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This is the situation thousands of families are dealing with as the housing market tumbles. One option that's becoming more popular is a short sale.
Basically, the short sale is when the lending company handling the mortgage accepts a payoff for less than the amount owed. The homeowner avoids the consequences of a foreclosure.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. In a situation where a homeowner is behind in mortgage payments, looking at possible foreclosure, a short sale provides a way out.
“There are some short sales out there that are great deals where the banks are maybe willing to take less than market value, but no banks are giving away properties,” said Jeremy Wilson of ChuckTown Homes Real Estate.
Here's how the deal breaks down. A seller agrees to a short sale contract. Buyers can then put in an offer on the home based on a listing price. The tricky part is getting the bank or lending company to take the offer. Jeremy Wilson, owner and listing specialst at ChuckTown Homes, deals with short sales and foreclosures on a daily basis. He says one issue is many banks are not used to dealing with so many short sale transactions.
“They absolutely have to be patient, these banks two years ago barely had a short sale department, one or two people. Now they have 20, 30, 40 people working in the short sale department,” said Wilson.
The upside, homeowners don't foreclose and their credit record takes a smaller hit. The bank eliminates an outstanding debt, and a buyer finds themselves a good deal.
Wilson did say buyers need to be patient in short sale deals. He says banks can take up to two months before deciding on an offer. Real estate experts highly recommend both buyers and sellers speak with legal counsel before signing off on a short sale
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