I may take a lot of heat from other agents for what I'm about to recommend to you as a viable option.
First, executing a short sale requires more time, skill and experience in both the marketing/pricing strategy side and the "dealing with the lender" side than most people think. So if you choose to work with an agent, make sure you find one with experience! Find out how many they've done in the past two years and ask for referrals.
BUT, if there is not a sufficient amount of profit potential in the sale of the house to cover the Agent's fee, then you are not going to be able to use an agent (unless the broker decides to do it pro bono - not likely).
So now what?
This is an option that must be considered. Collect and call five (5) different phone numbers off of those "We Buy Houses" signs you may have seen plastered all over neighborhoods and cars. They will ask you some information and tell you how they can help you. These people are investors, or associated with investors, who buy houses that are distressed or facing foreclosure. They typically will use a short sale process but they, as the buyer, will deal directly with your lending institution.
In this scenario, your house will NOT go on the market. You will NOT get full market value for your home. You might NOT realize any profit from the sale, BUT...you will NOT have to face the devestating effects of foreclosure. These are investors who want to make a profit, so they will buy it directly from your bank and either resell it, rent it out or lease-to-own it back to you or someone else.
So, Edward, to be perfectly honest, if you want to be able to buy again in the near future, you must weigh this option along side the use of an agent. There really is no "Cinderella" scenario in breaking free of a pending foreclosure. Any way you go, it's tough...but any scenario is better than foreclosure and/or bankruptcy.
If you would like me to find an agent experienced in short sales, I'd be glad to send you a referral for one of the top short sale agents in the Sacramento area. Just email me at JustinYoung@kw.com.
All the best!