A short sale could ruin your credit rating. It might not happen right away, but sooner or later, unless the bank has specifically agreed not to report the shortage.
Benefits for Foreclosure
Although going through foreclosure is often painful and embarrassing for sellers, there are benefits:
No mortgage payments to make.
Foreclosure proceedings take months to conclude.
The home is still yours until the foreclosure is final.
No strangers are traipsing through your home.
Banks sometimes give cash for keys after the public sale.
Drawbacks to Foreclosure
Few people, apart from the sellers who choose to buy and bail, really want to experience a foreclosure. Memories are made in a home, and losing it can shatter future dreams. Here are other drawbacks to foreclosures:
The right of home ownership is striped away.
Homeowners return to the rental market as a renter.
The bank may post a Notice of Public Sale on your front door.
Your credit takes a nose dive, and a foreclosure will remain on your credit report for 10 years.
Under Fannie Mae guidelines, without extenuating circumstances, you will not be eligible to buy another home for 7 years.
Benefits for Short Sale:
Retain some dignity in knowing that you sold your home.
You won't suffer the social stigma of the "F" word: foreclosure.
No mortgage payments to make, unless you choose to make them.
You can meet the new owners.
You will be eligible, under Fannie Mae guidelines, to buy another home in 2 years instead of 5 to 7 years.
If your credit report does not reflect a 60-day+ late pay, under Fannie Mae guidelines, you will be eligible to buy another home immediately.
Drawbacks to a Short Sale
You may experience some of the same drawbacks as a foreclosure, but they might seem less intense.
Waiting for the bank to respond to an offer is frustrating.
The bank will want to examine personal records such as tax returns, bank accounts, assets and liabilities, in addition to asking for a hardship letter from you.
Accommodating buyers will mean keeping your home in spotless condition for weeks or months until an offer is received and putting up with traffic through your home.
There is no assurance the bank will accept a short sale offer.
The derogatory credit will remain on your credit report for 7 years.
For many sellers, though, the chance to buy another home in two years is the real motivation to do a short sale. Some sellers qualify immediately to buy again under certain terms. Good credit behavior can supplant bad credit after two years, even though the derogatory will remain.