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How does a short sale work?

In a short sale, the bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance because of an economic or financial hardship on the part of the borrower. The home owner/debtor sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender. Neither side is "doing the other a favor;" a short sale is simply the most economical solution to a problem. Banks will incur a smaller financial loss than would result from foreclosure or continued non-payment. Borrowers are able to mitigate damage to their credit history, and partially control the debt. A short sale is typically faster and less expensive than a foreclosure. It does not extinguish the remaining balance unless settlement is clearly indicated on the acceptance of offer.


Lenders often have loss mitigation departments that evaluate potential short sale transactions. The majority have pre-determined criteria for such transactions, but they may be open to offers, and their willingness varies. A bank will typically determine the amount of equity (or lack thereof), by determining the probable selling price from an appraisal, Broker Price Opinion (abbreviated BPO), or Broker Opinion of Value (abbreviated BOV).


Lenders may accept short sale offers or requests for short sales even if a Notice of Default has not been issued or recorded with the locality where the property is located. Given the unprecedented and overwhelming number of losses that mortgage lenders have suffered from mortgage failures that in part triggered the financial crisis of 2007–2010, they are now more willing to accept short sales than ever before. For "under-water" borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth and are having trouble selling, this presents an opportunity for them to avoid foreclosure as a result. (From Wikipedia)

see also: what is a short sale?

Short Sale Tips:

If you are currently facing a situation which is causing you to miss payments or sell your home there are several ways that you can be proactive! These tips will help you make it through the process:

  • Don't procrastinate. If you are unable to pay your mortgage – even for only one month, contact your lender and make them aware of your situation. You should also sit down and determine if this is a long term or temporary situation and review all options available to you. If you would like assistance in doing this, please feel free to contact us. We can discuss all of your options for both staying in your home and selling it.

  • Prioritize. After determining how you will proceed, prioritize your debts. If you know you plan on staying in your home it is important to make sure you are not spending money that could be used to pay mortgage payments on other less important debts. Recovering from missed or skipped mortgage payments is far more difficult than recovering from missed or skipped credit card payments.

  • Know your finances. Make sure you know what is coming in and out each month and budget accordingly. Your lender will want to see an itemized list of all of your current income and expenses when they discuss your loan with you.

  • Know your rights and options. If you have questions about the process or your options feel free to use our website as a resource or contact us, along with a trusted tax professional and/or attorney to discuss any questions or issues you may have.

  • Do not lose your cool! You are not alone in this situation and you are certainly not without options. Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed or ignore the situation. There is help available!

  • Develop a plan. Whether you choose to sell your home or make an arrangement with your bank you should create a plan that extends during this process and well beyond. This will include where you are moving to, how you will spend or save the money you have from missed payments, etc. You will also want to decide how you will deal with your lender.

  • Do your research. Make sure that you know everything you possibly can about your options, the foreclosure process in florida and your lenders requirements.

  • Be prepared. Gather all of your financial information – a summary of income and expenses, bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, mortgage statements, closing documents from when you purchased your home, a list of your reasons for hardship and any other documents you feel might play a role in working with your banking and have them ready before you contact your lender or someone to assist you with your sale.

Work with trusted professionals. If you need advice or assistance make sure you are working with knowledgeable, experienced and trusted professionals - we would love to give you a referral should you need information outside of our scope of knowledge!

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