Anthem Short Sales…

As we  complete the fifth year of the real estate market downturn I am still asked by people, “what is a short sale and how does it work?”

The best definition I can give of a short sale is, the seller of a home is trying to sell the home SHORT of what they owe on their mortgage.  And that’s where the simplicity of a short sale ends.

Short sales are a complex, long and often aggravating experience for sellers, buyers, and real estate agents alike.  However, they do have their advantages from a seller’s standpoint.

First of all, they are less damaging to a seller’s credit score than a bank foreclosure, assuming the seller is staying current with their mortgage payments.  Don’t believe the myth out there that you have to be behind on payments to conduct a short sale.  That is not always the case.  If it is possible for you to stay current on your mortgage payments by all means, do so.

Secondly, whereas most lenders won’t lend to a borrower who has a foreclosure on their record for upwards of seven years, some lenders will lend to folks with a short sale within as little as two.  Again, less damaging to the seller than a bank foreclosure.

As I mentioned above, the process of the short sale can be arduous.  The best way I can describe it is this.  Think of the process as being the opposite of when you were applying for the home loan in the first place.  But instead of proving to the bank that you are credit worthy and eligible to receive a loan, now you are trying to convince the bank that you can no longer handle the loan.  Most of the time this involves some type of financial hardship.  But that doesn’t always have to be the case.  In some cases a bank will entertain a short sale if the seller is being relocated for employment purposes, and sometimes in matters of divorce. Each short sale is unique.

So, much like when you were applying for a home loan, the bank will require a lot of documentation.  This usually includes, but is not limited to the following:

– Recent pay stubs;

– Recent bank statements;

– Two most recent years of filed tax returns;

– A hardship letter explaining why you are conducting a short sale;

– The listing agreement;

– A purchase contract;

– In most cases your Realtor will need a third party authorization form allowing him/her to communicate with your bank on your behalf.

As the process wears on the banks will often request updated information, such as more recent pay stubs and bank statements.

The best advice I can give seller’s trying to conduct a short sale is, expect the unexpected, and be patient.  The banks are very large bureaucratic institutions.  Oftentimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  So you may get frustrated. But with an experienced short sale listing agent you the seller shouldn’t have too much of the burden placed upon you.  The agent will handle most of the work.

We always advise speaking to a real estate attorney and a tax attorney as well before conducting a short sale, as there could be tax implications depending upon your unique situation and different state laws.

From a buyer’s perspective the key to the short sale is patience.  If you’ve got time, and you can remove yourself emotionally from the home, short sales are not a bad option.  After the seller receives bank approval on the short sale the process is very similar to a standard transaction.  A little more paperwork, but nothing too burdensome.

We, Jerry Murphy and Ben Bailey, have been involved in about a hundred short sales over the past 4 plus years, both from the seller’s side and the buyer’s side.  We don’t shy away from them.

For more information about short sales please contact us at: Jerry 602-334-3757 or Ben 480-220-8022.

And for more information about Phoenix and Scottsdale area real estate please visit:


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