You absolutely can qualify for a short sale. Being relocated does qualify for a SS. You want to be sure that you use a REALTOR that is certified and experienced in handling short sales. The process takes skill and finesse and you don't want an inexperienced agent selling your home who is unfamiliar with the bank's procedures. Your hardship letter should focus on the fact that you're being relocated and are forced to sell, and as a result, you are forced to list your home at the current market value, which will ultimately force you to be in a SS.
Do not do a deed in lieu as someone mentioned below. These are a voluntary foreclosure and the difference in your mortgage and what the bank sells your home for can be collected as secure debt later, and the bank can even 1099 you for the difference. I had a client who chose to not continue our short sale process against my advice and he called me last week because he received a 1099 for $290,000, the difference in his mortgage balance and the sold price of his home after he did a deed in lieu. In a short sale scenario, an experienced agent should be able to ask for forgiveness on your behalf when you receive the offer lower than your balance.
I do have agents I work with all over the country. If you need an experienced agent in FL, please feel free to contact me directly and I am happy to refer you to one based on what area in FL you reside. Good luck!
Do you have mortgage insurance? If so, that will be another part of the approval process.
Regardless if late before or not, lenders are accepting short sales. I just completed one for a client that had a 750 FCIO score and was never late on his debts...it was an issue, but it's all about making the glass look half empty vs half full when making the case to the lender.
If you need help or have other questions just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
Most prelim apprvals are just from the servicer on behalf of the investor without the investor direct input - just a guideline. Getting approvals while current on the mortgage is NOT as common as it was back in the 1990s...of course many professionals would not know that because they only started doing short sales the last few years as they jumped on the preforeclosure bandwagon. I would absolutely not make any assurances that it can be approved with no problem. That would not be a fair representation...
I'm an attorney and broker with a presence all over the state of MD - feel free to call and chat some more if you have any further questions, or visit my blog (url below) for lots of additional helpful information. Everything is free to you the homeowner.
Short sale are intended for hardship situations. If your relocation was a necessity that could be considered a hardship. Most people cannot afford a home in two locations. Check with a short sale specialist in your local area.
What constitutes hardship? Reasons why people apply for a short sale
Too much debt
Death of spouse
Mortgage payment increases
Job relocation --- here's one factor in your case
Damage to property
Decline in market value (needing to sell, but property is worth less) - and here's another.
Because you haven't missed any payments ---- and we really don't want to say this --- but some banks may not even peek at your file unless you're seriously delinquent. As long as you're able to maintain your payments, the negotiators will think that you have the financial wherewithal to keep it up.
However...because you're relocating, and if the property is worth less than what you paid for it, those are serious enough reasons that may qualify you as a hardship case for a short sale.