3/18/2010

Short Sale Sellers and Sellers with 2nds, Take Heed

Some sellers of short sale properties could be feeling the impact well into the future. Some lenders have been selling unpaid second mortgages and home equity lines to collection agencies, to later go after the borrowers with repayment plans. Many of these are part of the "80/20" zero down loans, where the second was a huge chunk of the original equity, and now could very well be gone as a $500,000 house value has shrunk to $400,000. A seller should obtain a written release of full satisfaction when short pay approval has been granted, which a knowledgeable negotiator, whether it's your Realtor or another licensed individual, can obtain. California has certain protections already concerning purchase money mortgages, however, second liens may be a future problem.

But, even if you did sell short sale and obtained release and satisfaction, every seller of a short sale should now know that California has previously followed federal law concerning the Mortgage Debt Relief, but this year that relief is threatened due to certain unrelated provisions in a tax bill currently under consideration which Gov. Schwarzeneggar has said he will veto, thereby eliminating tax protections for those whose properties were "underwater" in a short sale. If this bill is not signed, short sale sellers will be on the hook for their California tax for a short sale come April 15th. This is the time to contact your California legislative representatives.

Yet another California Senate Bill 1178 (Corbin), if passed, would protect holders of second mortgages who refinance and stay in their homes, against future collections by banks which could be attempting to regain their lost funds. And, a new Obama Administration program which takes effect on April 5th also aims to protect owners with second mortgages by requiring lenders to send notice to short sale borrowers that partial sale proceeds were used in full satisfaction to pay off the second lien holders. This release, however, only applies to sales conducted under the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA, the program taking effect April 5th. It is complex and lengthy, demonstrated by the 43 pages in the link, and servicers participating can be found at this HAFA participant servicers link. A HAFA short sales fact sheet outlines the basics.

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