Is a Short Sales Boom Coming?

Banks are ramping up short sales thanks to government incentives and the realization that short sales result in lower losses than foreclosures. On average, banks lose 50 percent on a foreclosure, but only 30 percent on a short sale.

Bank of America, the nation’s largest mortgage servicer, has dramatically reduced the time it takes to process short sales. Elizabeth Weintraub, a Sacramento, Calif.-based real estate practitioner who handles many short sales, said, “Bank of America approved [a short sale] in 24 days. That flipped me out.”

The hang-up for many short sellers has been second liens, but the new government program gives first lien holders incentives to share and offers second lien holders and investors a $6,000 cash incentive.

Under the new program lenders must tell the seller the minimum they’ll accept. When the seller comes back with a good offer, it must be accepted within 10 days.

Chris Saitta, CEO of Equator, which produces short-sale software, predicts a boom in short sales. “The challenge will be handling all the volume,” he said.

Source: CNNMoney, Les Christie (03/29/2010)

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