Staying in your home during a short sale

August 21, 2010

Staying in your home during a short sale?

I meet a lot of sellers that are in need of my help with a short sale on their home and one of the most common questions I get is whether or not they should stay in the home during the short sale process. Often these sellers cannot afford the mortgage any longer but are able to afford a rental and are considering renting during the short sale term. In realty there really is no reason to leave the house unless the house is in such bad shape that it is not livable.

If you are able to stay in your home during the short sale process then you should. Most sellers during the short sale process who are not able to afford the mortgage are not making any mortgage payments, whatever money they have left over they should save and use it when it is time to move out. The saved up money will be used for moving expenses as well as a deposit on a rental unless living arrangements have been made with friends or family members.

What many sellers do not realize is that a short sale is like any other house sale except the bank has to approve the offer. The owner should maintain the home to the best of their ability and make it look presentable during showings just like any other sale.

Another reason why you should stay in your home during a short sale is because your lender would most likely prefer it. They know that if you are in the home any problems that happened will not go unattended. Loads of problems happen when a house is vacant such as vandalism or if a water pipe bursts and causes tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the house, mold issues, mice, rats etc. So if anything you are helping the sale and in essence helping the bank lose less than they already are. The less the house sells for the harder it will be to approve the short sale with the bank.

A vacant house is an attention grabber, if people in the area or even prospective buyers who have seen that house realize the house is empty all the time they may come by “unannounced” to look around or who knows what else. Many of these things can lower the value of the home and as I mentioned above, the lower the offer is for the house the harder it may be to get the short sale approved.

If you must vacate your home whether you are relocating or moving out of state and staying in the home during the short shale process is not possible, no one is going to force you to stay. If you do leave the area and not able to check on the house, if possible have someone check on it once a week. If you can afford to have the lawn cut during the summer then that will also help the whole process and appeal of the home.

How long does the short sale process take? The whole process from the day the house is listed until the short sale is approved and it is time to move out could be 6-9 months or more. If could be even less than that but a conservative timeframe is about 6 months. I just closed on a short sale that took 3.5 moths from the day the offer was submitted. It took less than 2 months to find the buyer so less than 6 months for the whole process.  If you do receive an offer on your home and if your agent and short sale attorney tell you that the process is going well you should then start consider looking at rentals or making other arrangements. Banks are not very flexible with a closing date. Once they approve the short sale they will want to close in 2-4 weeks.

If you need advice on a short sale or want to know if you qualify for a short sale please call me or email me at [email protected].

For more info on the short sale process please visit

If you are a buyer and interesting in buying a short sale or foreclosure home please visit: Westchester Putnam Short Sale Listings


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