Important and Helpful Information Regarding Short Sales.
It is very important that you seek advice and help from qualified individuals. Not all Lawyers, CPAs, and Realtors understand the full impacts, ongoing changes, and related programs that evolve around a Distressed Mortgage situation. Look for Certifications, Experience, and Success in the practice of providing solutions for Clients dealing with Distressed Properties.
There is even a great Advisory that we provide every one of our Short Sale Clients, up front, and is sanctioned by the Arizona Department of Real Estate. Here is your copy, upfront, for your to use as a guide. AAR Short Sale Seller Advisory
- We charge NO fees, and provide a personalized upfront FREE Short Sale Consultation!
- Success rate of Short Sales taken on in 2011, 92%.
- Success rate of Short Sales taken on In 2012, 100%.
- Success rate of Short Sales taken on in 2013, 100%.
- Success rate of Short Sales taken on in 2014, 100%.
- Success rate of Short Sales taken on in 2015, 100%.
- Success rate of Short Sales taken on in 2016, so far 100%.
Certifications earned by Top Short Sale Agents
The CDPE designation Signifies specialized education and training as a Certified Distress Property Expert Most top Short Sale Realtors acquire this certification.
The SFR designation signifies reception of the National Association of Realtors Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource certification. One of the designations that the Arizona Department of Real Estate suggests you seek when looking for a Realtor to assist with a Distressed Property or Short Sale and is noted in the Short Sale Sellers Advisory as such.
We also spend numerous hours in continuing education, seminars by real estate Lawyers, and Tax professionals, all to sharpen and keep updated on the ever continuing changing practice of Distressed Properties real estate. It is very important you use a Realtor that understands, practices, and continues to stay current with the best practices and standards of Short Sales along with other options for Distressed Properties. We also put this extensive knowledge to use for our Investor Clients when dealing with purchasing Short Sale properties.
What is a Short Sale?
When you sell your home for LESS than the amount owed to satisfy the outstanding balances on ALL your mortgage loans, which are loans in which a Lender has used your home for security of the loan.
What is a “Strategic Default”?
Not paying your Mortgage Payment by choice and engaging in a Short Sale primarily to relieve a financially bad situation, such as the Home value being significantly less than the total Mortgage Loan balances!
“Strategic Default” is a new term that defines those homeowners who recognize a tremendous financial disadvantage by retaining their home and continuing to make mortgage payments due to their home being greatly “up sided down.” This means the current value (and usually longer term foreseeable future value) is determined to be significantly LESS than the existing mortgage loan. However, they CAN make their mortgage payment, though maybe struggling to do so. So they may make a financial decision to use a Short Sale first and if not successful, then allow a Foreclosure of their home, as a financial preservation plan.
As you can imagine, there has been great controversy regarding the use of Short Sales and Foreclosure to effect a Strategic Default. Many traditional Realtors resist working on Strategic Defaults and simply will not help homeowners if this is the case. The controversy has produced many debates and discussions. One of the leading proponents, and perhaps the best clarity of the matter, can be summoned up by a U of A professor Brent T White in his paper titled “The Morality of Strategic Default“. There is also a very good documentary called “INSIDE JOB” (trailer can be viewed here) along with numerous opinions and publications regarding the right to legitimate reasoning behind pursuing such an option.
INSIDE JOB TRAILER
For the details of how the past booming real estate market got rolling with high appreciations, and subsequently crashed, grab the best selling book by Michael Lewis “The Big Short “ and read the Harvard Thesis written by Anna Katherine Barnett-Hart dated March 19, 2009, titled “The Story of the CDO Market Meltdown: An Empirical Analysis .“ After reviewing these insights, you might just start to understand how some shady dealings among the Major Banks, Wall Street, Securities Insurers, and some Lenders, had greatly contributed to the housing collapse mess. You might also be inclined to wonder why they were quickly allowed receive bail outs with your tax dollars, and you were not. This has now cascaded into a new Agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with oversight on new regulations for Consumer Credit and Mortgage Loans and related activity. Some of the previously used Mortgage Loans types provided during the housing boom have now been banned starting in 2014!
Why do I feel guilty about doing a Short Sale or even possibly allowing a Foreclosure?
Usually you are struggling with the stigma broadcast by Lenders, Wall Street, Media, and possibly moral teachings that may or may not apply in this case.
Brent T White, law professor at the University of Arizona, stated it best as quoted….”Underwater homeowners who keep making their payments have received little help, even though the only mistake that most made was to buy a house at the wrong time. Major banks, on the other hand, were bailed out for grossly irresponsible behavior. Many of them are now, as a result, raking in billions of dollars in profits again. Yet they have still largely refused to help underwater homeowners by voluntarily modifying mortgages – despite the great benefits doing so would provide for the homeowner, the economy, and society. Banks, which were shown great mercy in the bailout, have shown little mercy for underwater homeowners.”(pg.38 Underwater Home by Brent T. White)
Should I do a Short Sale?
Maybe! Each person and family situation is not the same. Engaging in a Short Sale requires much more planning, counseling of impacts, and planning for possible contingencies.
Before deciding to do a Short Sale, make sure you know ALL your options! As previously noted at the beginning of this page, the Arizona Department of Real Estate requires Realtors to provide Short Sale candidates, and Clients, with a detailed disclosure document. This disclosure provides you with a number of resources and assistance sites to help in your decision. You can review this document noted as the AAR Short Sale Seller Advisory. At Thomas Jambor Realty Solutions we recommend our Clients seek competent legal advice from a qualified Lawyer (someone who actually practices in this field and stays current with recent decisions and law changes). We also recommend you seek tax advice from a CPA, or similar tax professional, especially in light of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 recently being extended through 2016 but may not continue into 2017. Some Arizona CPAs have stated that Arizona Mortgage Loans might be classified as Non-Recourse loans, so this is something specific that you would want to ask a Tax Adviser and how that could work to your favor.
(We do have experience with some professionals that have exhibited advanced knowledge of work in this field that we can refer to you. Be assured Thomas Jambor Realty Solutions and our Associates DO NOT receive any fee or form of compensation for any of our referrals).
There are a number of reasons that Lenders usually allow as a justification to grant a Short Sale. The most frequent of course is a Financial Hardship. There are a number of other allowable reasons, however if your thinking “Strategic Default” then it gets much more difficult to justify. This is where you really need a consultation with a Realtor who has the experience and dedication to help you find a solution.
Obviously your Lender will want to see as much information as needed from you to justify allowing them to accept your Short Sale. Things such as a Hardship Letter, Current Financial Statement, past TWO years Tax Returns, W-2s, recent Bank Statements, Pay Stubs, and if possible, evidence that you had tried to obtain a Forbearance, Loan Modification, or other program to relieve your financial mortgage stress. The best start, is to get a FREE Short Sale Consultation from Thomas Jambor to learn more about your options specifically for your situation.
When should I do a Short Sale?
As soon as you decide to do seek a Short Sale as a solution, Do not WAIT!
Congress passed a Debt relief act in 2007 has recently again been extended through 2016 (The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation) which could have a positive impact on your ability to Short Sale and not have to declare the loan deficiency amount (Forgiven Debt) as INCOME! The last thing you need is to have the IRS asking for taxes on the amount of the loan you finally got forgiven! So though you might have qualified to take advantage of this past limited time tax break, as many people did, it still might not be too late. A few exceptional Tax Professionals (one specifically on our Services Providers list) have been able to use other aspects of the unique Arizona statutes regarding Mortgage Debt and how it can be classified such that in many cases being able to avoid the Federal Tax on “forgiven debt” as Income. Please seek the advice of a tax professional to be certain with regards to your specific circumstance.
If I do a Short Sale, what other concerns or things should I know?
One of your biggest concerns will be how the Deficiency (the difference from what you owe and the price a Buyer is willing to offer for your home, or the LOSS) will be handled by your Lender(s) if they accept a Short Sale offer.
Will the Lender want to retain the right to seek this loss from YOU at a later date (possibly up to 6 years in Arizona) or will the Lender be willing to waive the right to seek this loss from you in the future? At Thomas Jambor Realty Solutions we will ALWAYS seek a full release from the deficiency, and future pursuit of deficiency, as a condition of a Short Sale approval from your Lender.
There are a number of Short Sale programs, both Federal Government and Lender Incentives, to encourage Homeowners to Short Sales as a solution vs Foreclosure. One most often engaged is the HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) program, however your Loan and your situation must meet it’s eligibility qualifications. HAFA is an extension and expansion of a program called HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) or better know as the the Loan Modification program many of the Loan Modifications are run under. The Loan Modification portion has not worked out too well and many end up eventually as Short Sales. FHA has one called Pre Foreclosure Sale (PFS) and Bank of America has a Cooperative Short Sale program. All of these may, or may not provide Short Sale Clients with additional cash incentives at the close of Short Sale. Mostly it depends on the Loan, who owns it, who guaranteed it, and what your current status is as a Homeowner. If possible, staying in your home during this process is usually the better decision. Also keep in mind that these programs constantly change and sometimes expire. Currently the HAFA program is set to expire on 12/30/16 for anyone not having a HAFA Short Sale application by that date.
The following video gives a quick overview of the HAFA program and it’s benefits for those Mortgage Loans and Homeowners that qualify.
Whichever program your Short Sale runs under, HAFA, FHA Pre Foreclosure Sale (PFS), Special Lender Programs, or Traditional, you will have to understand that Lenders are usually under a heavy Short Sale workload and thus it takes sometimes 60 to 90 days from the time you actually get an offer on your home, just to get an answer, or acceptance, from a Lender. These times improved a lot over the years, and especially lately as Short Sale volume has declined significantly. It is still very important to make sure that a Buyer’s Offer you select, and his Agent, has a clear understanding of Short Sales and the ability to wait out the results without cancelling the offer. This again is where we come in with experience and advise you of the terms and conditions required of your Buyer so as to hopefully hold them to the Short Sale process long enough to reach a conclusion and successful completion.
What if my home goes to Foreclosure before I can Short Sale?
This is always an issue in any Short Sale. Lenders will NOT usually stop any foreclosure already in motion just because they have been informed that you have decided to do a Short Sale. They will usually postpone, or re-schedule a foreclosure date, if they receive an OFFER on your Short Sale. There is no requirement for them to do this but most will. Even if your Lender does postpone a foreclosure date due to an Offer on your Short Sale (this assumes the Offer came to them not too close to an existing foreclosure date), some will not even admit to a postponement (only that they have requested it) as this limits their exposure to liability if a mistake is made and your home is actually auctioned! Having your Realtor keep on top of this can be extremely important!
What will it COST ME to do a Short Sale?
Our professional services to consult, advise, and run your Short Sale will not cost you anything because when we succeed, your Lender will pay us to help you! Our success rate is near 100%, however If we do not succeed, you still owe us nothing!
We are aware that some Agencies are charging upfront fees of thousands of dollars, asking for payments, or picking up “negotiating” costs! A number of Agents actually just list the property then send your Short Sale to a “Team” or some Title Agency service for various levels of handling and the Agent will get updates to send to you. There may be some additional fees paid at closing either by you or your Lender for these additional services. Most home owners do not know that their Mortgage Lender will compensate all the Realtors involved, and usually pick up a portion of the Buyer’s closing costs. Though there is an enormous amount of paperwork, follow up, and time that Short Sales require of a Seller’s Agent who provides this service, we only receive payment from your Mortgage Lender upon a successful Short Sale of your home and require no payment from you! We DO NOT outsource your Short Sale submission and negotiations to 3rd parties or Title Companies.
Again, since the Lender pays our Agency, not YOU. That keeps us highly motivated to work for your Short Sale success!
Recently there has been a trend in Lenders asking for the Homeowner to bring some cash to closing, or take back a promissory note that is greatly reduced from the original loan your getting out of. We do ask our Clients to please use whatever portion of their mortgage payment they are not making, or decide not to make, be placed in an account they do not use so as to have some funds for any cash at closing that their Lender might demand just be be in the safe side.