Most of all you have to wait...when trying to buy a short sale from the bank.
Most real estate agents have never even seen a down cycle and picking a good one will give you a big advantage. If your not behind in your payments and still want out I would suggest having someone assume the mortgage. Maybe you will have to kick in a little money to have them assume...but your credit will be protected. If more than a few months behind in payments or the home value has more than 20% negative equity then just turn in the keys and walk away before it gets worse.
From what I've been told... Call the bank everyday and bug them...keep reminding them the prices are now going down and the interest rates are going up...a double barrel for the seller. A lot of the ease will be determined with which bank holds the mortgage. All banks have different policies as to their guidelines for conducting a Short Sale.
I don't think your in that bad of shape as you paid $255k and it is $249 right now as of May 08. But let's take Dec 08 where most predict your condo will be in the 200K range. Let's pretend you bought at the peak and bought it at 255K with a 40K down payment. You owe about 200-215K depending on how many payments you have made. Selling the place for 210K and paying 6% nets you about 197K. This leave you with about 60K in the hole and can be applied to a new loan on a cheaper home say 160K + 60K second gives you a loans of about 220K. Somewhere in the $1000-1200 a month range...and if you can't manage that then I would take bankruptcy and just let the bank go through with the foreclosure.
If you are not in hardship but don't have cash assets, a bank might allow you to transfer the unpaid portion to a personal loan, or a loan secured by other assets.
An investor or homeowner who made an unlucky investment, can't expect relief from a short sale
The article linked below tells you a little about the patience and risk tolerance required from a buyer and a seller in a short sale situation. My opinion of short sales for buyers? High Risk, Low Reward.
To sum up the article. 1. Buyer waits a long time for the bank to anything. 2. Buyer has to sign banks counteroffer that is full of anti-consumer clauses. 3. Buyer has to pay nearly full market value. (discount, if any is much tinier than you think it will be) 4. Bank can cancel the sale at any time up until close of escrow, with no consequence to the bank and no compensation to the buyer
In my not so humble opinion The reasons why the failure is above 80% are:
1. Many sellers don't qualify, they think that being upside down and hating it is enough.
You must also be undergoing hardship not of your own making. such as illness, unemployment or natural disaster. Stovall gives a few other reasons.
2. Prospective buyers think that these are bargains, so very few buyers offer close to full market value. The banks will not approve sales at huge discounts, tiny discounts: yes.
3. The wait, 4. the paperwork, the wait 5. the anti-buyer addenda, the long wait 6. the uncertainty of the sale, still waiting 7. the perception, if not a reality, of bad faith dealing by the bank loss mitigation managers.
.I linked below to an article in Broker Agent News by Steve Stovall. He gives a pretty good description of the short sale process, seller, property, paperwork, and buyer requirements
Please read my blog on shorts sales and foreclosures
Yes, you need to prove financial hardship.
Post or email if you have questions.
Time is of the essence.
I have been conducting Short Sales for almost my entire 10 year career in real estate and would be happy to assist you. Feel free to give me a call at (702) 460-3782 and we will see what we can do for you.
As far as having to be in a "financial hardship situation" this will depend on which bank your mortgage is with. All banks have different policies as to their guidelines for conducting a Short Sale. Give me a call anytime and I will be happy to go over your options with you.
John Goad, Jr.
of The Goad Team
Century 21 Infinity