What is a Short Sale?

Sale of a Property, with Approval of Creditors, for Less Than What is Owed

A short sale is the sale of a property, with the authorization of the creditors, for less than what is owed on it. Short sales are done all the time. Whether it is the forgiveness of debt owed by a nation or an individual, it simply means that someone is willing to settle for less than what they originally anticipated. It's part of business. All lenders know that they will not win all the time. Risk and loss of capital is an anticipated cost in the lending industry. Changing economic conditions, conflicts, and Mother Nature are among some of the many causes of unforeseen situations that turn good lending contracts into bad. In the context of foreclosure on secured assets, a short sale occurs when debtors agree to settle their liens for a known amount of money as opposed to taking a chance at auction. Auction prices are often unpredictable and usually greatly discounted. Many lenders are willing to mitigate further risk of loss by making deals before auction. Bad debt is sold by lenders all the time. For instance, there is a huge market for unsecured credit card debt that is sold for pennies on the dollar to collection agencies. That's self-effectuated short sales. Lenders are more than happy to discuss resolution of aged debt. Their business is to lend capital, not dispose of foreclosed assets.

I discovered an excellent book called Create a Short Sale - In a Short Sale, a property is sold and the lenders get paid less than the full amount owed on the loans, i.e. the payment is "short". This is an important alternative to foreclosure because the sellers move with dignity with less damage to their credit, the buyers get a house in better condition, the neighborhood avoids a vacant, vandalized, foreclosed house and the bank makes on average 30% more money.


Bad feelings are often associated with respect to people making money over the misfortune of others. There are countless scams in the finance industry that prey on vulnerable people. These scammers rush in and get out quickly. They don't build long term viable businesses that are good for a community. Contrary to what many think, there does not have to be a big loser in order to make money in the foreclosure business. It is a matter of choice. A valuable service can be provided that benefits both the property owner and lenders. People with predator mentality do not last long in this business. Oscar's teaching is about being rewarded for helping others, not about taking advantage of people in distress.

Undoubtedly, the issues leading up to foreclosure are stressful and potentially volatile for all parties. Unforeseen underlying problems often exist. A professional in the foreclosure business mediates a settlement that all parties can move on. In a short sale, the lender has agreed to settle the matter without further claims, and the property owner clears their obligations without the lingering negative effects of a foreclosure and subsequent garnishment of additional monies that auction did not bring. The professional will be thanked by all of the parties involved. Most importantly, the professional will earn a good financial reward.


America is over-mortgaged and is willing to pay you for your help. That's right, thru short sales you can make decent income by helping others out of impending foreclosure and financial ruin. Foreclosure and bankruptcy destroy lives and put mortgage capital in jeopardy. Debt holders are often willing to mitigate risk by agreeing to substantial discounts if the right person can structure the right deal. YOU CAN BE THAT PERSON!

We know the techniques to securing pre-foreclosure real estate deals that create win-win situations for everyone. - It's amazing when you think about it, with some good old fashioned work and strategic knowledge of the pre-foreclosure process, you can make good money!

This is not another smoke and mirrors get-rich-quick scheme. It's an honest and forthright way to make money providing a valuable service. Whether you are a first time buyer, or investor, you can greatly increase your earning power and service-offering with this critical information on how the lending system REALLY works.

In the last several years, lenders aggressively competed by offering low rates and high debt-to-equity ratios. Not all loans were sound business decisions. They know it, and you know it. When property owners find themselves in financial trouble where they can no longer keep up with escalating payments, the lenders are often left with under-collateralized loans. Most lenders are not in the real estate business and need to find ways to convert property back to capital. The second, and third mortgage holders are at greater risk when a property goes into foreclosure. - they often get nothing after a property is sold on the auction block for less than market value at the discretion of the first mortgage holder.

We can show you how to recognize the right deals. You can help others while not inheriting their financial problems. You will be getting thank you letters from the property owners you help for saving them from financial ruin, while you make money.

A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on a loan secured by the property sold.  In such instances, the lender would have the right to approve or disapprove of a proposed sale. Extenuating circumstances influence whether or not banks will discount a loan balance. These circumstances are usually related to the current real estate market and the borrower's financial situation.

A short sale typically is executed to prevent a home foreclosure, but the decision to proceed with a short sale is predicated on the most economic way for the bank to recover the amount owed on the property. Often a bank will allow a short sale if they believe that it will result in a smaller financial loss than foreclosing as there are carrying costs that are associated with a foreclosure. A bank will typically determine the amount of equity (or lack of), by determining the probable selling price from a Broker Price Opinion BPO (also known as a Broker Opinion of Value (BOV)) or through a valuation of an appraisal. For the home owner, advantages include avoidance of a foreclosure on their credit history and partial control of the monetary deficiency. A short sale is typically faster and less expensive than a foreclosure. In short, a short sale is nothing more than negotiating with lien holders a payoff for less than what they are owed, or rather a sale of a debt, generally on a piece of real estate, short of the full debt amount. It does not extinguish the remaining balance unless settlement is clearly indicated on the acceptance of offer.

Short sales are common in standard business transactions in recognition that creditors are not doing debtors a favor but, rather, engaging in a business transaction when extending credit. When it makes no business sense or is economically not feasible to retain an asset, businesses default on their loans (called bonds). It is not uncommon for business bonds to trade on the after-market for a small fraction of their face value in realization of the likelihood of these future defaults.


Lenders have a department (typically called "loss mitigation") that processes potential short sale transactions. Today, lenders may accept short sale offers or requests for short sales even if a Notice of Default has not been issued or recorded with the locality where the property is located. Given the unprecedented and overwhelming number of losses that mortgage lenders have suffered from the 2009 foreclosure crisis, they are now more willing to accept short sales than ever before. This is great news for borrowers who are "under-water" or in other words those who owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth and are having trouble selling to avoid foreclosure because of this.

Lenders have a varying tolerance for short sales and mitigated losses. The majority of lenders have a pre-determined criteria for such transactions. Other distressed lenders may allow any reasonable offer subject to a loss mitigator's approval. Multiple levels of approvals and conditions are very common with short sales. Junior liens - such as second mortgages, HELOC lenders, and HOA (special assessment liens) - may need to approve the short sale. Frequent objectors to short sales include tax lien holders (income, estate or corporate franchise tax - as opposed to real property taxes, which have priority even when unrecorded) and mechanic's lien holders. It is possible for junior lien holders to prevent the short sale. If the lender required mortgage insurance on the loan, the insurer will likely also be party to negotiations as they may be asked to pay out a claim to offset the lender's loss in the short sale. The wide array of parties, parameters and processes involved in a short sale makes it a relatively complex and highly specialized type of real estate transaction which is why unfortunately short sale deals have a high failure rate and often do not close on time to save homeowners from foreclosure when they are not handled by a knowledgeable and experienced professional. The best sources of knowledge and expertise in short sales are short sale negotiators, loss mitigation specialists, and real estate lawyers who specialize in short sale.

One thing a buyer should know about a short sale is there is no necessary commitment by the bank to sell the house. When the bank completes a short sale they have to write off the difference between their loan amount and the lesser proceeds from the escrow, something they wish to avoid. You may go through all the paperwork to make an offer on the house, pay for inspections, and put down a deposit to start the sale process. After you have made your offer, the bank may try to convince the seller to refinance their loan and stay in the house, which avoids the bank having to take the write off. Any short sale contract includes a contingency where the bank must approve the sale. If the bank persuades the seller to refinance the house, the bank doesn't approve the short sale and the buyer gets their deposit back. In this situation the bank has tied up several months of the buyers time and now the buyer must start the buying process over again. So if you have a fixed time period to get in a specific city or neighborhood you may be better off with a foreclosure (the bank formally took possession of the property) or a situation where the seller has equity. So in a short sale situation look for clues like has the seller moved out (revealed they have no intention of staying in the property) and/or grill the selling Realtor about how much the selling bank has agreed to sell the house at (the price you want to offer).

Credit reporting

A short sale does adversely affect a person's credit report, though the negative impact is typically less than a foreclosure. Short sales are a type of settlement. Like all entries except for bankruptcy, short sales remain on a credit report for seven years. Depending upon other credit information it is typically possible to obtain another mortgage 1-3 years after a short sale.

While it is frequent if not common for a lender to forgive the balance of the loan in question, it is unlikely that a lien holder that is not a mortgagee will forgive any of their balance. Further, it is common for a lender to omit updating mortgage balances zero balance after a short sale. However, willfully misrepresenting information on a credit report can constitute libel in some jurisdictions, and lenders may be sued in civil court for engaging in this behavior.

See also

  • Mortgage Forgiveness
  • Debt Relief Act of 2007 - U. S. legislation affecting short sales of residential property.
  • Short Sale MLS Listings

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