What is a Short Sale?

  • July 10th 2023

by UrbanTurf Staff

✉️ Want to forward this article? Click here.

In the world of real estate, buyers and sellers navigate a variety of transaction types, each with its own unique intricacies. One such transaction is a short sale. A short sale occurs when a homeowner sells their property for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. This article aims to provide an overview of short sales, exploring the reasons behind them, the process involved, and the implications for both homeowners and investors.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the outstanding mortgage balance on the property. In simpler terms, the seller owes more on their mortgage than what the property is currently worth. Instead of facing foreclosure, the homeowner and the lender agree to sell the property at a price lower than the mortgage balance to avoid a potentially lengthy and costly foreclosure process.

The Short Sale Process

To initiate the short sale process, a homeowner contacts their lender or mortgage servicer to express their desire to pursue a short sale. The lender will then provide instructions, requirements, and necessary documentation to begin that process. 

Once that step is complete, the owner lists the property for sale, usually at a price lower than the outstanding mortgage balance. If an offer is received, the seller submits it to the lender for approval. The lender then assesses the offer, considering factors such as market value, the homeowner's financial situation, and potential losses. This process for the lender to decide whether to accept, reject or counter the offer can be time-consuming, as it involves negotiation between the lender, homeowner, and potential buyer. If the lender approves the offer, the short sale transaction proceeds to closing. The property is sold, and the lender agrees to release the lien, forgiving the remaining mortgage debt.

Implications of a Short Sale For Owners

Homeowners contemplating a short sale should be aware of a couple implications.

  • Credit score impact: A short sale will typically have a negative impact on the homeowner's credit score, although generally less severe than a foreclosure. The impact can vary depending on individual circumstances.
  • Deficiency judgment: In some cases, the lender may reserve the right to pursue a deficiency judgment, which allows them to seek repayment of the remaining debt after the short sale. However, homeowners can negotiate with the lender to waive or limit this judgment.

A short sale can provide relief for financially distressed homeowners while helping lenders avoid the foreclosure process. It is important to consult with real estate professionals who specialize in short sales to navigate the complexities and maximize the chances of a successful transaction.

See other articles related to: short sale

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/what_is_a_short_sale/21223.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Start browsing below!