If you’ve been sitting on the fence about whether to proceed with selling your house as a short sale, you should read this article by Lew Sichelman.
A short sale is a transaction in which the homeowner owes more on the home than they can sell it for. What is owed includes the mortgage debt owed to the lender as well as the closing costs they will incur when they sell, such as commissions, title and escrow fees, taxes, etc. The property can’t be transferred unless the lender agrees to take less than they are owed because the lender has a recorded lien against the property that has to be satisfied before the title can be transferred to the new owner. Of course, a lender isn’t going to forgive the debt unless there is no hope of having it paid in full, and that’s where the homeowner’s distressed financial situation has to be evaluated. Also, there is a penalty to be paid which has been both a big black mark on the homeowner’s credit score and a tax penalty by the government for what is called “debt relief.” This tax penalty has been lifted for the last 5 years because of the severity of the economic downturn.
As the article points out, this 2007 tax relief law expires at the end of 2012, but short sales and foreclosures can take several months to complete. If you have been hanging on to your house, hoping for the market to return to 2007 levels so you can sell it, you may want to reconsider your strategy. In our market area of Northeast Los Angeles, Pasadena and surrounding communities, the average sales prices are mostly still down 20% to 30% from 2007 levels.
There are buyers looking for properties to buy now. Mortgage interest rates are still very low. Inventory is very low. These conditions make it a perfect time to put your house on the market–if you can sell it for what the market will bring you. We are experiencing the best time in the last four years to sell a home. Some homeowners have had the pleasant experience of thinking they would have to short sell their home and finding that it sold for enough to be a regular sale! We would be happy to meet with you confidentially to discuss your own situation.