Realtors® Help Buyers, Sellers Navigate Short Sale Transactions

A short sale can be a good alternative for homeowners who can no longer make their mortgage payments and hope to avoid foreclosure; however, navigating these long and often confusing transactions can be challenging for even the seasoned real estate professional.

A short sale is a transaction in which the homeowner’s mortgage lender agrees to let the owner sell the house for less than is owed, and the bank forgives the borrower of the difference. The benefit of a short sale is that the lender often receives a higher amount of the remaining loan balance than if the home went into foreclosure; short sales also help homeowners reduce the damage to their credit. Foreclosures are much more expensive for lenders than short sales, and Realtors® are critical to the success of those transactions.

“Homeowners need Realtors®,” said Bryar, vice president and deputy general counsel, Fannie Mae. “They need you to be honest with them, to provide them with a fair assessment of value, and to partner with them and champion them through the short sale process as their trusted adviser.”

One common short sale challenge is obtaining the accurate value assessment of short sale properties. Bryar said Fannie Mae has forged partnerships with local Realtor® associations and multiple listing services across the country to access the most current home price data and improve home value assessments. In addition, streamlining the short sale process will help increase the speed and success of short sale transactions, as would a greater effort to bring investors and processors to the table, he said.

Realtors® can help their clients take advantage of a variety of government programs designed to help keep homeowners in their homes, according to Rod Luckhart, national vice president of government and industry relations for Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance Group. Available programs include Hope for Homeowners, Hope Now, Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, and the Make Home Affordable Program.

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