The short sale process from A to Z

The short sale process from A to Z – Short selling your Fresno home, step by step.

By: Jeremy Smiley, Realtor, Short Sale Specialist, London Properties

Step one: Do your due diligence. Search the web and find out as much as you can on the process. There are a lot of misconceptions about short sales. Be sure a short sale is the right thing for you and your family.

Step two: Hire an agent. I know of a really good one, visit his website here. You need to hire an agent who has done many short sales. Don’t worry about commissions because the bank pays all commissions and closing costs for you. And you can rest assured the job is getting done right.

Step three: Put your home on the market. At this point your agent will list your property for sale and price it at “today’s current market value”. Don’t worry about the list price either…You see, the bank doesn’t care about the amount you owe or how much they may lose. As long as the home sells for its current market value, there will be no issues about price.

Step four: Hardship documents. Your agent will request you to gather the required documents need for your “Short Sale Package” that will be submitted to your lender(s). The required documents are;
a. Letter of Authorization (Authorizing you agent to speak with your lenders.)
b. Hardship letter
c. Financial information form (most lenders have their own version)
d. Statement of information
e. Two most recent paycheck stubs
f. Two most recent bank statements
g. Two most recent 1040’s (first two pages only)
If you are missing any one of these you will need a short written explanation, signed and dated.

Step five:  Accept an offer for submission. Once an offer or offer(s) come in on the property your agent will have you accept the best offer and submit it for review by your lender(s). The offer will be packaged together with all your “Hardship Documents” and faxed to the appropriate department for review and acceptance.

Step six: The waiting game. This is the most misunderstood aspect of short sales both by sellers and buyers alike. But as long as everyone is educated on the timeframes associated with short sales there will no surprises for anyone involved. It’s really the listing agents job to educated everyone on the expected timeframes.  The average timeframe for a short sale is 45-60 days for lender approval. There are several steps involved in the lender review process. Here’s a quick break down.

a. Preliminary document review (3-7 days) – Verifying all documents needed for short sale are there.
b. Assign to a negotiator (5-10 days) – The file is assigned to a negotiator for processing.
c. BPO ordered (7-14 days) – A BPO is similar to an appraisal. To get current value of home.
d. Counter offer or acceptance (7-14 days) – If the offer is within 85% of value they will usually approve the offer. If the offer is to low, the lender will counter with a higher price.

These time frames will be extended if any needed documents are missing from the file.

Step seven: Received short sale acceptance letter and open escrow. Once the short sale is approved the negotiator will send an acceptance letter over and your agent will open escrow with a local title company. It’s very important that your agent has a great working relationship with the title company chosen to handle the escrow. These short sales are very tricky, and an inexperienced escrow officer can kill a deal. The acceptance letter should state that the “Lien” will be released and how it will be reported on your credit report. Always strive to have the short sale reported as “Paid as agreed” on your credit report.

Step eight: Close the Deal! The average escrow will take 45 days to close. At this point you can rent for 2 years and buy again or you may be able to buy again right away.

Jeremy Smiley, Realtor
Short Sale Specialist
London Properties – Fresno, CA

About Jeremy Smiley

Jeremy Smiley is a life long resident of Fresno CA. He started his real estate career in 2005 after an eight year career in marketing. After graduating at the top of his class at the London Properties School of Real Estate, he quickly earned the “Senior Sales Associate” Distinction. By his second year in business Jeremy had become a Mutil-Million Dollar Producer. At the end of 2007 Jeremy saw the pending real estate decline and decided to jump ahead of the wave of foreclosures and become a "Short Sale Specialist". Since then Jeremy has helped countless families avoid foreclosure and save their credit. Jeremy puts it best when he says "I'm saving our economy and community one family at a time."

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