Q. What are my options as a home seller when my property is in or heading toward default?
A. In the event that you have been delinquent in paying your mortgage or anticipate that you will not be able to make payments moving forward, your options will vary based upon several factors or variables that are specific to you and your property. Always remember that each possible resolution will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by all parties involved. When considering your options, you should take into account:
- the amount of equity you have in your property compared to the outstanding loan balance
- the additional financial resources you may be able to bring to bear
- whether or not you live in a homestead state, and the nature and amount of the homestead exemption
- and/or the amount of private mortgage insurance you have.
All of these factors should be taken into account along with many other variables and special conditions.
The most important decision you need to make is to “make a decision.” Typically, when homeowners avoid confronting the serious lifestyle and financial consequences of defaulting on their mortgage, they end up with a significantly more deleterious outcome than they would have, had they taken charge of their own destiny while they could.
Once you decide to take action, we recommend that you contact a lawyer and a real estate agent qualified to assist with your special real estate needs. Top 5 in Real Estate members are not just committed to helping you pursue the potential option of a short sale, but to encouraging you to fully consider all other options that may be available.
Early on in the potential foreclosure process, all homeowners should not only contact an attorney, but also research all potential guidance and assistance available from the government, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure may be particularly helpful. HUD’s toll-free telephone number is (800) 569-4287. Not all homeowners, however, can qualify for certain HUD programs. Whatever guidance you seek as a homeowner, we recommend, at a minimum, that you also carefully consider each of the following questions and answers:
Questions What is a better or more likely outcome for me and why?
- A short sale or a foreclosure?
- A short sale or a repayment plan?
- A short sale or a forbearance plan?
- A short sale or a loan modification?
- In the case of an FHA loan, a short sale or a partial claim?
- A short sale or a short sale/assumption agreement?
- A short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure?
- A short sale or a bankruptcy?
Answers: Any and all of the above-mentioned options pursued by homeowners should take into account their:
- individual present and projected future financial circumstances
- short- and long-range lifestyle goals
- concerns over credit rating
- desire to remain living in their present home
- a complete understanding of the impact each available option might have in comparison to all other options being considered
In order to best contextualize or prioritize one’s various opportunities or limitations with all other options, it is advisable that an attorney or other suitable counsel be engaged. Such counsel is vital in order to properly weigh all legal, financial, tax and lifestyle implications surrounding each option. Since this brochure principally focuses upon the subject of short sales as just one alternative, it is important to note that short sales usually benefit home sellers because they not only stop mortgage foreclosure, but typically prevent the lender from suing for deficiency. Deficiency refers to the difference between the outstanding loan amount and what the net proceeds are from the sale of the home, or in some cases, simply what the proceeds are that the lender receives from the sale of the home. During their short sale negotiating process, it is vital that homeowners have their attorney ensure that the lender agrees to forego suing for any monies that are written off due to the short sale.
From the Brochure: “The Four R’s of Short Sales…and More – The Transparent Approach to a Real Estate-Related Crisis”
Homeowners… Recovering and regaining control
If you would like to read more on the subject, contact me for your free booklet,”The Four R’s of Short Sales….and More.”