If you're underwater, you're in a very crowded, very unhappy club. Possibly tens of thousands of Phoenix homeowners are underwater. Whether you bought too much house, or carefully avoided over-extending yourself; whether you borrowed equity for vacations or for home improvements... sometimes through no fault of your own, you're underwater on your home mortgage.
If you're thinking about walking away, or about trying a short sale, you almost certainly need a lawyer's help through the process. You're going to need a Realtor too, because you're in a double whammy situation:
- You have a real estate problem AND
- You have a legal problem
The real estate problem is obvious: you need to pay somebody something in order to get your home listed in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) so buyers can find it online. Moreover, the paperwork involved in a short sale is so bloody complex you're going to want to tear your hair out before it's all over. Hire a professional Realtor who handles short sales regularly, and let them do some of the hair pulling. The Realtor's fees are going to come out of the proceeds of the sale anyway, so it'll end up costing you nothing (or next to nothing, depending on your situation) to have an experienced professional Realtor handling your listing, marketing and sale. Lucky you! We're Realtors and we have people at our brokerage who do nothing but short sale listings and closings. Contact us for more information.
The legal problem is a little harder to grasp. Think of it this way; your mortgage is a contract. When you walk away or attempt a short sale, you're breaching a contract. And your mortgage was probably the single most valuable contract you'll ever sign in your entire life. Breaching that contract shouldn't be undertaken without professional advice.
You know that the banks have scores of lawyers on staff, protecting them when their mortgage contract is breached. You should have at least 1 attorney in your corner. Best of all, the attorney's fees are generally going to be paid for out of the proceeds of the sale of the house, not out of your pocket.
So, to boil it all down: you can hire 2 professionals - a Realtor and an attorney - to guide you through the short sale process, and in almost every case, it won't cost you a dime out of your pocket. It's a win-win.
Contact us for advice about listing, marketing and selling your home. We'll also hook you up with 1 or 2 of our trusted, tested local attorneys who specializes in short sales.
Disclaimer: this article was written about metro Phoenix, Arizona homes sales in the Summer of 2011. If you're reading this article from far away, or long after the fact, consult a professional in your area!