Short Sale Negotiations: 3 Solid Reasons to Seek an Attorney over a Real Estate Agent

For struggling Miami homeowners unable to keep up with their mortgage payments, a short sale can help avoid foreclosure and minimize damage to credit. In essence, a short sale allows you to sell your home “short” of the amount that you owe to be released from the amount that you still owe. But how do you negotiate a short sale of your home, and what steps do you need to take to convince the lender to agree to the deal? For anyone not familiar with real estate law, a short sale negotiation can be a complicated, uncertain process. While a real estate agent can help you negotiate a short sale, they are not able to give you legal advice on your particular situation. An attorney experienced in real estate law, however, can look at your case and help you make the best decisions.

Read these three reasons to seek an attorney over a real estate agent during your short sale negotiations:

Deficiency Judgments

Your lender may approve to the terms of your short sale agreement, but just because you were able to negotiate a deal doesn’t mean you are out of the woods yet. Most states, including Florida, allow lenders to seek a deficiency judgment, meaning a lender can attempt to collect the amount that your short sale was deficient—either by garnishing your wages or levying your bank account. For example, if your mortgage was $150,000 and you had previously made $20,000 in payments, but the short sale was only for $100,000, then the bank or lender can still come after you for $30,000. If you think you may be at risk for a deficiency judgment, it is a good idea to hire an attorney or, at least, seek legal counsel.

Understanding the Agreement

Legal jargon is notoriously abstruse, so having someone by your side who understands the language will help ensure that there are no surprises after the short sale. As noted above, a lender that approves a short sale agreement can still seek remuneration for the remainder of the debt owed via legal channels. A real estate attorney will make sure that the short sale agreement includes a clause that waives the lender’s right to the deficiency. Real estate agents cannot give a legal advice concerning short sale documents, which means they don’t have the training or knowledge to protect you. An attorney will have to foresight to determine what is best for your situation.

Possibility of Foreclosure

On occasion, short sale negotiations fall through. The lender won’t agree to the terms of the contract and proceeds with foreclosure on your home. When this situation arises, it is critical to have an attorney working on your case. Even if the lender decides to foreclose, you still have options and rights. A real estate attorney will ensure that you are aware of both.

An attorney is the only individual qualified to help you negotiate a successful short sale. If you receive a threat of foreclosure on your Miami home, call our skilled attorneys at AM Law. We’ll make sure you have an experienced real estate lawyer on your team when you begin your short sale negotiations.