How To Submit A Short Sale Package

Submitting The Short Sale Package

Back in the early 2000s when short sales were scarce and uncommon, short sale agents were forced to deliver completed short sale packages via FedEx, UPS, or sometimes even in person, depending on where the short sale lender was located concerning the home. As a short sale agent in Orlando, I did this to ensure the lenders would receive the package because banks would routinely lose or would claim they “never received it”, probably because they were outsourcing their short sales to 3rd party short sale processors. It was very frustrating, to say the least…

Although Bank of America was the first one to have the ability to receive shorts ales via upload, many of their competitors still required us to fax them over, and over… and over. As the years went on, through the implementation of online software and loss mitigation departments becoming more familiar with short sales, the short sale process became more streamlined and where being processed a lot faster.

These days some lenders will only accept documents if you upload them to their online processing platform. You must speak to someone before submitting the package so you know exactly what they need and how they need it. If there’s only one document missing, it will hold up the entire process.

Documents Needed for A Short Sale Package

Nowadays most lenders will have their short sale package with their company logo. It’s best to just follow along and submit the docs exactly how they ask for them.

This is a list of documents required by all lenders to be considered for a short sale:

Listing Agreement: The short sale lender will need proof the property is listed by a licensed real estate agent at the current market value. The listing agreement must be signed and list the terms of the listing, the name of the brokerage and the amount of commission to be paid. It’s never a good idea to lowball the bank so make sure the offer price is close to the listing price, they aren’t stupid and it could cause them to reject the file altogether.

Purchase Contract: Note: Not every lender will accept a contract that’s been signed electronically. They may require you to have “wet signatures” on the contract so find out the requirements beforehand. Make sure the property address is written correctly and every line has initials and signatures where needed so there aren’t any delays.

Hardship Letter: Writing an effective hardship letter is probably the most important part of the short sale package. It should tell a detailed story about how the homeowners got into their current situation and why they can no longer afford to pay the mortgage. Whether it’s because of loss of employment health problems or divorce, leave nothing out. The hardship letter must have the loan number on it, signed and dated by the homeowner.

Letter of Authorization: This is the letter in which the seller authorizes the agent to speak with the lender on the seller’s behalf.  As a short sale realtor in Orlando since 2004, I prefer to send in the authorization letter as soon as I get the listing agreement so I can establish communicate easily with the short sale lender before sending in the package. However, for some unknown reason, many short-sale agents will wait to send it together with the complete package.

Bank Statements: Every short sale lender will want to see your last 2 bank statements for every account you have and don’t leave out any pages as this will delay your file. If there is any unusual activity on the account like large deposits or withdrawals, I suggest you make a note to the short sale processor explaining why. Put out the fire before it starts…

Last 2 Years Tax returns: The short sale lender will also want to see your past 2 years of federal tax returns, dated and signed, on every single page. If for some reason you haven’t failed, you should write a letter explaining why.

Last 2 W-2s or Profit and Loss Statement: The lender will require you to send in the past two years of w-2s disclosing your salary. However, if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to send in a profit and loss statement. If you’re not self-employed, you should also send in your payroll stubs supporting the w-2s. Explain any bonuses or other pay increases if applicable.

Preliminary HUD Statement: The preliminary HUD statement should be prepared by the title company that will do the closing. It contains all the details of the property such as a legal address, seller’s names, buyer’s names, and the estimated closing costs. It will break down all the costs of the transaction including the sale price, mortgage payoffs, real estate commissions, taxes, insurance, etc.

The CMA [comparative market analysis]: Your short sale agent should also prepare a comparative market analysis to be included with the short sale package. It’s a report of comparable homes sold in the same area. A CMA report should justify the offer price and should be included if the offer price is less than the listing price.

Contractors Estimate: If the home requires some repairs to make it livable or even minor repairs, it’s always a good idea to include a contractor’s estimate of how much it will cost to make the repairs. If you want to be thorough, you should get 3 estimates from different contractors.

Short Sales Aren’t Guaranteed

Keep in mind that there is never a guarantee when it comes to short sales. Just because you followed all the steps and did everything the lender asked of you, there’s still a chance that your short sale will be denied by the lender. If this happens, don’t give up!

If you have an experienced short sale agent in your corner, they won’t give up either. Sometimes it takes some negotiating and jumping through a few more hoops to get it done.

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The Difference between a Short Sale and a Foreclosure

Short Sales and Foreclosures are Very Different Situations

Most people who have never been through a short sale or a foreclosure, think it’s the same thing. Although short sales and foreclosures have a few things in common, they are both very different scenarios… especially when you’re the homeowner going through it. Doing a short sale will always be better than letting your house go to foreclosure just to avoid the damage to your credit among other benefits.

What’s a Short Sale?

A short sale occurs when a homeowner can no longer afford to make the mortgage payments to their Bank, and they have to sell the home for less than what’s owed. Many times, homeowners are already in active foreclosure when they decide to try and short sale the property. The homeowner must also prove to the lender they’re going through some kind of hardship affecting their ability to pay.

Even if the homeowner meets all the criteria of a typical short sale, it must still have the final approval of the lender. The majority of lenders will opt for a short sale instead of taking a homeowner through a costly foreclosure process.

Benefits of a Short Sale

Avoid Foreclosure- A foreclosure can damage your credit for up to 7 years whereas a short sale will have much less of an impact.

Eliminate your Debt- Eliminate your debt with the bank for good. Be sure that your short sale realtor tells the bank that you’re not able or willing to repay the entire amount of the deficiency.

Cash Back to Sellers Many banks offer cash-back programs so they have money to relocate to another home.

Why would my Bank agree to a Short Sale?

Banks don’t make their money by foreclosing on homes. They lose money… taking a mortgage holder through a foreclosure takes is expensive and can take a long time. Lenders also realize that if they do foreclose on the house, they’re just going to have to list it and end up taking a loss anyway.

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Orlando Short Sales: Ask The Expert

Orlando Short Sale Expert Q & A

In this post, we address the most common questions among consumers about short sales and how they differ from traditional sales. In the hot seat, today will be our very own Orlando short sale expert Jenny Zamora. She’s been successfully doing short sales since 2004 way before most people even knew what a short sale was.

Question: What’s the difference between a short sale and a traditional sale in a real estate transaction?

Jenny Zamora: In a short sale scenario, the home is sold for less than what’s owed on the mortgage. Short sales usually take much longer to complete because they need to be approved by the lender/mortgage holder. Sometimes there is more than one mortgage on the home which can sometimes complicate things if both lenders don’t agree.

Once the lender [s] have agreed to the short sale amount then it becomes a normal transaction with a contract signed by both the seller and buyer.

Question: How is a foreclosure different from a short sale?

Jenny Zamora: A foreclosure is when the lender files a lawsuit against the homeowner because they’ve failed to make several mortgage payments and haven’t pursued any other options such as a short sale, loan modification, or paying off the loan. As a result, the property is either sold at a public auction or taken back by the bank if the reserve hasn’t been met.

With a short sale, the homeowner is usually between 60 to 180 days behind on their mortgage payments because of some kind of personal or financial hardship. The property also must be worth less than what’s owed on the note for the short sale to be approved. Although a seller can’t profit from a short sale, many lenders often provide the sellers with relocation costs [usually around $3000] so they have money to help them move into another home.

A short sale however isn’t nearly as bad nor does it stay on your credit report as long as a foreclosure will.

Question: How long does it take to complete a short sale in today’s market?

Jenny Zamora: Short sales used to take 3 to 4 months and even longer to complete even if you followed up with the banks several times per week. As a result, many buyers were getting frustrated and walking away. This happened mostly because lenders just weren’t equipped to handle that many short sales at once and they had no systems in place to help streamline the process. These days, lenders have systems in place and more staff to help move the short sale processing along much faster resulting in much faster responses, typically within 2 to 3 weeks.

Question: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to purchase a short sale?

Jenny Zamora: 1st and foremost to make sure they’re dealing with a short sale specialist. If the agent isn’t familiar with short sales and how they work you could end up being disappointed and not getting your offer approved. Even though I’ve been doing short sales in Orlando since 2004, I’m constantly keeping up to date on the latest information when it comes to short sales, bank procedures, and guidelines.

An experienced short-sale Realtor knows how important it is to stay up to date. Just like there are specialists in the medical field, the same holds in Orlando real estate. We specialize in foreclosure prevention and short sales which is why our company is so proactive in staying educated and informed.

Question: What are the things that can most likely go wrong with a short sale transaction?

Jenny Zamora: Some things can happen with a short sale that is sometimes beyond our control. The most important thing to realize is that it’s ultimately up to the lender to approve or deny a short sale offer. This is another reason to work with a short sales specialist. If the bank comes back with a value that’s way too high, we have to do everything we can to dispute their valuation. Sometimes that means providing contractor’s estimates for repairs as well as a CMA on the home.

A traditional listing agent may not even be aware that you can dispute the bank’s valuation of a property and just let the deal fall apart.

Do you need a Realtor to short sale?

Question: Do you need a Realtor to short sell a home or buy a short sale?

Jenny Zamora: Yes and Yes… and I can’t stress enough to hire a Realtor with a lot of experience in short sales. On the seller’s side, the home needs to be listed by an agent as a requirement by the lender. You also want a strong negotiator in your corner.

As a buyer, it isn’t required to hire your own buyer’s agent. However, if you don’t then you’ll end up using the listing agent as your agent… I strongly recommend you hire your agent that way you have someone looking out solely for your best interests, especially when it comes to negotiating.

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Why Use A Short Sale Specialist?

Most Realtors in Orlando won’t touch a short sale file while others… even though they’ve never done a short sale… refuse to ask for help which can seriously hurt a homeowner’s chances at selling their home via short sale.

As the leading short sale experts in Orlando, we take on all short sale listings, even the ones that other agents want no part of. You see, it is one thing to process a short sale with just one lender but when you have to deal with multiple lenders and or liens attached it becomes a whole other ball game.

A short sale specialist should know everything there is to know about the process and everything else that goes into facilitating the entire transaction. The agent should be aware of everything from foreclosure postponement, lender guidelines, and the latest state short sale regulations. There’s no situation that should arise that’s is beyond your short sale agent’s comprehension.

Cash Back To Seller Programs

Even though your lender is accepting a loss on what’s owed to them, many times we’re able to get our short sale clients anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000 back at the closing for relocation costs. A short sale agent should be up-to-date on all the various cashback to seller programs offered by different lenders. If they aren’t aware of this it could cost the homeowner thousands of dollars when they need it the most.

How Does A Short Sale Agent Get Compensated?

In a typical short sale transaction, the lender pays the real estate commission from the sale price. Some agents will try to put a short sale processing fee on the CD [Closing Disclosure formerly as the HUD-1] but it must be approved by the lender. You should never, ever pay a real estate agent prior to doing your short sale. Only attorneys are legally allowed to charge an upfront fee to complete your short sale.

If you’re in a situation where you need to do a short sale on your home, be sure to hire a proven expert in order to give yourself the best chance at making the sale happen. For a free consultation with one of our Orlando short sale experts visit or call 407-902-7750.

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Short Sales In Orlando Still Rank Near The Top In U.S.

Although short sales in Orlando have dwindled in recent years, Central Florida still ranks as one of the top regions in the US having the most short sale listings.

Ironically, “short sales” can take a very long time to complete. These are homes in which the bank is willing to entertain a lower amount than what’s owed on the mortgage, in order to recoup most of their money.

More than 1 in every ten homes that were sold in the Orlando area in the last quarter of 2016 area was a short sale listing. The only other areas that had a higher short sale rate in the state of Florida were Fort Myers and Lakeland.

When short sales first became popular after the market crash of 2007, banks were willing to accept a much bigger loss than is the case today. This meant that investors and rehabbers like me were enjoying much larger profits than is the case with short sales today.

These days banks want as close to full market value as they can get. Many times these listings only make sense if you plan on moving into the house and making repairs yourself.

As an Orlando real estate investor, I make several offers on short sale listings every week most of which get denied for being too low. When buying a property as an investment home to resale you have to consider all the costs involved like repairs, closing costs, marketing, staging, etc. After doing the math, I can tell you that most short sale listings right now in Orlando are way… way overpriced for investors to make any money on them.

Certified distressed Property Expert

Banks are realizing that if they just let the home go to foreclosure, they can sell it for closer to market value instead of accepting a low-ball offer from an investor. Orlando short sales are ending up being auctioned off online auction these days more than ever. This strategy also allows these lenders to expose their property to anyone in the world with a computer.

Orlando’s continued distinction for short sales is a clear indication of how depressed this area’s housing market was just a few short years ago. At that time, there were more Orlando short sales and foreclosures than there were traditional sales. It has taken several years to push these distressed Orlando properties out of the pipeline.

Now that market conditions have been steadily improving, more homeowners are able to sell their homes at a profit. And for homeowners that are a bit underwater are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that will allow them to hang in there instead of having to come up with the difference at the closing.

For homeowners that are deeply underwater that are still at risk of losing their home to foreclosure, a short sale is still their preferred alternative because it does a lot less damage to the homeowner’s credit. They can also walk away with less debt and even come away with a few thousand bucks in their pocket for relocation costs.

I can tell you from experience as an Orlando Realtor and investor that short sales are no longer the deals they once were. Banks are being harder negotiators than ever and if they don’t get their number, they have no problem foreclosing.

Buyers who want to use the home as their primary residence and are willing to pay close to market value can still get a slight discount buying an Orlando short sale. However, for most retail buyers when they hear the word “short sale”, they usually pass because they know that short sale lenders can take a long time to respond and there’s never a guarantee that they will accept your offer.

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