#1): Analyze leasing the home as an alternative. Lease rates are rising and this can be a great way to wait for the market to improve or until the homeowner’s financial situation improves, and cover costs in the meantime.
#2): Have the homeowner talk in great detail with their lender prior to choosing the short sale route. (Or give the Realtor authority to talk to their lender) While short sales are usually a great option, they should ask the tough questions in advance to assure they understand the process. Get these answers in writing: Will I receive a 1099 for the difference between the sales price and the amount owed on the loan? Will there be a judgement placed against other assets for the difference between the sales price and the amount owed?
#3): The homeowner should consider all options. Can they rent the home a few weeks a year during a convention or festival that comes to town? Can they rent a bedroom and bath to a student? Will that extra money get them by?
#4): If foreclosure appears inevitable, the homeowner should ask for a copy of their actual note, and they should ask in writing. The lender should be able to provide the documents and the homeowner should review exactly what it includes. While this may just be a stall tactic, it is a legitimate one.
#5): The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the cost is 30% higher for a foreclosure than a short sale. Make sure the lender knows what the realistic sales price of the home will be, and that a short sale is possible.
#6): The homeowner should visit www.hopenow.com. This website has great tools for considering all options and includes information on the federal Making Homes Affordable (HAFA) program, state programs and lender programs. It is relevant 3rd party information that could help.
#7) Price the home to sell quickly. This is a stressful and emotional time for homeowners. Wishing won’t change anything, but selling the home quickly and efficiently will.