Q: I lost my job and can no longer afford my home in Wissinoming. I don’t have any money to bring to settlement, so selling it for less would be problematic. My agent listed my house for sale in January for $94,900, because I owe $83,000 and I needed to make sure the sale covers my closing costs. No one is even coming to see it. My agent tells me the average sale price for the same house in my neighborhood is about $78,000. Can I try for a short sale?
A: Short sales are not easy, and, despite their name, they are anything but short in process. There have been many homes that didn’t make it through the short sale process and have ended up in foreclosure. Contact the Loss Mitigation department of your mortgage company to find out what documentation is required to apply for a short sale. Usually you will need the following items, among others:
- A hardship letter explaining the reason you can no longer afford the home
- Financial documentation such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank account statements, etc.
- The listing contract
Your next order of business is to drop the price of your home low enough to get some showings and procure an offer. An Agreement of Sale is usually necessary for short sale approval.
Once you get a signed contract, expect a lengthy process that may take longer than three to six months, depending on your mortgage company. Hopefully you will find buyers who are willing to wait it out. There’s no guarantee, however, the mortgage company will approve the sale price your buyers offer.
I would ask your agent if he/she has short sale experience and, if not, ask if there is a short sale expert in the broker’s office to help.
Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.