A short sale occurs when a property is sold at a price lower than the amount the homeowner owes on the mortgage, and the homeowner's mortgage lender(s) agrees to the "short" payoff. A lender might accept a short sale with the property worth less than the balance of the mortgage, if the borrower cannot continue to make the monthly loan payment, does not have enough money to pay back the full balance of loan and needs to move out of the property.
Yes, because in a short sale, the mortgage lender will be receiving less than amount the borrower owes on the mortgage. The lender needs to verify that the homeowner cannot continue to pay the mortgage and determine if a short sale is better than foreclosing on the property.
Homeowners pursue a short sale when they can no longer pay the mortgage, need to move from the property and want to avoid a foreclosure. With a short sale, the impact on the homeowner's credit record might not be as bad as a foreclosure in some circumstances.
Not necessarily. The seller could have bought the home at a time when property values were high, possibly in a booming market. Today, the housing market is down and the value of many properties has declined. If a buyer purchases a short sale property at a price that is lower than what the property is appraised for in today’s market, then the buyer enjoys a discount and picks up some equity. However, in today’s market most short sale prices are close to comparable retail sales.
The seller's mortgage lender needs to thoroughly review a seller's short sale request. Gathering the required documentation and doing bottom-line reviews can take significant time to complete before a short sale is approved. Also difficult negotiations that take place between the parties involved, such as junior-lien holders and the seller, may delay the process.
Because of the complex nature of a short sale transaction, it is strongly recommended that buyers work with a real estate professional who has a track record in successful short sales. With the experience and connections, such an agent should be able to identify and help resolve possible hurdles, help put together a viable offer, protect the buyer’s interests, and negotiate the best deal.