Even CNN today hopped on the bandwagon of so called "Short Sales" as the new answer to the mortgage foreclosure and debt crisis. Clark Howard reported this morning that Banks are now looking to streamline the process and approvals for short sales. That's good for the consumer, right?
It is important to understand the public perception of what a "short sale" actually is. People in financial trouble have an even scarier notion. The popular understanding in the public is that a short sale is:
- the sale of real estate
- at fair market value
- by the Owner
- with permission from the Bank (mortgage holder)
The problem is the next myth that most of the public and definitely the person in financial trouble tend to believe:
5. that absolves the Owner of any further liability
6. and helps your credit rating
Most people believe if they short sale the property they are free of the debt surrounding the house. Not necessarily. You really have to have a competent attorney read all the paperwork. Most short sales leave you on the hook for the deficiency, that is the balance of the note after the proceeds of the sale is applied to the note.
Another issue is that often the Bank "forgives" the balance, and you receive a for 1099 for the balance of the loan not paid. That means taxes may be due.
Further, the short sale may not affect your credit at all. There is little evidence that the failure to make payments, followed by a sale in which the balance is not paid is any worse than filing bankruptcy.
Short sales are NOT the panacea that everyone is proclaiming. Banks are merely trying to mitigate their up front losses on a sale, but don't be fooled into thinking you are guaranteed to walk away with no further debt or obligation.
Think twice and read the documents 3 times!
And go see a great attorney!