Friday, January 29, 2010

Report: Short Sales and Your Credit Score


Curious what will happen to your credit score after a short sale?
The answer is... it depends. How many mortgage payments did you miss? How much debt do you have? What is your outstanding balance to available credit ratio? What is your overall payment history? Your "point" impact will be calculated by FICO based on these and several other criteria. Here is an actual example of how a short sale affected my Destin short sale seller's credit score.
Property: Destin short sale condo - investment property (not owner occupied)
Lender: Aurora Loan Services
Number of Missed Mortgage Payments: 23
Short Sale Reporting: "Settled for Less Than Full Amount"
Previous Credit Score: 745
"During Short Sale" Credit Score: 646
Credit Score 30 Days After Short Sale: 732 687 and 679 (from the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion and Experian)
My Destin short sale seller was amazed that his credit score seemed to shoot right up after his short sale was complete. This is not always the case. The bottom line is - you won't know how your score will change until you complete your short sale. But don't be dismayed, you CAN start to rebuild your credit immediately. And don't be suprised if your financial future is brighter than you think.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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If you and your short sale sellers are having problems with Bank of America and Equator (formerly Reotrans), you are not alone. My team and I have be


If you and your short sale sellers are having problems with Bank of America and Equator (formerly Reotrans), you are not alone. My team and I have been "experimenting" with the new short sale upload system since we've been forced to start using it two weeks ago. Not only does the short sale agent have to use Equator, so does the short sale seller. The idiosyncrasies of the software can be intimidating-- even to a savvy internet user.
Passwords don't work, information is wiped out, and files are rejected for reason code: OTHER.
Today a Destin short sale seller came into my office for help entering his financial information. We had already uploaded his last two years tax returns, last two months bank statements and last two paystubs by separate pdf. After entering his information and filling out thirty plus data fields, his information was WIPED out three times by Equator. WHY? He hit the back-button! But did we give up? No way! After a while, through trial and error, we found some tips to help you along your Bank of America-Equator journey.
Remember to have your seller log onto bankofamerica.com/shortsale (no www). He should already have his password, after registering at 1-866-677-2516 and having one emailed to him.
There are NO DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS, but these hints will help you to success:
The system does not accept commas in all numeric fields. It will kick out entries with commas in the lower section of the seller financial fields, those underneath the income section. (Some may find it difficult, for example, typing 100000.00 and keeping track of the correct number, but that is what it wants.)
The seller can only "Save for Later" if they fill out a complete section on the screen, from the BLUE to BLUE (HELP to HELP) area of the form. Otherwise, the info will be WIPED OUT!
When totalling numeric fields (like expenses, for example), click OUTSIDE the data entry field to the right of the "total" at the bottom of the column. Don't try to add up the fields. This will add them up for you. ( I know it makes no sense).
Finally, if you want CHAT HELP, there is no button. or link on the screen.. I knew there was a CHAT, so I called the Equator Tech Line 310-469-9167. (Expect to be on hold for thirty minutes to three hours). After finally getting through, and being put on hold for twenty minutes, they came up with this to find CHAT:
Click on the HELP button at the top of the screen. In the "Search" field, type in the word "CHAT", then an icon will appear. I am sure you would have figured that out on your own, right?
That's all for today. For more Equator hints, check back here and on the Short Sale Superstars Equator group. Until then, happy typing!


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field PCS - HAP Helps You Avoid Foreclosure


Are you an Eglin AFB or Hurlburt Field airman PCSing soon? If you own a home, have to sell, and owe more than your property is worth, there may be help available so you can avoid a foreclosure or even a short sale. The U.S. military Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) may help you by covering most of the loss to your mortgage holder.
These are the basic qualifications for HAP:
1. You must be PCSing more than 50 miles2. You purchased your home or entered into a contract to buy it before July 1, 20063. It was your primary residence (not a rental)4. Your orders were between February 1, 2006 and September 30, 2012.5. Your home must have declined at least 10% in value. (That should not be in problem in the Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field market). HAP may cover 90% of your loss from your original purchase price, with you bringing the difference to closing when you sell your homel If you apply for HAP and are moving from Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field or Whiting Field, here is part of an email you may receive from the HAP Savannah District:
" We cannot estimate or pay benefits until you have provided all requested information, are determined eligible, and have sold your home or have it under contract. You are encouraged to send in the information we request since we cannot determine your eligibility without it.The government acquisition option for... applicants involves the government purchasing your home and selling it immediately to your buyer in a subsequent transaction. This option is for those who cannot afford to close without it. You are advised to make every effort to sell your property at the highest reasonable price under current real estate market conditions.
Please note we will require a fully signed HUD-1 Settlement Statement from when you bought your home. Please send this document for inclusion in your file.If you listed major improvements in your application, you must provide receipts for these items if you would like them to be considered. Current guidance is that the Prior Fair Market Value is the purchase price, but it is anticipated that there may be an adjustment for improvements in the final guidance. Improvements and receipts must be in accordance with the guidelines established in IRS publications 552 & 527 (http://www.irs.gov/)."
The great news about this HAP guideline, is that your monetary assistance may be based on your cost plus improvements, not just your initial purchase price. This means, HAP may cover more of the loss to your mortgage holders - so YOU will have to bring less funds to closing to cover the difference.
If you plan on selling your home for a PCS from Eglin or Hurlburt in Navarre, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview or Mary Esther, Florida, contact a real estate agent who specializes in the HAP program. Don't let your home go to foreclosure!


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How To Improve Your Credit Score After Short Sale or Foreclosure


Are you one of the many Americans recently affected by financial woes? Have you missed payments, racked up your charge card, gone through a short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy? As a result, your credit score has probably dropped, maybe substantially. If so, there is a great resource that may help you rebuild your credit.
MyFico.Com is a website recommended by my favorite financial guru, Suze Orman. MyFico will allow you to monitor your score and will send you email alerts whenever your score might be affected, for example:
1. You increase your balance on your charge cards (higher overall debt)
2. You apply for a car loan or other installment debt (credit inquiries)
3. You get the car loan (higher debt)
4. You pay late
5. Your credit card company lowers your limit (balance to available credit ratio)
By monitoring your score, you will be more conscious of how you can improve it. You can even set a target score – to alert you when you reach your goal. For example, if your score is 650 and your goal is 700- you will get an alert when you reach it! The other great thing MyFico does is offer a simulator to see how your score will change if you take specific action, like pay $10,000 down on your overall credit, or pay on time for five months.
What can you do to improve your score? Pay down credit cards, pay your bills on time and don't take on new installment debt. The more consistent you are with taking those actions, the quicker your score will improve. MyFico offers a 30 day free trial. If you sign up, the fee is $9.95 a month or $99.95 per year.
To get an annual free credit report, also consider the official Federal Trade Commission site http://www.annualcreditreport.com/. You can get a report once a year from the three credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
Watch your score and be aware of your spending. Your credit will improve... maybe sooner than you think!


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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310 Evergreen, Hurlburt Field, Mary Esther FL- Short Sale


Calling Hurlburt Field and Eglin AFB! Come home to Mary Esther! This short sale house has been recently painted, with berber carpet, new ceiling fans and tile in kitchen and baths. Darling curb appeal with metal roof (about 4 years old) Central heat and air only about two years old. Bonus room with some heat and cooling not included in square footage- 280 square feet. Roomy fenced yard. This Mary Esther Florida short sale home is a quick commute to either Hurlburt or Eglin. Ten minutes to the beach, Okaloosa Island, Santa Rosa Mall and more.
Offered at $123,000.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

4495 Ocean View, Crystal Shores, Destin Florida Short Sale


The "Bimini House" in Crystal Shores, Destin Florida says "Come on in and have some fun!" with its cheerful tangerine exterior and plethora of porches. This Destin short sale home will make you smile at the happy colors and breezy decor. First floor features wood floors, open dining room, high ceilings and fireplace. The kitchen is a country delight with pass-through, eat-in space, transom windows and overlooking the heated pool. Second floor master bedroom is large and luxurious with private wrap balcony and its own fireplace! Third floor has wrap balcony with access from two more bedrooms and peak of gulf view. The carriage house has two bedrooms, kitchen and rec room. The main house is 3331 square feet and the carriage house about 500 square feet, per seller. There are a total of 6 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. Crystal Shores is a two minute walk to the Gulf of Mexio beach and near numerous shops, Destin Commons and more!
Destin short sale offered at $489,000.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bank of America Approves Destin Short Sale: Boldly Ask and You May Receive


Bank of America Approves Destin Short Sale Condo: Pays Past Dues
Sometimes you get lucky!
Subject Property: Destin short sale condo on the harbor
Short Sale Lender: Bank of America
Mortgage Balance: $1,200,000.00
Sale Price: $490,000.00 appr
Seller Cash Contribution: -0-
Seller Promissory Note: -0-
Past Due Association Fees Paid by Bank of America: $25,235.67

Notes: I wrote a previous post about short sale condos and association dues becoming the “Next Generation of Junior Liens” because so many homeowners cannot afford to pay them. As this down real estate economy progresses, more and more owners will become delinquent on their condo or association dues. The past-due balances will build to incredible amounts, just like the one I have outlined. The short sales submitted for approval will have greatly reduced payoffs to the mortgage holders when adding in the obligation to pay these dues.
In Florida, if the short sale lender does not agree to pay these costs, there is an argument for the condo association to accept less. Florida statutes only require a payment to the condo association of the past six months in arrears if the unit is foreclosed, twelve months if it is a homeowners association. (This is a tip for negotiating Florida short sales.)
In my lucky Destin short sale, we boldly asked for all the past condo dues to be paid- a whopping $25,000! Bank of America did not blink. (Rather, the secondary market investor on the loan did not blink.) Deal approved. Give it a try.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bank of America & Equator: Are We Guinea Pigs on a Treadmill?


If you haven't heard recently, Bank of America short sales are getting even… well, weirder. Their new plan is to implement an online system where real estate agents and borrowers can upload their own short sale information. It sounds great-- and it would be--if it worked. OK, you might have heard one or two success stories, but I can tell you from practical experience, until this system is refined your Bank of America short sales might take… longer!
The new system is called Equator, formally REOTrans. It is really a jerry-rigged uploading site that is also used for foreclosure (REO) offers to Bank of America. Here is my experience with it so far.
Day 1: I fax in my package to Bank of America for a new Destin short sale
Day 7: I call in to confirm the fax was received, as it takes Bank of America several days to recognize new faxes. No, and they cannot find my loan number. There is no such loan number! Huh? I call my seller. She says the loan number was changed in the past week.
Day 10: After faxing in a new authorization, I call Bank of America (BOFA) back with the new loan number. They said they changed the loan number because this file is going to their new online system, Equator. They instruct me to upload my short sale package online. My seller must also call in to get her own special password to use the system and upload her own financial documents.
Day 11: My seller calls BOFA during the day from work. She is on hold over one hour and transferred twice. During her hold time, she emails me "Still on hold, but they 'look forward to talking' with me soon". After she completes her call she tells me "I cannot believe this is what you deal with all day". She forwards me her password so I may upload all her documents for her. This means, all the tax returns, bank statements, financial worksheet, paystubs, etc. Each document must be scanned into our computer system as a separate file so we can upload them when asked.
Day 12: We try to access Equator with my seller's password. Login fails. No luck.
Day 13: We log in under my agent id. Here we upload our authorization and answer questions about the offer. Non-invasive questions like,"What is the buyer’s birth date? What are the first five digits of the buyer’s social security?"
FINALLY, we get to the offer amount. Let's use $160,000 as an example. OFFER REJECTED -insufficient. HUH? The last sale in this Destin condo complex was $150,000. So, why is our $160,000 offer insufficient? Who can I talk to?The machine? I call Bank of America and they repeat, the system says "insufficient", didn't I get a rejection email? "From generic.negotiator@bankofamerica.com I told them. Well, that is who you should email, I am told by the BOFA rep. "You are kidding, I am to email the "generic" negotiator?" The rep says, "Yes, that email is checked by different negotiators all day". OK, who am I to question the authority of Bank of America? I email generic.negotiator@bankofamerica.com (like an idiot) and of course the email address is invalid.


Day 14: Today. Plan B. I'll let you know how it goes. And I wish you better luck with Equator.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Need a Broker Price Opinion- This is a Comparative Market Analysis!


I recently got a Mary Esther Florida short sale approved by HSBC, who always provide interesting twists to their short sales. Here is the story:
Property: Owner occupied home in Mary Esther Florida

Market Value: $130,000

Senior Lien: Wells Fargo - VA loan - $190,000

Junior Lien: HSBC - $40,000

Getting the VA compromise sale approved by Wells Fargo was the easy part of this short sale. Getting approval from HSBC, the junior lien, was a different story. HSBC had farmed out its collection efforts to a company called Professional Recovery Services. After months of waiting for a response on short sale approval, PRS finally claimed that HSBC would not allow a short sale because the borrower had filed for bankruptcy a few years ago. I was asked to provide documentation that the HSBC lien was not included in the bankruptcy. I did, but PRS said HSBC still refused to look at the short sale, claiming "a bankruptcy is a bankruptcy".
Undeterred, I contacted HSBC directly, emailing several representatives until I was directed to a negotiator in the bankruptcy department. Apparently, I had contacted the right person, as he said he would help with the short sale approval. First, though, he needed me to provide a Broker Price Opinion of the property's value. I used my Multiple Listing Service to do a detailed market analysis and faxed in the form. The HSBC negotiator, although polite enough in scripted English, had a problem with my document.
"This is not a Broker Price Opinion" he said, "It says Comparative Market Analysis".
"It's the same thing. A comparative market analysis is the same thing as a BPO", I told him incredulously, "What do you want me to do, re-label it?"
PAUSE
"It looks like a CMA. I need a Broker Price Opinion done by a Broker” He choked out.
"I am a Broker. Fine, I will re-label the form with 'BPO' and fax it back to you."
"Thank you, it has been my pleasure speaking with you", he read from his script.
I re-entered my data onto another form, labeled it 'Broker Price Opinion',and faxed it back to HSBC. The next day I called in.
"You are approved. It has been my pleasure working with you",


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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359 Clubhouse Drive, Windswept Estates, Freeport Florida - Short Sale


Gorgeous Windswept Estates short sale home in Freeport Florida set on golf course. Unique architectural touches, curved designs, archways, dramatic foyer and entrance highlighted with columns. Huge kitchen with extra long counterspace with more cabinets above for plenty of storage, banquet area. Wood laminate floors, high ceilings, corner angled fireplace. Formal dining room with French doors. Spacious screened porch accessible by living room and master bedroom. This golf course home has a great view of the 3rd hole and green. Windswept Dunes golf course is on 700 acres, and is noted as the longest course in the Florida! Windswept amenities include: clubhouse with a pool, tennis courts, volleyball area, and a playground. Added feature: electronic pet fence!

This Windswept estates short sale home is offered at $197,900


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Beachside II 4291, Sandestin Florida - Short Sale Condo


Beautiful Sandestin short sale condo located on the 9th floor of Beachside II at Sandestin Beach and Golf Club directly on the Gulf of Mexico. The kitchen has granite countertops, recessed lighting and breakfast bar. The master bedroom provides an exquisite view overlooking the gulf. The master bath has a garden tub and a walkin closet. The convenience of the stacked washer and dryer gives you more time to enjoy the beach or relax on the balcony. Sandestin is filled with fun, and you can venture to restaurants, shopping, Baytowne Wharf, Destin Commons and more - all a short distance from this Sandestin short sale condo.
Offered at $529,900


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Santa Rosa Beach Short Sale Approval: Priceless


This Santa Rosa Beach Florida short sale set the Bank of America record for me. Document after document was requested, faxed and emailed. Phone call after phone call was made. The file was closed and re-opened many times. The buyers threatened to walk time and again. This short sale was on the edge of collapse throughout much of the approval the process, but in the end, success!
First Mortgage: Bank of America, balance $1,300,000
Second Mortgage: Regions, balance $100,000
Sale Price: $850,000 appr
Bank of America Approval Terms: $40,000 promissory note, $30,000 cash contribution
Regions Approval Terms: $15,000 cash contribution
Number of Bank of America negotiators: 5
Number of Regions negotiators: 2
Number of Times Bank of America erroneously closed file: 3
Number of Emails sent: 298
Number of Phone call made: 114
Number of Months for Approval: 8
Seller Relief at Closing: Priceless


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Worst Short Sale Lenders of the Year Awards


Each year I give out awards for the worst short sale lenders I have dealt with in the last twelve months. Congratulations to our 2009 winners!

1. PHH - Now Waiting 9 Months for Approval and Counting PHH Mortgage has had a VA Compromise Offer since February 2009 for a Niceville Florida short sale. They were so lame as to do a VA appraisal back in July, then let that expire after six months because they were so slow, and had to order a new one. The sale is still is not approved.
2. USAA will Wait for Short Sale Seller to Die to Go After Probate This Niceville short sale story had a happy ending, but not until after USAA commented they would get their money even if they had to wait for the elderly owner to pass away to get the estate.
3. Saxon Mortgage - Reduces Realtor fee if short sale does not close by approval deadline- for whatever reason- by a full percentage.
4. Green Tree Servicing - Current on Your Mortgage? Short Sale Denied! This short sale servicer denied a Fort Walton Beach short sale because he was current with his payments. They said they would take the "hit" if the seller would take the "hit on his credit". The homeowner drained his entire savings to make payments after spouse was in a serious auto collision.
5. Finally, who else but BANK OF AMERICA, would makes the list - four times over!
Bank of America Approves Short Sale, But Won't Finance Approved Amount Here we find a lender who underappraises a Destin short sale condo for the buyer's mortgage, but on the short sale end- refuses to accept its own appraisal and closes the file! Head spinning yet?
Bank of America - Two Strikes and Buyer Walks As aforementioned transaction goes into round two- Bank of America flubs short sale demands by illiterate negotiator, and refuses to correct error. Short sale denied.
Bank of America Now Wants Your Retirement Account Bank of America is ever so bold now, not even your retirement savings is sacred.
Bank of America - Deficiency Threat Sends Shockwaves The now-infamous Bank of America approval letter has probably caused many a frightened homeowner to pass on a short sale.
Now, that was my list of the TOP worst short sale lenders for 2009, who were yours?


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Make Amends with Your Friends - Before It's Too Late


This week I lost a dear friend to cancer. I had known her for many years, but for two of those years we did not speak. Why not? For a silly reason and a silly misunderstanding. We reconnected when I found myself seated in a restaurant booth next to her and her family. She did not see me, but I recognized her voice immediately. I felt joy in my heart when I heard her. I called over the waiter and asked him to send a bottle of wine to her table. When she got it, she exclaimed “Who sent this?”. I turned around and greeted her. I could see my overture was welcome and she and I planned an evening alone. When we got together we talked about what happened and why we did not speak for two years. It was simply a misunderstanding. It never should have occurred. Thank goodness we reconnected, as we always should have been friends. In the last few years I did not see her much, but she and I had a good connection inside of us.
If there is someone in your life who used to touch your heart, don’t wait. Don’t feud. People come from different places and have different experiences and outlooks. The problem may have nothing to do with you. Forgive them and reconnect, before it is too late.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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Current on Your Mortgage? Short Sale Denied!


Borrower: Elderly gentleman at retirement age
Property: Florida home that was rented out, tenants vacated
Lender: Green Tree Servicing
Hardship: Major expenses due to spouse being in head-on collision. She will require extensive medical treatment for years and require relocation for appropriate care.
Mortgage status: Payments kept current from savings. Account drained from $35,000 to $3,000.
Seller's Logic to Make Payments:"I am keeping up my end of the mortgage agreement in good faith"
Green Tree Conclusion: Short Sale Denied
Green Tree Investor states:"We are willing to take a hit if you are willing to take a hit on your credit. You are current with your payments. Short sale denied."
You think I am making this up? I am not. This homeowner contacted his lender before asking me to sell his home as a short sale. He was told he could continue to make his payments and his short sale would be considered. Yet, he was denied. Guess what? After I notified him of the denial, he said he will no longer be making his mortgage payments. He held up his end of the bargain as best he could and tried to save his lender the cost of foreclosure. Thankfully, a kind Green Tree representative is going to swat the investor in the head so they LOOK at the situation, as she said, like a "human being, not a computer".
People, do not be alarmed. This is NOT the norm. Most short sale lenders WILL consider a short sale if you are current with your payments IF you have a legitimate hardship. For example, IF you are using your savings to make payments, charging on credit cards, borrowing money, taking funds out of retirement, have a military base relocation, etc. I am neither endorsing nor recommending that you make payments or don’t make payments. That is a personal decision. And it is a tough decision. Do what is right for you.
This elderly gentleman may yet find that there is hope for his situation and that he can avoid foreclosure. He made his payments in good faith and left his family with almost nothing. Perhaps this investor will reconsider his short sale and offer him some good faith, too.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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