Serving Northwest Florida's Beaches

What’s So Short About A Short Sale?

home for sale - short saleAs William Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  A common misconception about short sales is that once a bank is presented with a reasonable, fair market value offer for a distressed property, it will use common sense and accept the terms of the contract offer as soon as possible in order to get paid as soon as possible.  Certainly the lender would want to get paid on a non-performing loan as soon as possible, right?  Wrong.  In the short sale world, the lender sets the time table, the lender sets the rules, and the lender makes the ultimate decision.  Common sense is such a small factor in the lender’s timeline.  This is especially true with the larger banks.  All too often, clients come in to my office for a consultation after trying to take their loan through the modification process themselves or after trying to negotiate a short sale offer on their own.  One even told me he wanted to sue the bank because of the bank’s delay in the process.  It was his opinion that the bank should have taken his short sale offer months ago because it was more money than it would ever get at a foreclosure sale and the buyer was paying cash.  He submitted the offer with all of the accompanying documents and followed up with the 800 number to be certain everything was received by the bank.  The bank representative told him it would be 24-48 hours before all the documents were uploaded to their system then he would be contacted by a “negotiator” assigned to his file.  He figured the ball was in the bank’s court.  Unfortunately, he trusted the bank would be expedient in their efforts to call him back. In this scenario, the short sale process barely started by the time the buyer walked away.  I had to tell the client his efforts to sue the bank for its failure to follow up with him (in a process the lender is not even legally obligated to entertain) were futile.  Unless you have time to check in on a regular basis (read: almost every day by phone, email and fax if necessary) with the short sale lender you should not be negotiating your own short sale.  Call us at 850.622.0102 or contact us for help.

About Shannon

Shannon L. Widman is an attorney practicing in Walton County, Florida. Shannon’s practice focuses on real estate transactions, corporate transactions, and estate planning.

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