your interests and fight to get you the best possible outcome. We can assist in all steps of the negotiation process and in the drafting and review of all paperwork involved in the sale. You will have direct access to the lawyer assigned to your case and benefit from the individualized care that makes our legal services exceptional.
Having worked with both consumers and lenders, we have unique insight for how banks work, providing you with the best strategy.
If you hire us, we will be the attorneys that keep you in your home.
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