The first step for a new home buyer is to find out what you can afford to pay for a home or condo. This will depend on the amount of your assets (cash, income and credit).
Find out from your lender what kind of letter they can provide you with and what you have to do to get a preapproval letter. Presently in the financing of a new home it is not as easy to get a preapproval letter from your mortgage broker. In January of 2010 HUD began requiring lenders and mortgage brokers to issue a binding Good Faith Estimate within 3 days of receiving a loan application. Without a formal loan application many lenders today will issue only a prequalification letter, which does not carry the same weight as a preapproval letter. A preapproval letter gives added weight to your offer in case there are multiple offers.
Search for a good Real Estate Agent to represent you. Ask friends and family for recommendations and then interview several agents. A Real Estate Agent can provide you with good information on neighborhoods and where you can afford to buy and help with contract negotiations.
Buy in the best neighborhood you can afford without financially overextending yourself. Don’t buy a home that you will outgrow in a year or two. You don’t want to have to sell when prices are declining.
Buy a home with good resale potential. Try to find a home that has a broad appeal in a sellable neighborhood and that way no matter the market, it will improve your chance for a good resale.
Short Sale: The Basics
A short sale is when a home is sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage for the home. This occurs when the bank agrees to take less than the full amount due on the mortgage.
A seller does not have to be behind on a home loan to seek a short sale. If sellers wish to pursue a short sale, they must owe more than what the home is worth, demonstrate the house cannot be sold for the amount owed, and suffer from a legitimate financial hardship that makes the mortgage unaffordable.
The next step in the short sale process is to assemble a short sale package. This package will include such things as a financial statement showing monthly expenses, income documentation, bank statements, tax returns, a listing agreement, purchase agreement, an estimated HUD statement and a financial hardship letter.
If the home is sold as part of a short sale, there will be a difference between the amount owed and what the bank collects. This is called the shortage or the deficiency. Sometimes this deficiency may be negotiable. Some banks will seek a promissory note for the deficiency, meaning that the seller may be responsible to pay the difference between what the home sold for and what is owed to the lender. Some lenders might choose to file a collection or a judgment for the amount owed. The seller should be certain that any amount of debt, or release from debt, is received in writing. If the deficiency is forgiven, the lender can write off the shortage with the IRS, which means the seller may be responsible for paying taxes on the amount of the deficiency. However, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers the potential for relief from tax on mortgage debt forgiveness.
A short sale will affect the seller’s credit score. To minimize the effect on a credit score, sellers should avoid making late payments on their mortgage and work with the bank to report the sale in the best possible manner.
We are not a law firm, nor an accounting firm, nor a credit repair organization. For advice regarding potential tax liability or credit scores, please consult a tax attorney or an accountant.
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