So you find a short sale will be in your best interest...

You have investigated your options and have touched base with a real estate tax attorney and/or CPA.

It appears short sale will be your best option.

What's next?

Make sure you have already communicated with the bank that your intent is to perform a short sale.

Find an experienced Agent who has a proven track of short sale experience. Certifications and designations does not always make for a seasoned agent even though many of the certification programs do present great information and knowledge etc.

Understand you will be asked for a full financial disclosure. Some banks want more info than others.

Typically they will want monthly financial statement of your expenses and income.

Usually they will ask for 1- 3 months of bank statements, copies of any 401K statements or other retirement statements, a copy of any other assets, pay check stubs and income tax statements.

I recommend my client keep a folder either electronically or physically with updated statements and paystubs.

As the process proceeds it is typical for the lenders to ask for updated accounts etc.

Do NOT try to hide things or assets. They will scour your credit and accounts and look for red flags.

Keep your home up and cooperate with showings. We want backup offers.

Always have an attorney review the short sale approval letters before proceeding. Our contracts in California allow for addendums to short sale that state the sellers have the right to have legal counsel preview and approve any and short sale approval letters and terms before proceeding.

Remember, Realtor(R) are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. We can provide you resources to search and investigate options but we cannot tell what to do, interpret short sale approval letters or advise you in regards to tax matters.

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Comment by Debbie Parkans, CDPE, CSSG, CRS on March 21, 2010 at 4:51pm
At my first conversation with the potential short sale seller, I email them several CDPE handouts and the name and number of 2 attorneys in our area, one of which has a CPA firm that works with them. I advise them that it is in their best interest to get legal and tax advise for their particular situation, especially with all of the bad information floating around. There is a general consensus in the media that since Az is a non-deficiency judgement state that you can just foreclose or short sale and walk away free and we all know that is not so. Upon receipt of the short sale approval letter from the lender, I send it to my client, along with a letter that they sign that advises them again to seek legal and tax advice. They have to sign and return the letter along with their initials at the bottom of the approval letter. Only then do I advise the Buyers agent that we are OK to proceed. It would be nice is some of these instructors that have jumped on the Certification courses, actually did short sales. There seems to be a new one popping up each day.
Comment by Terry L. Osburn, SFR on March 17, 2010 at 10:37am
That is smart.....I have seen so many comments across the various boards that have me shudder in terms of the agents interaction with client in "telling" or "advising" or "interpreting" things or the language in short sale approval letters.....
I have had agents who just finished some certification courses tell me that no lender would deny a short sale if the buyer missed their deadlines of closing.....(Trying to cover their bases as their buyers offer made promises that were not real-Loan officer scrambles at end to make things work)
For anyone to make assumptions in a short sale and/or question a lenders motive is a very dangerous assumption....In particular those lenders or investors who still have the opportunity to gain from the government bailout........afterall why would you approve a short sale when the government will guarantee 90% of the original borrowers loan and then the home can be put back on the market as a short sale and get more money?

Many think once they get a certification in short sale they have it made.....
This is why it is so important for a borrower to know up front what they are facing in various scenarios per the verbiage of the approval letter and/or the conditions set forth by either or both lenders in order to approve the short sale.
Foreclosure may be better, BK may be better which would stop the short sale process or the borrower may have enough funds to bring in to clear everything or take on a small note......Again a borrower needs to check with legal counsel or their CPA as to which action(s) would better protect them from future litigation and consequences.
Comment by Mike Linkenauger on March 16, 2010 at 10:57pm
Good stuff Terry! I try to remind ever seller at least a few times that I'm not an attorney or CPA, just to cover my bottom with things...


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