A short sale is far from hassle-free, but it’s a better alternative than foreclosure. And now you’ve got a little help from your friends in D.C. Here are the facts about short sales and how to get started.
Facing foreclosure and tempted to stay in your home until the bank pulls it out from under you? Bad idea. Don’t do it. A much more graceful exit is a short sale, an agreement between you and your lender to sell your home for less than you owe. Although there’s no guarantee that your lender will let you avoid foreclosure with a short sale, new government regulations are aimed at encouraging lenders to do so. If you notice that you’re beginning to miss payments on your home or need to sell up fast, you could always use a third party to sell your home. This we buy houses company is fair, honest to goodness. It’s far less hassle and can often save you a huge headache.
Short sales get government incentives
Although short sales are not hassle-free, at least you’ve got the government backing you. The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program provides financial incentives for lenders and borrowers to avoid foreclosure through short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosures.
Participation in the HAFA program requires adherence to guidelines–including a standard process and minimum timeframes–that speed the process, says Dallas-based REALTOR® Tom Branch, co-author of Avoiding Foreclosure: The Field Guide to Short Sales. The HAFA program is for homeowners who can’t keep their homes with the help of a loan modification (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/making-home-affordable-modification-option/).
Advantages of a short sale
•You can be a homeowner again more quickly with a short sale in your past than with a foreclosure. New Fannie Mae guidelines help you qualify for a new mortgage in as little as two years after a short sale, as opposed to up to seven years after a foreclosure.
•You will have more time to make relocation plans and save money than with a deed in lieu. A short sale may take four to 12 months. A deed in lieu of foreclosure arrangement typically requires you vacate your home within 30 to 60 days of signing, according to real estate attorney Lance Churchill.
•You can receive up to $3,000 from your lender for moving expenses at the time of closing of a HAFA short sale or a HAFA deed in lieu of foreclosure. Relocation funds are part of the incentives of HAFA, but not necessarily for other short sale or deed in lieu programs of the lenders.
•You can help your community’s home values. Because the lender often receives a higher amount of the remaining loan balance than it would