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Whether you’re a brand new homeowner or have been buying and selling homes for years, there are plenty of real estate terms and situations that you don’t encounter very often. A short sale is one of those situations that many homeowners may go through their entire lives without encountering. But, if you’ve experienced financial hardship, and are looking for ways to avoid foreclosure, a short sale is an important real estate term to know about and understand. 

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what a short sale is, as well as answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about short sales. 

What is a short sale?

A short sale is an offer of a property at an asking price that is less than the amount due on the current owner’s mortgage. This most often happens when a homeowner is at risk of foreclosure and is looking for a way to get out from under a home before that foreclosure process hits. When a bank or lender agrees to a short sale, they either agree to forgive the remaining balance of the mortgage not covered by the short sale, or they require that the homeowner must pay the lender all or part of the difference. 

How does a short sale differ from a foreclosure?

In most cases, a short sale offers a path of opportunity for those at risk of foreclosure. 

A foreclosure happens when the lender repossesses the property and tries to sell it for a price that will recover its initial investment. In this scenario, a homeowner is evicted and the bank repossesses the home. Foreclosure can be detrimental to finances and stays on a credit report for years after it happens.

A short sale happens usually in advance of foreclosure. Rather than having to deal with the process of foreclosure, a bank or lender may agree to a short sale, because they’re guaranteed at least a certain amount of repayment. A short sale can still affect a homeowner’s credit, though the impact is usually less than that of foreclosure.

What are the effects of a short sale on the homeowner?

As the homeowner, your credit may be damaged a bit as a result of a short sale, but it pales in comparison to the damage a foreclosure could do. In a short sale, you won’t make money off of the sale of the home, but if your lender is generous, you may have the debt reported as “paid in full.” As a bonus, you’re able to stay in your home during the entire short sale process.

How long does a short sale take?

The time it takes for a short sale can differ based on the situation. Sometimes it can take weeks, sometimes months. Depending on how experienced the real estate agent is, it can either be quick or it may take an extended period of time.

Are there any alternatives to a short sale? 

Besides foreclosure, a loan modification is an option to help make monthly payments more affordable for the homeowner.

What are the 4 steps of a short sale?

While the short sale process will vary depending on the unique situation, most short sales follow these four steps:

  1. The lender first must agree to the short sale. In a short sale, the home sells for less than the seller owes, meaning the lender doesn’t get all their money back. Therefore, the lender must agree to the sale.
  2. The seller must prove they have no other option. The seller must prove their inability to make mortgage payments. A lender will most likely agree in order to avoid foreclosure and having to sell the home on their own.
  3. A home’s price must be in line with market value. More often than not, a home’s value has dropped in a situation of a short sale. In order to be considered, the home must be on par with market value.
  4. Short sales must be disclosed. Potential buyers deserve to be aware that the sale price on the home is less than the mortgage balance. This means they must negotiate with a lender, and coordinate with the seller as well.

Should I short-sell my home?

If you’re considering a short sale as a result of financial hardship, a short sale may be an option. When done properly, it can help rescue your credit and can help you avoid foreclosure

Short sales can be beneficial to many homeowners looking to sell their homes quickly. If you’re interested in moving forward with this process, contact our team at Renewed Homes. We’re happy to guide you through and make sure you’re making a financial decision that will positively affect your future


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