Short Sale Considerations

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If you are contemplating a short sale, there are some things that you should consider. The short sale will appear on your credit report for the next 7-10 years.

This can hamper your ability to obtain credit in the future. It is also important to know if the lender is 'waiving the deficiency' or not. Waiving the deficiency, means whether the lender is agreeing to write off any remaining balance or will they try and collect it from you in the future.

If the lender does agree to waive the deficiency, they will report this amount on a 1099-C, cancellation of debt. There are a few exemptions that can keep you from paying tax on this amount, but you should discuss these with your tax adviser.  

You should also make sure that you have somewhere to move to once the short sale is improved. A short sale can take from 2 to 6 months to be approved by your lender, but once it also the closing will generally be held in the following 4-6 weeks, or sooner if your buyer is paying cash. Make sure you have a plan on where you and your family are moving once the sale is closed.

If the lender does not waive the deficiency, then you need to be aware of the concept of 'Setoff'. Normally if you still owe the bank money after the closing they would have to go through a court process to get a judgment against you if they want to go after any of your other assets. However, if you have funds in a bank account with the same bank, the bank can take these funds directly from your account, in a process known as a setoff. While there are some exemptions that you can get the money back under, the banks tend to take first and ask questions later.

A short sale can be a good way to get a fresh start, but these are some of the issues you may wish to consider first.

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