Q and A with Jenny Zamora, RE Broker, Orlando Short Sale Expert
Q- My house is worth less than what I owe on the mortgage and there’s no way I can afford to continue making payments on it because I lost my job and I’m only working part-time now. Can I ask my bank for a short sale?
A- Before I begin speaking about Orlando Short Sales, you should be aware that there are other options available to you if you want to try and keep your home. If this is the case, you should contact your lender and ask them if they would be willing to consider a loan modification on your loan. A loan modification is just that….a modification to the terms of your loan so that you can afford to make the payments. Even after pursuing a loan modification, many homeowners find out that the bank’s terms are even worse than before and opt for pursuing a short sale instead.
Assuming that you’ve already decided that you want out of the situation and sell your house, you can ask your lender if a short sale is an option that they would consider. I would strongly suggest that you contact an Orlando Short Sale Expert to help you with this. Most realtors don’t like doing short sales because of the amount of all the extra work involved so make sure that you find one that lives eats and breathes short sales. Your Orlando realtor can give you an estimate of how much your home is worth in today’s market so that you know exactly where you stand before approaching your bank. Your short sale realtor should also be a skilled negotiator to ensure you get the best chance at a successful short sale. Negotiating with the bank as well as prospective buyers is a common part of the short sale process.
Q- How does the short sale process work?
A- A short sale happens when your mortgage lender is willing to accept less than the full mortgage payoff on your loan. You’ll need to provide your lender with some documentation like financials, a list of assets, and a complete explanation in writing of why you can no longer afford to continue making your mortgage payments AKA a “hardship letter”.Once your realtor has submitted the entire short sale package to the bank and they agree to a short sale, you’ll be required by the bank to list the property for sale with your Realtor for market value.
Q- How long does a short sale take?
A- Unfortunately, short sales are anything but short. Banks don’t like taking a loss, so don’t expect them to be in a rush to help you get out of the situation. In addition to negotiating with your lender, your Realtor will also be negotiating with potential buyers and buyer’s agents trying to get the deal done. You have to remain patient when it comes to processing a short sale.
Q- What are the tax implications if I do a short sale?
A- The Internal Revenue Service considers a debt that has been forgiven as income. This means that if you paid your lender $110,000 through a short sale and you owed $180,000, the unpaid balance of $70,000 would be considered income. In 2007 the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was instated to help homeowners who lost their homes through short sale or foreclosure by waiving the income tax implications on the forgiven debt. Unfortunately for today’s distressed homeowners, this Act expired in late 2013. This means that you will more than likely be responsible for paying income tax on the debt that was forgiven by your lender through the short sale.
Q- How will a short sale affect my credit?
A- The good news is that a short sale will have much less of a negative impact on your credit than a foreclosure or bankruptcy. However, depending on the number of late payments you have on your mortgage, your credit will still be significantly affected and it will probably be a few years before you can get another mortgage.