Buy A Short Sale Home At Heavily Discounted Prices

You may have been reading or heard about all the money that you can save today with the purchase of a short sale home. Many people who do not even have any experience with buying homes or real estate investments are now buying these homes with great success. This is, however, a process that must be fully understood before being undertaken.

When you are buying this real estate, you are essentially purchasing a home at a heavily discounted price. The words “Short Sale” basically mean that the seller’s lender is willing to accept a payoff amount less than balance of the current mortgage. You can make offers on homes, which the seller and their lender will then consider. Both the seller and the lender must be in agreement for the short sale to be accepted.

Lenders will most often allow a home to be listed for short sale if the current buyer has fallen behind on mortgage payments or has completely stopped making payments. However, in some cases a lender might allow the current buyer to list the home as a short sale even if they are completely current on their mortgage payments. Situations like this may happen when the buyer has become “upside down”(owing more than the home is even worth) in the home due to the real estate market value dropping.

If you are considering buying a short sale house, it is vital that you do some investigation once you have found a potential home. Finding out whether a foreclosure notice has been issued and learning the amount that is still owed on the home, information that an agent can obtain for you, will help you in deciding if this is a good chance to make an offer. Lenders that offer a home that they are foreclosing on may be more motivated than those who have homes that the buyers are still making payments on. Knowing the amount owed is helpful since it will give you an idea of the finances behind the deal: How much the lender might be willing to sell for. Getting all of the pertinent information can save you a bundle when you are purchasing these properties.

Is A Short Sale The Right Choice?

With the decline in home values in the past few years, some homeowners who need to sell in the current market find themselves trapped, as they owe more than their home is worth. In this situation, the short sale can become a viable option.

What is a short sale:

A short sale is simply a sale in which the proceeds are not enough to cover all of the outstanding obligations associated with the sale of the home including the mortgage or mortgages, unpaid property taxes, attorney’s fees, title expenses, commissions, etc. This shortage would require the seller to bring money to the closing or to negotiate a “shorted” payoff with their lender. The lender has no obligation to agree to this, but many will. In most cases, a short sale is attempted by sellers who are facing foreclosure or have fallen behind and no longer have the ability to continue making their payments.

The process:

There are a lot of misconceptions about the short sale process and the lender’s role in it, even among some RealtorĀ®s. The seller’s lender’s role is nothing more than that of a contingency. This can vary by state depending on whether it’s a title theory state or lien theory state. This information applies to Illinois, which is a lien theory state (the owner holds title and the lender holds a lien on the property)

The seller owns the home and ultimately is the one who, with the help of their agent, accepts, rejects or proposes a counter offer once an offer is received. When the offer is accepted by the seller, it is done so contingent on their lender agreeing to accept the net proceeds of the sale as full settlement of the amounts owed. I’ve had more than one occasion where an agent working for a buyer asks when their offer will be submitted to the bank, even before the seller has agreed to accept it. It can add to the confusion if multiple offers are received. Some think that all offers must be presented to the lender. This is not accurate. All offers must be presented to the seller, not to the lender. The goal of the listing agent should be to obtain the best offer possible, thereby giving the transaction the best possible chance of actually closing.

What are the odds of a successful closing?

They’re actually better than they used to be. Nowadays it makes sense for banks to seriously consider accepting a short sale as, in many cases, they net more money overall versus going through the whole foreclosure process, taking the home back and marketing it as an REO (Real Estate Owned). Illinois is a judicial foreclosure state. Some states are non-judicial. Judicial foreclosures take much more time to complete. In Illinois, the process can take a year or more. There are some states which take upwards of 3 years. When you consider that, in most cases, the bank is receiving nothing while the process drags along, you start to see their motivation to consider other options. Add to this the deterioration to the property during that time and the additional carrying costs, and the benefits to the bank become even more clear. The bank in this situation, much like the homeowner, is looking for the best way to limit their losses.

The benefits of a short sale:

Lenders generally don’t allow the seller to receive any of the proceeds of the sale. This is fair when you consider that the whole basis of the short sale is negotiating with the lender to get them to take less than what they’re owed. The only exception I’ve seen to this was years ago when, due to an error, we were out of balance by $.06 The title company actually cut a check to the seller for six cents! As a seller in this situation, one needs to keep in mind that, if the lender agrees to the short sale, they are allowing the seller to avoid having a foreclosure on their record which follows them around for many years. Additionally, most short sales also let the seller out from under the debt without being chased for a deficiency. These two things should be all the motivation you need. there are no guarantees of being successful but it’s certainly worth the effort.

Who should you call?

These transactions are not for beginners. There is no substitute for experience when it comes to navigating through this process. An experienced agent and attorney are crucial. In this situation it makes sense to ask a lot of questions. There are specialized short sale/foreclosure courses available for agents. Some are very worthwhile but these courses alone don’t necessarily make the agent an expert. An agent referred by a seller who’s been through this process is definitely someone worth talking to.

What will it cost?

In most cases, it will cost you nothing unless there’s an upfront fee charged by the agent to list the home. All agents negotiate their own fees. It should cost you nothing to talk to an agent and get information. All commissions and other closing costs a seller would normally pay will be factored in and, if the lender agrees to the short sale, they are agreeing to the net amount of the sale so essentially, it is the lender that is paying your closing costs. For someone facing foreclosure, a short sale can be an excellent solution.

How Soon Can You Be Evicted After The Foreclosure Sheriff Sale?

Homeowners in foreclosure are rightfully worried about not being able to save their homes and how quickly they will be evicted after the sheriff sale. Although the lender and various “experts” will threaten them with the sheriff showing up the next day to violently kick them out of the house, this is just not the case in foreclosure situation. The county sheriff and the eviction crew will not show up the next day after the sheriff sale, and homeowners should ignore the fear-mongering that threatens this possibility.

Owners should be aware of the implications of the foreclosure auction, though. The sheriff sale will transfer ownership of the property, and the foreclosure victims will not own the house after this point. But this does not mean that the eviction process will happen automatically right after the house is auctioned, as there are more steps that will need to be taken by the new owner.

The high bidder at the auction will most likely have to have the sheriff sale confirmed (this is not a specifically detailed step in every state). This can take from a few days to a couple of weeks after the auction, depending on how quickly the courts and new owner act. But this is generally just a simple step in the foreclosure process after the sale that involves the sheriff and judge confirming the auction was for a legal amount and that the deed has now been awarded to the new owner.

The new owner will most likely be the original foreclosing bank that the homeowners had been dealing with in the first place to stop foreclosure. About 95% of foreclosures end up being purchased by the lender, rather than a third party.

In order to evict former homeowners, the lender will have to request the court grant it possession of the property and order the county sheriff to evict any remaining people or personal items and change the locks. This is a legal process, though. Homeowners should not fear that a bunch of government thugs with badges and guns will show up at their house the day after the sheriff sale to kick them out. Of course, this is exactly what happens, but at a later date if the foreclosure victims do not move out in time.

But the entire eviction process can take up to a month after the sale; throwing people out of their homes is not a simple process before or after a county auction. The court will have no problem ordering the eviction (unless the former owners go and try to contest the sale, eviction order, etc.), but the sheriff’s department will have to give notice of the impending removal. This can be as little as posting a piece of paper on the property with three days notice to move. Thus, after the sheriff sale, former homeowners better be prepared to leave on their own or work out another solution.

People facing foreclosure should not be overly concerned about being kicked out of a house with little notice. The sheriff will not just show up the next day or a few hours after the sheriff sale, as there is still a legal process that must be followed for a bank to take back possession of a foreclosed property. Homeowners probably have at least two weeks to a month after the sheriff sale date to arrange for a new place to move into.

In any event, homeowners are always encouraged to call the sheriff’s department to ask them when then eviction will take place. Even more promising, they can also usually ask for a few extra days or a week in order to move everything out and give up the house peacefully. There is still a chance to negotiate with the local government for more time (courts and sheriff) so that the former owners are not taken by surprise by the eviction.

Thus, the banks and government officials will not evict foreclosure victims right away after the auction, but there is no time to spare, either. Having a couple of weeks to move out can give people a chance to find a place and move in at their own pace, but even a month-long eviction process will go by very quickly. If in doubt, homeowners should contact their local government officials and ask about the eviction — the courts or sheriff will be able to inform them of the date and try to work out the most reasonable solution. They want as little trouble after foreclosure as the former homeowners do.

The Power of the Power of Sale Clause

We are finding out the hard way in a Contract for Deed we purchased in Alabama about the Power of the Power of Sale Clause. The Power of Sale clause is one of many clauses written into most mortgages which will allow the lender or owner of the mortgage the power to sell the property in the event of a default by the homeowner, in order to pay off the mortgage debt. It is for all purposes the equivalent of a foreclosure, without having to foreclose judicially in non-judicial States.

In our case, the Power of Sale clause was not included in the deed, so we are not able to easily “evict” the occupants non-judically as we expected. It is causing us to file for a judicial foreclosure, resulting in more time and money to remove the non-paying occupants. We are offering them a “Cash for Keys” option to help them motivate them to leave quickly.

The clause pre-authorizes the sale of the property when the homeowner defaults, and each State has its own procedures for this. They typically call for a limited notice of foreclosure such as mailing, posting the notice on the property, or publishing it in the newspaper. Then the trustee can sell the property at a foreclosure sale. The process must follow the timeline and waiting periods set by the State when completing the Power of Sale foreclosure.

As of today, 30 states allow for a foreclosure by the Power of Sale, and for the borrowers, it has some advantages. The first is you can not seek a deficiency judgment in some states. This means that if they owe $100,000.00, and the house sells for $80,000.00, there is still $20,000.00 owed.

Lenders typically file a deficiency judgment against the person, which is a unsecured lien that needs to be taken care of before they can finance anything in the future like a car or new home. Also, if the borrower files a lawsuit, it will need to be reviewed judicially, or in court.

The disadvantages for the homeowner is the process is much faster, and less costly to the lender than foreclosing on the property. So they can lose their house quicker. Foreclosures in NY or NJ could be 5-7 years and reach $5,000.00 to $10,000.00+.

Also, there is no judicial review unless they file a lawsuit. They can not plead their case to a judge unless they file a lawsuit, which includes paying the court and attorney fees. Difficult if they are not even able to pay the loan.

And even with the Power of Sale Clause, some lenders decide to pursue a judicial foreclosure if there are some title issues such as flaws in the document, as we found out, or if they want to pursue the deficiency judgment since some states will not let them have the deficiency judgment unless they judicially foreclose.

When buying defaulted mortgages and deeds, always remember to review the documents for the Power of Sale clause, as we have found out, it’s a very important clause that should be in there.

Distressed Properties Sale: Buying Tips

If you are looking for investments in the real estate market that will double your money, consider buying at distressed properties sale. So, why is a property that has been foreclosed because its owner failed to pay for its monthly mortgages a good investment? It is because a foreclosed property is sold cheaply. For a small amount you can buy your own house, which you can either live in, rent to other people or fix and resell.

Where to Look for Distressed Properties:

Many homeowners who have fallen into bad times and found themselves unable to continue to pay for the monthly mortgage of their properties are willing to sell them instead of waiting for lenders to repossess them. And because they are in a hurry to dispose their properties to avoid foreclosure, they would sell their homes way below the current market value to attract buyers.

If you are interested in buying at distressed properties sale, better arrange your finances first before you approach the owner. There are several advantages of organizing your finances before making an offer. For one, you will know how far you can go when negotiating for the price of the property. Another advantage is, it will give you a leverage during negotiations as the owner would be more inclined to sell to you the property if he sees that you have the ready money.

Some Factors to Consider Before Closing a Deal:

Just because you have found a cheap foreclosure property to buy, it does not mean that you will grab it immediately without taking some steps to make sure that you are getting a good deal. A distressed homeowner who is desperate to sell his house before it goes into foreclosure would opt to withhold any information he deems would turn the buyer away. He knows that information, such as hidden liens, unpaid taxes and major structural damage, can affect his chances of selling his property.

Be aware of these pitfalls so that you will not be left with a property that is more of a headache than a good investment. Buying at distressed properties sale is a good deal only to people who practice due diligence.