Sf Real Esta…, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

what defines a short sell?

Asked by Sf Real Estate, San Francisco, CA Mon Oct 6, 2008

my wife and i need to sell our condo - not for financial reasons, but as we need more space (we were blessed with twins). we would likely break-even and/or loose $20k on our condo. financially, we are fine, but:
1) would this be a 'short sale'
2) would this impact my credit
3) when we sell, would we pay the loss difference to the bank, or finance the difference?

Help the community by answering this question:


A short sale is when you sell your home for more than what you owe the bank. For example: If you originally financed $500,000 and now its worth $300,000, your bank might allow you to short sell your home but there are many hurdles to jump before this can happen. For one, you need to qualify for the short sale which means that you must show a financial hardship to the bank. You would have to show bank statements tax returns w-2s etc. If you make too much money or if the bank feels that you do not qualify then youre outta luck. Also if there is more than one bank involved (you must obviously talk to both banks) and the second mortgage loses out completely they may not agree to the short sale.

Lets say you were able to convince both banks and you qualifed for the financial hardship you then would need to list the property with a realtor and here is where the fun begins. just because you have qualified for financial hardship doesnt mean the bank will sell. It has to make financial sense to bank to allow a short sale over letting the property go to the next step which is foreclosure. Okay back to the realtor, his/her job would be to provide a hud statement which is pretty much a break down of all the anticipated costs to the bank and the final dollar amount the bank would get. You would also have to sign an authorization letter giving the realtor authority to speak to the bank on your behalf. Then you list the property for sale.

Once you have a buyer the realtor must submit all of the documentation to the bank for their review. At this point the bank hires a "negotiator" to work the file on the bank's behalf. It can take anywhere from 2 to 3 months for a negotiator to be assigned as the bank are slammed with distressed properties at this time. Once the negotiator is assigned the process officially begins and at this point the bank can send a counter offer to the buyer or they can accept. Mind you this process can take a very long time and the problem with short sales is that buyers dont usually wait around for negotiators to get assigned etc. so usually the buyer is long gone by this time. Put yourself in their shoes....you put an offer on a house and you have to wait 2 months before you even get a response. When there is tons of inventory on the market, chances are youre not gonna wait around for one house so unless they absolutely love the place buyers usually walk

Okay so lets say everything goes through. The short sale is approved the buyer closes escrow and you finally get rid of the house....well its not over. THe bank can now tax you on their loss. So if you originally financed $500,000 and sold for $300,000, they will tax you on the $200,000 difference. You basically have to pay tax on this amount as if it was untaxed income earned by you during the year. You would receive a "1099" from the bank . The good news is that most decent CPA's know how to work around this, YOu would have to prove financial insolvency through your CPA which is anogther long story that I dont feel like writing about. Oh and yes your credit does get affected in a negative way. Although not as bad as a foreclosure, a short sale can damage your credit for a long time.

Bottom line is this....if you can pay the $20,000 difference and avoid a short sale, by all means DO IT!!!! Short Sales are a nightmare for everyone involved. Good agents dont want to deal with them because theyre a waste of time, buyers dont like them cause it takes forever and sellers have to jump through hoops and deal with the tax implications.

All this to realize that there its highly likely that 7 out of 10 short sales wont even go through.

Any other questions feel free to call me. I'm a Real Estate Broker in SF. 415-368-6008. Kevin
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 11, 2008
Hi! Congrats on having twins! In your family's case, this would not be a short sale, and if you are planning to buy a bigger home soon after, you would want to keep your credit intact. A short sale is when a homeowner owes more than their house is worth and a bank allows them to sell the house due to a financial hardship and forgive the rest of what they owe. So, no true "short sale" in your situation. Also, if you haven't done so, consult with a real estate company to get a free comparative market analysis (CMA) of your house to see what you may or may not owe on your condo if you sell it so you can better analyze your situation. You will owe the difference if there is one, and you can finance it if needed. The market is a little slower because of all the inventory and credit crunch going on, but if priced right, your condo will sell. You can start looking around for a place to see what the market is like, and there will be a ton of inventory when you are ready as well. Another option may be to rent out your condo? Anyhow, best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 9, 2008
A short sale is generally attempted when the owners find themselves unable to continue making the mortgage payments and the lender agrees to accept less than the amount of the mortgage if the property can be sold. This would not be a short sale if you and your wife are able to make the payments. It would not impact your credit. The lender would want to be satisfied so, if the home sells for less than the balance of the mortgage, you would bring money to closing. The loss, if there is one, would be a capital loss and your accountant can help you with figuring that deduction into next year's taxes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 6, 2008
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