Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Truth about Short Sales.. from the homeowners side

So we recently covered the area of shorts sales from of lenders angle today we are going to look at it from a homeowners angle and how it effects them.
Firstly Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner please be careful there are many scams going on and I will try to point out a couple of them to keep you on your guard.
Lets take a scenario which a lot of people can concur with these days.
You bought a house in 2006, for $550,000 and you managed to get 100% financing doing a stated income loan, low or no docs.
your payment was $4,425 with a 2 year arm.
Present day: your interest arm has reset and your payment has shot up; your new payment is $5,900. WOW !
You don't earn enough to pay that extra amount so you default on your mortgage.
Month one leads into month two because you think 'I will do some over time plus Joe Blow owes me some money... I'll catch up' ... then month two goes into month three, then for most it's too late.
But now there is another days gone by your house may be worth $590,000 - $620,000 but the housing bubble has burst and your pride and joy home is now worth $310,000.
You can't refinance as there is no value in the property anymore, no lender in their right mind is going to finance that, plus now that the rules have changed you won't qualify financially anyway.
You are already 4-5 months behind so your credit reflects that too, so no lender is going to lend to you.
You can't sell the house as you would need to take $250k to the closing and if you had that kind of money you would not be behind on your payments... right ?
So what do you do?
If you had only one mortgage you could do a deed in leu, meaning you give the house back to the lender via a deed and you are released of your obligations.
But more than likely you will need to go down the route of a short sale in order to reduce the debt and get the house sold. Now there are pros and cons with doing a short sale and we will try cover most of them hear.
In my previous article you read why the banks will take a short sale but it has got to make sense as well as fall within their matrix criteria.
There are reputable companies that will do a great job doing your short sale but also there are people who will do a terrible job.
Being a home owner please bare in mind there is no guarantee that a lender will do a short sale on your property. Note: If anyone promises you that they can do the short sale. walk away, no one can guarantee you an approval as no one can control the banks, and most don't know the lenders criteria anyway.
Here is the thing every house will sell if it is at the right price, the trick is getting the lender to take that price.
If the short sale is completed successfully then the ripple effect can be extraordinary. So many people can be benefit. Lets look at the ripple when the house is sold.
The house will be sold to a third party ( happy new home owner), your lender gets paid, the new buyers lender has a new loan, survey, title, insurance, electric, cable, gas, water, trash, lawn guys,all the way down to your driving license address being changed which will cost around $20.
The short sale approval and close is bigger than most people think and stimulates the economy.
The homeowner also has a few benefits, the house is sold, gone are the pressures of foreclosure that are effecting so many families right now. The homeowner does not have a foreclosure on their credit which means in a few years when the housing market stabilizes again and the homeowner gets into a better financial status they could again become homeowners.
Ok, so I hear everyone shouting what about the deficiency, it will hound the home owner for years, they still have debt. May be true but there are a few different scenarios.
A good negotiator when talking to the lenders, will ask for zero deficiency towards the homeowner, if they have proved their case well most get approved without a deficiency.
You my still get a IRS 1099 for the difference between what you owed and what the house was sold for. This is a taxable event for the homeowner and will be reported as income.
A lender cannot give you a deficiency and a 1099, as the lender can't get paid via a deficiency and give you a 1099 for income if they are being made whole by the deficiency.
I would also tell you to get your CPA to find out about the 982 IRS form which is a forgiveness of indebtedness to the IRS and see if you qualify.
I would also check out the senate bill H.R 3648 dated Jan 4th 2007 which talks about the deficiency in regards to the IRS.
Do not listen to people who say you can stay in the house and pay rent , they will short sale it and pay off the debt.........9/10 it wont happen, they are pocketing the money and doing nothing.
Plus it is illegal to accept rent when a property is in default without those payments going towards the mortgage company. it is called equity skimming and comes with a side of 5-10 years in a local penitentiary.
Now if you had a HELOC (home equity line of credit) where you pulled money out of the house when things were good, you have another challenge. HELOC loans are qualified as a good loan as it was cash out. The lender is entitled to get that money back and can attach it to you personally, or another property that you own or even garnish wages.
Now what you can do is, if the debts is negotiated and they still want ....lets say $20k from you (as you borrowed $80k) then ask that it is reported positively on your credit report.
please bare in mind you did sign a promissory note for $80k and they gave it to you, now you are only being asked to pay back 20k of it. is not a bad deal really.
Most of the time it will be interest free for the duration.
If your mitigation company is successful in the negotiation of the mortgage debt and the house is sold, there is another challenge.
Most lenders FHA, Freddie MAc and Fannie Mae will not give the homeowner a new mortgage for between 2-4 years. Really its not a big deal in todays economy, personally I would want to wait for a few years anyway to let the housing market come back and rebuild my credit. before I move forward with another house purchase.
Until Next time.
Steve M
Please to not take this as legal advice. I am not an attorney or a CPA, please check with your own council before engaging with any of the information supplied. this is solely for reading purposes and the information is solely my opinion.

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