Real NEastate: Help, I’m in foreclosure

Q: My house is in foreclosure. I have not been able to make the payments in several months. I want to sell it before the sheriff does. What should I do?

A: If you owe more than market value, you have some work ahead of you.

  1. First, contact your bank and find out how much you owe. It will probably be more than your loan pay-off, because the bank will be charging you fees and penalties.
  2. Interview no fewer than three realtors and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis.  They will do this for free. If it starts to look like you will owe more than your home is worth in this market, you may be eligible for a short sale.
  3. Be sure to ask each agent what his or her success rate is with short sales because there are very few agents who can do them and actually get results. If they don’t do short sales, ask if they have a colleague who does.
  4. Your objective is to hire a realtor who is a short sale expert and can get your house to the closing table before the sheriff sale, if at all possible.
  5. Gather your financial information together, because you are going to have to prove to the bank that you can’t pay the house off.

If you owe less than market value you may be able to get out with a couple dollars if you move quickly.

  1. Again, interview no fewer than three Realtors. Don’t pick the one who tells you he or she can get you more money for your house than the other two. This one is lying and will waste your time, and your house will end up in the sheriff sale.
  2. Price your house to sell. Your objective is to get out with some cash before the sheriff throws you and your belongings out on the street.

I hope everything works out for you. Good luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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