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Hard times don’t always mean foreclosure
by Annie Christian - Special to the Sparks Tribune
Mar 31, 2011 | 1287 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Annie Christian
Annie Christian
Have you been struggling with your house payments because of unemployment, disability, loss of a renter or other personal struggles? How long have you been dealing with it: six months, one year, two? Did you buy your house during the peak and it’s now worth 50 percent or less of its original value?

More and more I am hearing these stories from local homeowners: “Annie, we don’t want to lose our house but, we have been declined for various loan modifications. We need to sell but first we have to get out of a bad loan.”

Most homeowners who have short-sold their homes in the last three years have already rebounded. How? They have sought credit repairs and now they are homeowners again with very affordable fixed monthly payments.

Starting fresh is easier than many people think.

Is a short sale right for me?

The goal of a short sale is to help people avoid foreclosure if they are no longer able to make their payments. In the short sale process, a homeowner sells their home and settles their mortgage debt for less than the amount they owe.

Meet Rachel and Al, a veteran. The couple was able to buy again just one year after their short sale.

Rachael and Al have three children. They have outgrown their three-bedroom home and need a bigger house. A five-bedroom listing in Lemmon Valley was priced just right but they needed help getting a loan. Rachel also owned another, smaller three-bedroom home down the street that they bought three years ago. Red flags popped up in my mind: The couple did not have any equity in their home to purchase a move-up home. Their house was worth only 50 percent of what they paid for it.

After meeting with me and going over their mortgage statement and researching the current market value in their neighborhood, Rachel and Al decided it would be best to put their smaller three-bedroom home on the market for a short sale. The high payment was causing them to be house-poor and broke every month.

The good news for Al is that as a veteran he will be eligible to purchase another primary residence just one year after they short sell.

The couple signed up for professional credit repairs to restore their home-buying credit. They will be able to qualify for another Veterans Administration loan in the next 60 days. Sometimes a person needs to short sell a higher-priced home in order to get into a home they can comfortably afford. Their fixed payment on the next home will be only 25 percent of their total take-home income. It will also allow them room to pay other expenses, send their children to college and even take summer vacations.

Home lost in a scam

Bruce bought a lovely home on an acre of land in Washoe Valley during the peak of the market. The land allowed Bruce to store and restore his 15 collectible cars on the weekend as a hobby, but Bruce knew he paid quite a ransom for the house. He was hoping to refinance to a lower payment in two years. Two years of high monthly payments later, on one fateful morning Bruce received a letter from an attorney’s office in his mailbox promising to reduce his payments by 50 percent using their legal expertise. Bruce had been waiting for such a deal for more than two years. He took immediate action, wrote them a check and waited for his monthly payment to be reduced by 50 percent as promised.

Bruce waited for the attorney to reduce his payments, and after finding a notice of foreclosure on his door he called me. His attorney failed repeatedly and Bruce was declined for a loan modification. Bruce needed my help to avoid being kicked out of his home just a few days before Christmas. I met Bruce on the next day he was off from work, listed his house and brought him two offers.

Bruce’s short sale saved him from foreclosure. He is currently enrolled in credit repairs and will be a homeowner again in less than a year.

Annie Christian is a real estate broker and owner of The Annie Christian Real Estate Group. She helps clients with everything from buying and selling to foreclosure and short sale. To submit a question to her, call 351-5117. Her website is
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Hard times don’t always mean foreclosure by Annie Christian - Special to the Sparks Tribune

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