While you may want to just mail your keys to your lender and move on to a new job, you may need to short sell your home first or have the lender agree to a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.
Q: We have a home in Marietta, Georgia and our mortgage balance is about $190,000 and the value of our home is about $180,000. We had to move to Florida for a job and we don’t have money for both homes.
We’ve been trying to rent the Georgia home since October without luck. We’re renting in Florida, but we’ve run out of money to pay the expenses on the Georgia home. As we are not delinquent at this moment, do we file for deed in lieu of foreclosure now? I am also confused if we can continue in our search for a tenant.
A: You might try to sell the home, even through a short sale. If your lender agrees to the short sale, you can move on with your life. Many people seem to believe that they can simply approach their lender and request that they receive title to the home instead of going through the foreclosure process. That’s what a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is.
Most lenders have a hard enough time agreeing to a short sale with a buyer and many more are unwilling to simply allow a borrower to give up and give title to the home to the lender. It seems that lenders want more than just that. They either want the borrower to make the effort to find a buyer for the home or they will go through the process of foreclosing on the home. While a deed in lieu of foreclosure might be cheaper for the lender, you don’t usually hear of homeowners routinely giving their title to their homes to the lender.
In your case, you’ll probably have to hire a broker to sell the home and find a willing buyer that makes a good enough offer that will allow the lender to go down the short sale route. If the lender approves the sale, you will have gotten rid of the Georgia home and can continue your life in Florida.
You should know that in many states, including Georgia, your lender is allowed to sue you for the deficiency that is owed once the home is sold in a short sale. To avoid the deficiency judgment, you’d want to make sure your lender waives any right to go after you for the deficiency in the course of having them approve the short sale. If you get them to waive the deficiency, you shouldn’t find yourself facing a bill collector down the line claiming you owe them money for the amount left unpaid on the mortgage.
As with many solutions to the mortgage crisis, you need to know that the short sale option will cause your credit score to drop quite a bit – perhaps 150 points or more – and that you may not be eligible for another mortgage product for some time to come. But that may be a price worth paying in order to move on with your life in Florida and getting back on your feet with the new job.