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Short Sales: What If I Already Tried To Modify My Mortgage Loan?

By Gerald Lucas

Are you eligible to apply for a short sale even if you’ve already tried to modify your mortgage loan?  Your effort as a borrower to short sell your property should never appear to be a strategic default to your lender.  A strategic default is a decision by a borrower to stop making payments on a debt despite having the financial ability to make the payments.  Banks don’t like to approve short sale applications when it looks like a borrower can pay but simply chooses not to pay.  If you applied for a loan modification, you are certainly eligible to apply for a short sale.  Your attempt to modify your loan may strengthen your short sale application by showing that you sincerely tried to lower your payments so that you could continue to pay your mortgage.

You cannot pursue a loan modification and a short sale at the same time.  Borrowers often want to hedge their bets and pursue both workout alternatives simultaneously.  I suppose in theory this may seem like a good idea.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to pursue both strategies concurrently–you must choose one option or the other.  To figure out which solution, a loan modification or a short sale is best for your personal circumstances, you must take an honest look at your current financial situation and verify how much you can realistically afford to pay toward your mortgage every month for the foreseeable future.

Demonstrating that you have a legitimate financial hardship is critical to convincing your lender to approve your short sale application.  You should always do your best to show that you are not trying to escape your financial obligations and that you have a genuine financial hardship.  Even if you were successful in getting your loan modified, you may still not have enough cash or make enough money to continue paying your mortgage.  Your lender will evaluate your short sale application based on your current financial position regardless of whether you tried to modify your loan or were successful in doing so.  Your earlier attempt to modify your loan may strengthen your short sale application by showing that you tried to work things out with your lender rather than just walking away from your financial responsibilities.

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