I feel your pain! This is a very complex situation and you need to find someone licensed in your state. Your profile says Michigan but you are asking this question in the section for Plymouth Minnesota. So that needs to be cleared up before you can really go any further. Where is your property located?
Also, which "straight facts" are you looking for? What exactly do you want to know:
* What this will do to your credit rating?
* How long will it take?
* How long will it be before I can purchase another home?
* What is the process like?
* How long can I stay in my home?
* Am I going to be able to make anything off of the sale?
* All of the above!
I have information on my website that is specific to Minnesota. If you property is in Plymouth Minnesota, check out these links to get started:
A big part of the problem is that every bank and lender is completely different. They all have different procedures and will impact your credit rating differently. Some have committees that make decisions and others assign a loss mitigator. Some have to run everything past their group of investors and others don't.
On top of that, the laws are different in every state. Some states are very consumer friendly (like Minnesota) and others are not. Some states are "foreclosure by advertisement" states, others are "judicial foreclosure" states, and some states like Minnesota, allow both.
The following facts make it very difficult for everyone involved.
* Lenders will not consider a short sale until you are deliquent.
* Most lenders will not even speak to your real estate agent until they have a purchase agreement from a buyer.
* Some lenders need to get approval from their investors before they can approve a short sale.
* Many lenders take up to 2 months to assign a loss mitigator to your file.
* Most loss mitigators are overwhelmed with the sheer number of files they have to process.
* Some loss mitigators are young and lack expedrience - some have never owned a home of their own.
Here are some GENERAL answers based on my experience as a REALTOR in Minnesota doing short sales:
What this will do to your credit rating? This is really impossible to say because so many things go into the calculation of your credit rating. In general, it is going to hurt less to do a short sale than a full foreclosure, but beyond that, no one can say how many points your credit score will drop. On top of that, different lenders will place different notes on your credit report. When I do a short sale, I ask the lender to place a specific note on the credit report (one that is in YOUR best interest) but they will not use wording that makes it look like you paid the home off in full. They have the right to put whatever notes they see fit on your report. If someone claims they can tell you EXACTLY how many points you will lose, I would be suspicious. And if they ask for money up front, contact the Minnesota Attorney General and ask them to check on that company or person. Chances are they are running some kind of scam.
How long will it take? This varies from lender to lender. Most of the short sales I have worked on take 3-5 months from the time a purchase agreement (from a buyer) is submitted to the lender. It can take 2 months just to get the file assigned to a loss mitigator. Then a month or two for the loss mitigator to get investor approval and do the appraisals they need. Then it can take up to a month to clear the title and negotiate the price (the lender might counter-offer). If a 2nd mortgage is involved that can add to this timeframe. If mechanics leans, unpaid water bills, unpaid taxes, deliquent library fines (yes, I said library fines), or any other liens against the property are involved this can add to the amount of time it takes from beginning to closing. This doesn't even include the time it can take to attract a buyer or find another buyer if the first one decides it is taking too long and cancels their offer.
How long will it be before I can purchase another home? Again, its impossible to say because its based, at least in part, on credit scores. A general rule of thumb for most people who actively try to recover their score after the short sale and make all of their other payments on time is said to be 3 to 5 years. But no one can say for sure, it can be up to 10 years. The FHA guidelines have recently changed, but the "unknown factor" is still going to be your credit score and future payment history.
I am running out of room here... But I hope that helps!