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4/30/2010

Short Sale Checklist

SHORT SALE Flags

Taking a listing on a short sale is not a simple transaction. To start, make list of the layers of people you will need to work with. A number of the parties in the transaction are under stress. A calm voice and organization is your mantra.
The seller of the house is doing so because they have to. The seller may have time constraints and personal issues, more than what I call the four D’s –(death divorce and disaster). Often the seller may be unemployed or out of work as are so many Americans today. Being in the same boat does not make it any easier. A come to Jesus talk from the start is useful and you will need a yellow note pad and likely tissues.
The Lender or Lenders as there may be a first second and third are often not the same company, and even if they are the loans may have been originated by companies/banks they have acquired by not so smooth transitions. The bank employees in loss mitigation departments have piles of files and are working long hours. The bank itself does not realize any profit from completing the transaction (but a minor $1500- $1000). The Underwriting, processing appraisal, legal and operations review staff may invest a total cost of $ 40000 of labor and paperwork.

The subject property is likely to have deferred maintenance which you need to accurately review. The seller has no money to strap the water heater, provide termite clearance costs or purchase and repair things that may be health and safety hazards, which are impossible to overcome if the offer is a government loan contingency.

Next you will have the Property tax Collector/ Assessor who probably has not been paid. Taxes don't get waived. Most counties have local websites to view what penalties and balance is owed, and the owner should have a recent bill.

Then also consider and uncover the existing Fire Insurance coverage. You need an adequate review in advance as a distressed seller may have multiple claims which increases the cost of insurance on the subject (assumption being repairs may have not been completed). Also in the mix may be the Home Owner Association. In California H.O.A.’s are managed by separate management companies (who also have been unpaid).

Neighbors may also be a negative or positive influence upon the listing. This may have been caused by the Seller lacking financial ability to maintain the property. You should be able to convince the neighbors that a new equity owner in the neighborhood's best interest as they will "fix up" the house.

Upfront you need to be organized. The Seller will need to provide 2 months bank statements (of all assets), paystubs for a month, w-2 forms and tax returns. The Seller will need to write an explanation letter of their hardship circumstance. The seller will have to show some utility bills and proof of occupancy. Mortgage statements, HOA statements, Fire Insurance and Tax bill. Signature on a 4506T form signed and Credit Authorization signed (they are going to check the taxes and every single thing).

The day you have collected your complete pile of papers and have an accurate dollar amount of everything past due you are ready to submit to the lenders. Most lenders loss mitigation departments have forms online ready for you to down load before you fax and paper overnight/ send the package. If I can tell you one vital tip it is this: HAVE EVERY SINGLE PIECE THE LENDER WANTS IN ONE PACKAGE UPFRONT. Make neat and have a contents cover page that reads simple and easy.

I have seen a number of strategies where Realtors/ agents only send for approval of the first lien holder then try to force the second and third to play ball. This can win if the other lien holders are related companies or if the losses are small. I have seen this fail every time the second is a credit union. It also creates additional delays and costs. Some lenders will only speak with the Seller, and you must have the Seller’s written authorization to speak with you on file (which the person on the phone will not locate and you will be ready to email it to them as you speak as an attachment. The glory of folders in email – label each one and be ready I say. Some lenders will accept the short sale package without a willing buyer/offer.

The pitfalls and the things to be aware of that a lender is not going to like:
Seller must be holder of title with no assignees. Also no assignees on purchase contract.
Lender may ask for 24 month chain of title and will review carefully if have been any LLC’, Corporations or any title transfers. These changes or having prior owners as company names are red flags. A family member or any related party can not be the buyer, this includes girlfriend boyfriend. Credit reports will show prior addresses and therefore reveals who knows who, among other cross references. Lenders may require two appraisals. This process takes time, i.e. appraisals become aged and have to be updated (this requires additional costs). It is important you are aware of comparable sales and market trends. Lender may restrict escrow/attorney and title fees. Lender will restrict commissions
Lender will check the relationship between the buyer and seller. Assume they will check everything and the seller and agents sign that items are truthful to the best of their knowledge.

Set up reasonable epectations of long time frames. It is easier to tell everyone a longer amount of time, and beat it.

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