There Are Enough Crooks in Sacramento Short Sales

HAFA Short SalesWe have enough crooks in Sacramento short sales that we, ourselves, don’t need to add to the mix, whether we are a seller, a buyer or a real estate agent. I tell my short sale sellers that they need to keep their noses clean. Don’t do anything that the lender can later construe to be mortgage fraud. Because if a seller is dishonest, the bank can reverse the release of liability for that short sale and pursue a seller for the remaining balance, which is the whole reason to do a short sale in the first place. To get that release of liability.

I realize that sellers are upset with their banks, and they hate the fact they’ve been strung along for years paying on rotten loans that they can’t afford but that is no reason not to level with the bank during a short sale. Sellers also tend to worry that if they don’t make up some facts to color their financial situation the bank won’t approve the short sale. What they don’t realize is the banks typically prefer a short sale to a loan modification.

If you’ve been in the middle of a loan modification or attempting to obtain a loan modification and been turned down, you’re probably a prime candidate for a short sale. Especially if your bank is one of those institutions established for the sole purpose of picking up worthless mortgages. The bank might expect you to short sale.

Sometimes sellers want to say, for example, that they live in the property so they can apply for a $3,000 relocation incentive. If they don’t live in the property but instead live elsewhere, that could be mortgage fraud if they lie about it. Collecting $3,000 under false pretenses could cause a bank to withdraw the release of liability on that short sale after it closes. The bank could also demand the return of the $3,000, and then prosecute the perpetrator for a million dollars-plus. Mortgage fraud is a federal crime.

California Civil Code 580e (effective 2011) gave sellers the protection and the release of liability in a short sale, but it also takes it away if the seller commits mortgage fraud. If you’re contemplating such an act, you might want to ask yourself if the consequences are worth the risk. It’s not a harmless act of omission. The bank will track your credit card purchases, examine where your credit card statements are delivered and check to see if cable TV is still in your name. Don’t move in furniture because the BPO agent will open the refrigerator and check to see if the washer and dryer are connected.

You either live in the property or you don’t. Don’t mess around.

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