Short Sales: How To Get Started

A short sale provides a peace-of-mind alternative to struggling homeowners who want to avoid foreclosure but cannot sell their homes for what is owed on their mortgages.

For example, if a homeowner owes $200,000 on his mortgage and has fallen behind on payments due to a financial hardship, they will be faced with the reality of foreclosure unless an alternate path is taken. In an effort to avoid foreclosure, they can place their home on the market with the hope of finding a buyer willing to purchase the property for close to market value. In a short sale, if the Buyer’s offer is $150,000.00, the mortgage lender agrees to accept the $150,000, even though it is less than (or “short”) the total owed, and release the mortgage from the property and may forgive the homeowner for the balance that is owed.

Although it may sound simple, there are many intricacies involved in negotiating and finalizing a short sale that will truly result in protection of the seller’s remaining assets, preserve credit, satisfy existing liens, all while ensuring release of liability for the debt and peace of mind for the struggling homeowner. Sellers who try to negotiate their own short sales or rely solely on the advice of their real estate agents will commonly be faced with find that there the volume of paperwork, challenges that arise during negotiations, and completing the entire short sale process can be overwhelming, confusing, and very difficult to complete.

The first and most crucial step in the short sale process is hiring a real estate lawyer with extensive short sale experience. A lawyer can negotiate the short sale on your behalf, as well give provide legal advice about all aspects of the transaction. In addition, short sale attorneys can negotiate for all attorney fees to be paid by the Seller’s lender, so homeowners have the comfort of knowing that a qualified attorney is representing them through the transaction at no cost, instead of having only their Realtor who in unable to provide legal advice and may not have the expertise or experience to fully navigate the short sale negotiations.

Financial hardships and the fear of foreclosure and/or bankruptcy place enough stress on homeowners attempting a short sale. The last things anyone wants to deal with are surprises during the short sale process or after closing that defeat the benefits and relief a successful short sale can bring. Access to competent, experienced legal counsel and representation throughout the entire process is the only way to provide a homeowner with full legal protection and ultimately ensure a successful transaction.

Contact the experienced real estate lawyers at Rothamel Bratton for sound legal guidance with your short sale. We assist clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Florida.