Home Selling in Los Angeles>Question Details

George Macgr…, Home Seller in Los Angeles, CA

I am thinking about doing a short sale because i got laid off a few month ago

Asked by George Macgrae, Los Angeles, CA Mon Feb 8, 2010

and now i am totally behind with the mortgage and HOA payments and other things.
I have an 8 year old car that i paid off and it's mine. Can the mortgage company take
that car? It's worth a few thousand dollars and i am about 8000 behind in mortgage.
I don't have any credit cards anymore. The only thing i own is that car.

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Jennifer Ricco’s answer
Home Seller,
Right now educating yourself is very critical. There is SO much MISinformation out there when it comes to pre foreclosures. For anyone trying to completely understand your situation with very minimal information is doing you a complete disservice! Each homewoners situation is like a fingerprint they are unique and no two are the same. My husband and I are Pre Foreclosure Specialists in the Greater Los Angeles Area we would like the opportuntiy to sit down and show you your options in a confidential free consultation. On our website we have a page that explains short sales facts and questions go to:


I also have a blog here in Trulia about understanding your pre foreclosure options go to:


My husband and I are Pre Foreclosure Specialists Certified, PSC with a Certified Distressed Property Experts designation, CDPE. By dealing with a Realtor who has earned the PSC and CDPE designations, seller's ensure that they are working with an experienced Short Sales Expert that is equipped to handle their specific needs. We want to be the number one real estate agent you call when looking to buy or sell in today's market.

This real estate market has caused unbearable stress and heartache. As a Pre Foreclosure Specialist with a Certified Distressed Property Expert designation we have the training and expertise necessary to minimize our clients financial loss and limit the damage to their credit. We feel that education is key in this market with so much misinformation and foreclosure scams out there, we sought out this education to ensure we could properly help families get on the path to recovery.

It is critical for Realtors to have a working knowledge of Ca Anti Deficiency Laws. Realtors must be able to advise their clients appropriately and ensure their clients seek legal advice because in some cases it is better to go through a foreclosure to get the protection of the Ca Anti Deficiency Laws. It is up to the homeowner to decide whether they will accept their lenders right to pursue deficiency language commonly seen in short sale approval letters.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 12, 2010
Dear George,
Im sorry to her that you are in this situation. Short sale is an option that most banks will consider if you are not able to make your mortgage payments. Some banks are easier to work with then others. I do recommend you consult with a local agent regarding your situation
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 11, 2010
No, CA does not prohibit deficiency judgments after a short sale. Anti deficiency laws apply to foreclosures only!!! Short sellers do not enjoy the same protection as people who lose their home to foreclosure by trustee sale. I wish people would stop talking about anti deficiency laws and/or purchase money loans in the context of short sales.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
George Macgrae,

No one can guarantee you that the mortgage company won't go after your car. Do you really think with millions and millions of foreclosures they are going to spend the money , time effert and use one of their attorneys to go after your car?

Check out this page on my website and call me if you need any advice on handling your distressed property situation: http://www.tonylewis.com/professional21.shtml

Your Friend & Realtor,

Tony Lewis
RE/MAX of Valencia
Valencia, Santa Clarita, California
Web Reference: http://www.TonyLewis.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
Yes, it's possible that they could go after your car (and other stuff) if they were to obtain a judgment. Although many judgments aren't recovered, realize that an entity (person or company) has up to 10 years (which is also renewable) to recover that amount.

However, I believe CA is one of the few states that prohibit lenders from obtaining deficiency judgments for short sales. You'll want to verify this with a real-estate attorney who practices in CA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
One more thing. Here are two links to info regarding exemptions in the context of enforcement of judgments in CA. That's only in the worst case scenario if they should try to come after you after the short sale. As you can see, right now the exemption for a car is $2,300. http://www.legaltips.org/california/california_code_of_civil…

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
The answer is really that they don't want your car and even if they wanted it, they'd not be able to get it even with a deficiency judgment. Just because someone has a judgment does not mean that they'll be able to collect on it. If you had a Lamborghini, they might want to go after your car. They might also want to garnish your wages once you become employed again, but they know that you won't be able to go to work and make money without a car.

Anyway, take a deep breath and don't worry about losing your car. If you do decide to go through with the short sale, I would recommend that you have the short sale approval letter reviewed by an attorney to make sure you know what you are signing. If they forgive the remainder of the loan, you'll have to consider potential tax consequences, but if you really own nothing else than your car (e.g., no large 401k or other retirement accounts), you might qualify as insolvent and not have to claim the forgiven debt as income. Talk to a CPA about the consequences of a short sale and/or foreclosure.

Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE

First, seek a consultation with a Real Estate Attorney. Many will give you at least a "free" consultation either in person or by phone.

Second, discuss your plans with a CPA. Not just a tax filer, but a "tax advisor". They will be the best to explain possible tax ramifications.

If their advice agrees, pursue a consultation with a Realtor. They will be able to guide you through the process and begin your Short Sale package.

It will get better!
Web Reference: http://www.weberhomes.info
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
Hi George:

It is possible that you could lose anything of value after a short sale or foreclosure if the mortgage company asks the court for a "deficiency judgment." However, in your circumstances, I would think this is unlikely. If you decide to try for a short sale, the lender will probably be more than happy to get the bulk of its money back.

And you are not powerless in this situation. You do have some negotiating leverage with the mortgage company since it probably will get more money from a short sale than from a foreclosure. In your situation, I would find a good real estate agent who can negotiate with the mortgage company, then you should carefully read everything from the lender to make sure there are no lose ends for you.

You also should talk to a local organization that provides counselling and other support to people in your situation. I always suggest that people check with local city and county governments to find out who provides these services locally. You also can check with the department of Housing and Urban Development for information about foreclosure services. (The web page below may help.) However, do not let anyone talk you into participating in a program you must pay for unless you check the service out very carefully. There are a lot of foreclosure predators out there. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Additionally, you should talk to a lawyer who can help you with real estate issues and, perhaps bankruptcy. It sounds like you are a good candidate for bankruptcy and filing for court protection might help your put your mind at ease as you figure out a good solutions to all your financial problems. I know you probably cannot afford to pay an attorney, but a foreclosure counselling organization may have a list of lawyers who will help you without payment. The local bar association may also be a source of help.

At any rate, good luck. You will get through this bad time in your life.

Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
Boulder CO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
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