Frequently Asked Questions

What is A Short Sale?
A Short Sale is when you sell your home for less than you owe to the bank(s) and they agree to accept less than the full payoff on your loan. It can also be referred to as a short payoff.

Do I qualify For A Short Sale?
To Qualify for a short sale you will need to prove a true hardship to the bank. Some examples of a hardship include:

  • Payment Increase or Mortgage Adjustment
  • Loss of Job or reduced Income
  • Business Failure
  • Death of A Spouse
  • Death of a family member
  • Severe Illness
  • Divorce
  • Relocation
  • Mortgage payment due to interest rate increase 

These are just a few examples of hardship situations. When we meet with you we will help you determine if a short sale is the best option for you, if not we will help you determine alternate options.

How will my credit be affected?
Only the late payments on a mortgage will show on your credit report and after the short sale, the mortgage will usually be reported as paid as negotiated, or paid as agreed.

How much does it cost to do a short sale?
There are usually no out of pocket expenses or fees to you as the seller if the bank agrees to the sale. There are instances where you will have to provide Homeowners association documents to a potential buyer.

Will I Have To Pay Any Closing Costs, Commissions Or Escrow Fees?
No. All closing costs or fees will usually be covered by the bank and paid out of the sales price. The bank will be approving a net proceeds amount based upon the contract you accept.

Do I have to make repairs to the property?
We usually market a short-sale as-is but there are instances when it is in your best interest to make minor repairs to get the property sold.

Will I be Able To Purchase A Home Again?
Yes. Usually after 2 years or less. Depending on your specific situation.

Can you help me find a Rental?
Yes. We have an in-house property manager with an inventory of rental properties available.

When Do I Have To Move?
The process from accepted offer to closing usually takes a minimum of 120 Days. Once the lender has approved the short sale, you will know you have a minimum of 30 days before moving.

I have received a Notice of Default sale date on my property, is it too late to try a short sale?
No. Usually we can contact the bank and get an extension on the sale date once you have listed the property as a short-sale

Why Would a Lender Accept a Short Sale?

Why would a lender accept less than they are owed?  Because the alternative is a foreclosure.  As with the borrower, there are significant financial consequences to the lender if they foreclose, which are:

  • The legal costs of eviction and repossession
  • The loss of loan payments during the foreclosure process until it is re-sold
  • A foreclosed house will need work before it can be resold
  • After the foreclosure, the bank has two options:
    • Sell it at the courthouse steps, or
    • Try to resell in the market.
      • If the banks resell in the market, they are penalized by the government by freezing 3-10 times the loan amount so that the lender cannot lend those funds to another borrower.

Will my lender consider a Short Sale if the mortgage is current?

Sometimes, some lenders will accept a Short Sale file for approval on loans that are not delinquent. Other lenders will not accept the file until the loan is delinquent.

Do lenders approve all Short Sales?


What if a property needs work, can I still apply for a Short Sale?

Yes. In fact, lenders are more motivated to do a Short Sale on a property that needs work than on a property that doesn't. The lender knows the risk of loss goes up when they foreclose on a property that needs lots of work.

What is a Short Sale Packet and What Needs to be in It?

A short sale package it used to determine whether a homeowner can afford the property.  Most lenders already have a standard package which they will send to the borrower upon request. The borrower is expected to provide financial information to include income and household expenses.  The seller must fill out forms with the Listing Agent to be submitted to start the Short Sale process - and submitted with any offer.  These forms include:

  • The Listing Agreement
  • Authorization to Release form (to allow agent to discuss with bank)
  • Hardship Letter (see "How to Qualify" above)
  • Financial Statement
  • Seller Net Sheet (a copy of the HUD form with offer)
  • Contract (when offer is accepted)
  • Buyer's Proof of Funds (with offer)
  • The Buyer must provide additional items such as:
    • Earnest Money check of at least 1% of sales price.
    • Special Stipulations form
    • Proof of Funds
    • Contract stating buy "As Is"

What are the Tax Consequences to the Seller of a Short Sale?

Before, the Seller was sometimes required to declare the difference between the loan principal and the amount the bank received as income on their tax forms, and pay tax on it.  In November 2007, a law was passed that changed this.  Effective January 1, 2008, "Forgiven Mortgage Debt" (the difference between the principal and the amount the bank received) is excluded from taxable income.  There are restrictions.  In order to qualify for this exclusion, the house must be occupied by the owner as a principal residence (not a summer home, vacation house, rental property, etc.).  Investors do not qualify.

I have more than one mortgage on my property. Is that a problem?

No. Subordinate lenders are more flexible than 1st mortgage holders.

What if I have 2 mortgages held by different Lenders?

When you have 2 loans with the same lender, it is more beneficial to them, as there is no need to negotiate with another lender.  When the two loans are with different lenders, the process is a little longer, but the second lender is the one who has more to lose if they don't reach a settlement. This is because if the property goes to foreclosure, the first loan is the first one to be paid and the second usually nets nothing.

Do I have to be past due on my mortgage to be able to get the benefit of a short sale?

No, but it is likely that the lender’s guidelines will prevent them from formalizing a short sale if the loan is not past due,. This means, for them, that the borrower has the means and can continue to pay on the loan each month.

Please understand that I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THAT ANYONE STOP PAYING THEIR LOANS. In the current market conditions, it is possible that a bank would accept a short sale, even when the borrower is current.

What is a BPO?

A Broker Price Opinion (BPO) is when the lenders contact their own Broker/Real Estate Agent and pay them to render an option on the condition, value and time on market for the property. This is because many lenders do not have the knowledge of the market in Georgia, because their offices may be in Texas for example.

If a lender saves so much money working out a short sale arrangement, why do they request so much information and why does it take so long for them to work a file?

The lender wants to make sure that a borrower is truly having financial problems and is not one of those people who for various reasons just wants to stop paying for the property and the mortgage debt. If the borrower has liquid funds, the lender will want the borrower to use them in the sales process. The lender also wants to make sure the borrower is not selling the property to a related party for the sole purpose of locking in a reduced pay off. The bottom line is that the lender is going to manage the transaction with the objective of recovering the most money for the lender. The time frames involved cover a multi-step negotiation process between the borrower and the lender with either the lender or borrower objecting to certain terms and making various counter proposals before coming to an agreement. Third party inspections and BPOs will also need to be done before the negotiations can be formalized in an agreement.

What is a hardship letter?

This is a letter that explains the borrower's current financial circumstances. Which circumstances have changed from when the house was purchased, and why the mortgage payments can no longer be made. These circumstances are what led to a borrower’s inability to make payments and to pay off the loan in full. This letter must be written by the borrower, and be sincere in demonstrating (with documentation) that it is the truth.

What types of information does the lender require the borrower to submit?

Along with the Hardship letter, each lender will have different forms that we will need to complete. All lenders generally require various items such as two months of bank statements, pay stubs, past tax returns, W2, etc. Usually, a Short Sale package submitted to the bank is over 70 pages long.

How long does it take to complete a short sale?

The time frame for the lender to receive and evaluate the short sale proposal is about 8 weeks from the time the offer and Short Sale Package are received. Buyers need to realize that this is a lengthy process.  This is why it is very important to work with a Short Sale Specialist who knows how to manage the transaction. The other agent and the buyer may get cold feet at the end, and the transaction may fall through.

Why does the bank accept less than they are due?

They lose less on a short sale. On average, lenders lose tens of thousands of dollars less on a short sale versus a full foreclosure. It is simply in their best interest.

Can a borrower do this for themselves?

Yes, but doing it alone and on the phone with the lender leads to inconsistent results that are, frequently, not acceptable to the borrower. Working with us, with written negotiations, yields more consistent results.

Why Lenders Prefer to Work with Experienced Agents

In steeply declining markets, short sales are booming. Selling a home for less than the underlying mortgage often provides troubled home owners with their best chance of avoiding foreclosure and ruining their credit. A cottage industry of bankruptcy specialists and other self-described loan mitigators are trawling for clients, but lenders would often prefer to work with real estate professionals in negotiating short sales for clients. Here’s why:

  • Agents are licensed by the state.
  • Agents adhere to a code of ethics.
  • Agents carry errors and omissions insurance.
  • An Agent has too much at stake to cut corners.
  • A licensed professional is not likely to commit fraud that could put their entire career at risk.
  • An Agent specialized in Short Sales does not need extensive training by the lender’s loss mitigation department. Many departments simply move the file to the foreclosure stack when they realize the listing agent is not experienced in short sales because they have hundreds on their desk and do not have time to train the agents.

I owe more than my home is worth. Is a short sale my only option to get out of foreclosure?

You have other options, like a “deed in lieu of foreclosure”. That is a perfect case to demonstrate to the lender that if they do not accept a short sale, they are going to lose even more money than they are now.

What are the implications of a deficiency judgment?

Check to see if “deficiency judgments” are allowed in your state. If your state permits a deficiency judgment, this can allow a lender to garnish your wages, attach your other properties and aggressively collect for years to come for any amount that remains unpaid after a sheriff’s sale of the property.

This is why many people refer their in-trouble friends, family and colleagues to Tico Realty Group because they know we can help their clients navigate the waters they would have to learn first.

Let Tico Realty Group help you get through the short sale process.. Give us a call. 

Georgette Willis
Georgette Willis
Broker/Realtor/Property Manager
4760 S. Pecos Rd Suite #103 Las Vegas NV 89121