Elizabeth Weintraub • Sacramento Real Estate Agent

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Forgiven Debt Can Rebound as a Deficiency After California Short Sale

The thing about the internet is you can find information that supports just about any point of view. It's kinda like wandering down the street and asking passersby what they think about any particular topic. You'll get a wide range of opinions. You might even get a popular viewpoint that could be completely wrong. But because you're a democratic kind of person, you probably believe that the majority can't be off their rockers and it must be true, when it is not.

Some of this information could even be an article I have written for About.com. I sometimes write opposing viewpoints. Why would I do that? Because I can. And because I get paid for it. And because diversity is good. Sometimes there is no black and white but there are many shades of gray. Especially when it comes to a short sale.

I try to explain to my sellers that every short sale is different. I tell them they can go talk to their neighbors, coworkers, family members, and all of them will give them different advice. Some people think they are an expert because they know somebody who did a short sale. Who doesn't? When you've got much of Sacramento underwater and hurting, you know a lot of people who have either closed a short sale or gone through foreclosure. They all have an opinion they think is the gospel truth.

They could be dead wrong when it comes to you, though.

So, you've got to decide early on whom you will believe. Will you believe your Sacramento short sale agent who has closed hundreds of short sales? Or, will you believe Uncle Harry? Uncle Harry might be an expert on fly fishing or baseball or how many Budweisers he can chug before passing out but when it comes to short sales, you're better off trusting the pros.

If you don't trust your agent to give you accurate information, then you shouldn't hire that agent. Last year I made the mistake of taking on a short-term client who had a big problem with trust. Soon as I put her listing into MLS, she decided to sell to her neighbor. I tried to explain that she would be required to sign an arm's length affidavit, which stated she had no relationship to the buyer and did not know the buyer. In fact, I would be required to affirm that I had no knowledge of a pre-existing relationship as well. Which I can't and won't lie about.

This seller disagreed. She hadn't read the arm's length but she did an internet search. She concluded because her neighbor was not a blood relative, she didn't have to disclose the relationship. I don't know where people come up with this crap. That point of view isn't even logical. She was adamant, though. I canceled the listing. Because the thing is if you don't have trust, you don't have a fiduciary relationship with your client. If I don't have a fiduciary relationship with my client, I have no business trying to represent the client under those conditions.

Every short sale is different. Every short bank is different. Every short bank's investors are different. There really are no cookie cutter short sales. In California, if you don't disclose certain facts, you could be guilty of mortgage fraud. If you have committed fraud, the bank might be allowed to pursue a deficiency, even after your short sale has closed. Then all the work you did to do a short sale could be in vain.

That release of liability you thought you had could vanish. You could suddenly discover that the difference between the price you sold at and your loan balance is now due and payable to the bank. There are consequences for lying. That's the thing some people don't stop to consider while they're thumbing through the internet and reading crap on their cellphones.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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