July 29th, 2008 10:37 AM by Lehel Szucs
In a short sale, homesellers ask their lender to accept a buyer’s offer that is less than the amount needed to pay off the balance of the mortgage. Lenders who agree to a short sale also typically agree to forgive the remaining debt.
Many call short sales a win-win for lenders and homeowners. The homeowner avoids foreclosure and banks avoid the cost of carrying the property through the lengthy foreclosure process, not to mention the hassles of selling an empty property in a market saturated with other foreclosures.
On average, lenders lose approximately 19 percent of a mortgage’s value with a short sale but lose an average of 40 percent on mortgages that proceed to foreclosure, according to one source.
The problem with short sales? Like other foreclosure mitigation efforts, the challenge is in determining which financial entity "owns" the loan and, thus, has the final say on a short sale offer. Banks also have been slow to ramp up internal processes needed to review and approve short sale packages. Delays and last-minute dickering often prolong or even derail transaction closings and creates frustration for potential homebuyers and their real estate agents.
In our experience a short sale can be a great deal for someone that has the patience to wait for the bank's approval. Some banks are quick with a response while others take quite some time. In our experience we also found that banks act much quicker the closer it gets to the foreclosure sale.