What is the difference? By now you may know that a “Short Sale” is a lender approved sale of real estate in which the sale price is less than (or short of) the mortgage balance. A foreclosure however is where the bank takes the property and either it is sold through auction or sold by the bank in the open market.

What about the homeowner? After the smoke clears where does the homeowner stand? Obviously if the bank is loosing money, the borrower will not be taking anything away from the transaction. In the best case scenario the homeowner walks away without any liability and minimal credit damage. This is not the case with foreclosure.

It’s important to note that Short Sales will not work if the property has sufficient equity for the lender to foreclose, sell as an REO and at least break even. The homeowner must be thoroughly “upside-down” in their loan and be able to prove a legitimate hardship for a lender to approve the transaction.

The average cost for a lender to foreclose is approximately $50,000 and there are reserves that lenders are required hold to back up non-performing loans. Lenders don’t like to tie up resources to back up these loans and are generally open to alternatives.

The outline below will help to establish some of the major differences (impact to the borrower) between Short Sales and Foreclosure.


Foreclosure: Credit scores can suffer a loss of approximately 250 to more than 300 points and generally this can affect credit for over 3 years.

Short Sale: Late payments on mortgage will show and after the property is sold the loan is normally reported as ‘paid as agreed’, ‘paid as negotiated’ or ‘settled’. This can lower a credit score by as little as 50 as long as other accounts are being maintained. A short sale can influence a credit rating for as little as 12 to 18 months.


Foreclosure: A foreclosure remains as a public record permanently and as part of a personal credit history for 10 years or more.

Short Sale: a short sale is not reported in a credit history. There is no specific report for short sales and the loan is generally reported as ‘paid’ or ‘settled’.


Foreclosure: In the State of California a lender has the right to pursue a deficiency judgment through judicial foreclosure.

Short Sale: The deficiency can be a point of negotiation with the lender


Foreclosure: The home will need to go through the REO process if it fails to sell at auction. Generally this results in a lower sales price and can take longer to sell, especially in a declining market. Bank offer these propertied “as is” and that will scare off many potential buyers. All these delays can result in a higher deficiency.

Short Sale: With a properly managed short sale the property should sell at close to market price resulting in a lower deficiency.

FANNIE MAE (primary residence)

Foreclosure: A homeowner who looses a home to foreclosure is ineligible for Fannie Mae-backed loans for a period of 5 years.

Short Sale: After successfully negotiating and closing a short sale the homeowner is eligible for a Fannie Mae-backed loan in 2 years.

FANNIE MAE (non-primary)

Foreclosure: An investor who looses property to foreclosure is ineligible for Fannie Mae-backed loans for a period of 7 years.

Short Sale: After successfully negotiating and closing a short sale an investor is eligible for a Fannie Mae-backed loan in 2 years.


Foreclosure: On any future loan applications, a prospective borrower will be required to answer YES to question C in Section VIII of the standard 1003 form that asks “Have you ever had property foreclosed upon or given title or deed in lieu thereof in the last 7 years?” This will affect future interest rates.

Short Sale: There is no similar declaration or question regarding short sales.


Foreclosure: As with a serious misdemeanor or felony conviction, foreclosure is a critical issue where a security clearance is concerned. In nearly all cases clearance will be revoked and the position will bet terminated.

Short Sale: On its own, a short sale does not challenge most security clearances.


Foreclosure: Employers have the right and actively check the credit of all employees in sensitive positions. Foreclosure is frequently grounds for reassignment or termination.

Short Sale: A short sale is not report on a credit report and as such is not a challenge to employment.


Foreclosure: Credit checks are required for applicants by many employers. A foreclose is among the most detrimental credit item an applicant can have and in many cases will challenge employment.

Short Sale: A short sale is not report on a credit report and as such is not a challenge to employment.


Robert Dixon Earns NAR Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification


RE/MAX Palos Verdes-Execs
(310) 378-7747

Robert Dixon Earns NAR Short Sales & Foreclosure Certification
Buyers & Sellers Benefit from REALTOR® Expertise in Distressed Sales

Redondo Beach, California, January 11, 2010 — Robert Dixon with RE/MAX Palos Verdes-Execs has earned the nationally recognized Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the SFR certification to REALTORS® who want to help both buyers and sellers navigate these complicated transactions, as demand for professional expertise with distressed sales grows.

According to a recent NAR survey, nearly one-third of all existing homes sold recently were either short sales or foreclosures. For many real estate professionals, short sales and foreclosures are the new “traditional” transaction. REALTORS® who have earned the SFR certification know how to help sellers maneuver the complexities of short sales as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities.

“As leading advocates for homeownership, REALTORS® believe that any family that loses its home to foreclosure is one family too many, but unfortunately, there are situations in which people just cannot afford to keep their homes, and a foreclosure or a short sale results,” said 2009 NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Foreclosures and short sales can offer opportunities for home buyers and benefit the larger community, as well, but it’s extremely important to have the help of a real estate professional like a REALTOR® who has earned the SFR certification for these kinds of purchases.”

The certification program includes training on how to qualify sellers for short sales, negotiate with lenders, protect buyers, and limit risk, and provides resources to help REALTORS® stay current on national and state-specific information as the market for these distressed properties evolves. For more information about the SFR certification, visit or call 1-877-510-7855.

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Affordably prepping your home for sale

Happy New Year to all…

I could have picked a lot of topics for my first post of 2010 and ultimately chose to go with something not directly related to the financial goings-on in real estate current events.

Preparing your home to sell, affordably works for any market and the link to Barbara Ballinger’s ‘10 Affordable Home Redos’ on provides some interesting, budget-friendly ideas that could help encourage a quicker sale.

There are also additional links to related topics that are a must-read for anyone looking to market their home.