You can fight foreclosure. There are alternative options that you can consider rather than selling to the bank. We understand how complex and uncertain the foreclosure process can be, which is why we’ve created a post that explains the legal and financial implications of selling your home to avoid foreclosure.
Understanding your rights in the short sale process
When fighting foreclosure, you do have other options rather than selling to the bank. You can ask your loan officer or lender if they would be willing to do a “short sale.” The short sale process allows you to sell your home to a buyer for less than what you owe on your mortgage. You are expected to pay toward the remaining balance, but once the house is sold, the bank relieves you of responsibility for the mortgage.
Regulations surrounding the short sale of your home
Federal law states that you must be over 120 days past due before a loan servicer can initiate foreclosure. Once the foreclosure process starts, the amount of time you must sell before it is auctioned will vary from state to state. Your loan service is required to contact you no later than 36 days after your first missed payment, as well as after subsequent missed payments. After 45 days of missed payment status, your servicer must contact you in writing about loss mitigation options in order to help you avoid foreclosure. If you or your loan servicer decides that your best or only option is to sell your home, there are additional factors to consider whether you will be able to avoid foreclosure.
Selling your home quickly is the key to paying what you owe and being relieved of your mortgage debt. Foreclosure negatively impacts your credit for years, making it difficult to buy or rent a home after the sale. Ensuring that your home is in the best condition to sell quickly is advantageous to you if you are considering using the short sale process to avoid foreclosure. There are three considerations to account for when determining the selling potential of your home: pricing, marketing, and condition.
In order to sell your home quickly, it is important to remain as competitive as possible in your home’s pricing. Try not to recoup the full cost in your pricing structure. You will want to price your home in a way that is attractive to the current market, and that will get you as much as possible to pay off your mortgage and avoid foreclosure. As you work through the pricing process, you may consider asking your lender to extend the terms of your foreclosure to have more time available for the selling process. You can then work with a realtor to determine what is appropriate in your specific situation, and discuss strategies to get as much back as you originally paid for as possible. It is important to note that you may not recuperate the entire cost back, and that should not be the goal of your price point for your short sale. You should focus only on competitive pricing for a quick sale process.
Although your realtor is responsible for marketing your home, be sure to conduct self-checks as well. Make a few strategic and simple steps with your real estate team to ensure that your home is advertised on top real estate sites for maximum traction. Getting high-quality photos of your home plays a massive part in the ability to sell your home quickly, and can help potential buyers feel as if they are in the home themselves. You may choose to invest in a real estate photographer, or ask your realtor for recommendations or low-cost strategies to accomplish this. You can also maintain the upkeep and appearance of your home to boost its appeal to buyers instantly which could make the difference between a sale and a non-sale. The critical consideration in this phase is to be your own advocate and fight for your home’s sale wherever possible, which may mean small investments and upgrades to make it market-ready.
When facing foreclosure, it’s likely that you will not have the funds necessary to make major improvements to your home. Instead, focus on what you can do with a limited budget that works for your situation. Some examples of simple but appealing fixes include:
- Regrouting floors and seals
- Investing in a thorough home cleaning
- Applying new coats of paint
- De-odorizing and decluttering your home
- Conducting basic fixes (such as repair of leaky faucets or squeaky doors)
Overall, get creative through the process and prioritize your fixes to be the most impactful to your next resident’s quality of life. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you know where you should prioritize your time next.
If short sales don’t apply to your situation, don’t be alarmed. There are other options for you to consider, such as loan forbearance, reinstatement, refinancing, or more. Short sales are ideal for emergency situations to avoid foreclosure and protect your credit — they should never be the first consideration when facing difficulty in paying your mortgage. For more information about how you can protect your rights throughout the short sale process and avoid foreclosure, contact the experts at Ascent Law today. We have decades of experience. Contact the office today and book your free intro call by dialing (801) 432-8682.