Thursday, August 4, 2011

Underwater in Scottsdale. Do you need a lawyer for a short sale?

For a number of years, many homeowners in tony Scottsdale thought they would be insulated from the real estate crisis. For years, they were right. Not any longer. In general, Scottsdale median home prices are down about 43% from their peak in late 2006. Many Scottsdale homeowners are "underwater", owing more on their home than it's currently worth.


Are you underwater on your home? If you plan to stay in your home for another decade or so, and you can still afford the fixed-rate mortgage payment, this might be no big deal. It depends on your financial situation. You might be able to ignore the dismal media headlines, love your house, raise your family, pay your mortgage and live your life.


But if you have other financial issues compounding your housing value issue, you might need to think about your options. We here at The Phoenix Agents strongly recommend you retain an attorney. As Kevin Hardin of  Thomson Conant law firm says, "you don't have a real estate problem, you have a debt problem."


Your mortgage is a contract and if you're thinking about walking away or trying a short sale, you're actually contemplating breaching a legal contract. You're going to want a lawyer to help you do that.


Don't be fooled by people who casually toss around the phrase, "Arizona is a non-recourse state."  What they mean is that in general, a mortgage lender can't sue a homeowner after a foreclosure. But there are serious loopholes in that law, and the biggest loophole applies to short sales. Arizona's law covers foreclosures, not short sales. There's also a giant loophole on the topic of second mortgages and equity lines/loans.


If you short sale your home without getting precise language in the Short Sale Agreement from your lender, you might be leaving yourself wide open to a gigantic lawsuit for many years to come.


We happen to know several great short sale and foreclosure attorneys and accountants. Give me a call and I'll give you their names and numbers. Once you've spoken to an attorney, if you're ready to try a short sale, we'll help. Our broker has several agents on staff who focus on short sales and have remarkable track records of success.


Heather Barr, Realtor
The Phoenix Agents at Thompson's Realty
602-999-8831   or Heather@ThePhoenixAgents.com