Heather, feel free to send me any short sale on the west coast.
I know the lenders are nationwide, but the people handling Florida are really overwhelmed and there is high turnover. On one property, we had a different loss mitigation specialist every time we called. They had either left the company or transferred to another department.
We've also had cases where the lender knew we had the listing and were aggressively trying to sell and they didn't even start the formal foreclosure process because they realized they were going to take a loss and didn't want to incur the additional expenses.
The key is to have a Realtor that knows and understands the process and how to get through to the decision makers. You'd be surprised at how many don't have a clue! (We tried to send dozens of referrals to agents on the West Coast of Florida that were short sale candidates and couldn't get one taker!). They're definitely not preferred, but they're a necessary skill in today's market. If you're working with an agent, I would ask how many short sales they have/have closed and what experiences they've had with particular lenders.
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Note that a short sale is usually not going to be considered until you are at least one month late.
Talk with your lender and a Realtor. Average length of foredosure process is 6 -9 months in most situations..
You can begin the process with the bank before you are late with your first payment. When payments are continuing and a short sale IS being pursued, I've been able to bypass the lender's collection department and get into the Loss Mitigation Department faster. Once the process begins with the loss mitigation department, I am seeing it take up to 90 days to schedule the BPO with certain lenders.
After the BPO gets to the lender, the process can take anywhere from 1 week to 30 days to get averbal approval. Foreclosure can take anywhere from 4 to 10 months (depending on your location and lender...)
Be careful though if preserving credit is your concern...people get approached to do a short sale as a way to mitigate the damage to their credit by avoiding foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc. If you don't make payments during the short sale process, your credit will likely have enough late or non payments that will drop your score significantly - thus impacting your ability to qualify for leasing a vehicle, getting a mortgage, or renting.
The particular steps you should take will depend a lot on who your lender is, whether your house has been listed, your objectives and plans depending on the worst case scenario of the short sale taking too long, or not getting approved, and your particular hardship. Depending on your hardship, you may qualify for other options with the lender that have an advantage over a short sale.
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