The Impact of Short Sales on Your Home and Our Community

No matter where your financial status falls in today's wide economic spectrum, an understanding of real estate short sales and how they affect the value of all homes within our community is becoming more and more important.

"Hardly a day goes by without at least one person asking me about the implications of short sales--either in terms of how it affects them as a home seller, or what it means to them as a buyer looking for a great opportunity," says Lawrence Finn, Jr., CEO Owner/Broker of Coach Real Estate Associates . "That's why our company and its sales associates believe it's critical to proactively communicate accurate information about short sales."

Accounts of distressed, or so called "under water" properties, seem to be a daily occurrence. According to Mr. Finn, the term "under water" was coined to describe the condition of the outstanding balance of a mortgage exceeding the market value of the home. If a property is under water but the homeowner is current with their mortgage, the situation is of less consequence. If a homeowner stops paying their mortgage, however, lenders have little option but to act. This can result in the forced sale of the property.

When a mortgage lender enables the sale of a property for an amount less than the mortgage balance, this is a "short sale." "The problem is, the lower prices that short sales generally command on the market can negatively affect the value of other properties in our community ... including yours and mine," explains Finn.

Homeowners facing financial challenges need to have a better understanding of their many, and in some cases better, alternatives, adds Finn, including loan modification, deed-in-lieu, and foreclosure.

"Understanding short sales is particularly important for today's home buyers," explains Finn, "so that they fully understand both the opportunity and the financial return that a short sale-related property purchase can represent ... as well as the pitfalls."

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