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By Rudy Lira Kusuma, REALTOR®
For homeowners with depressed property values, banks are offering new, never before seen short-sale cash incentives.
Since the beginning of the foreclosure crisis, millions of homeowners have found themselves pinned in by their financial circumstances and chained to a mortgage in which they owe more than their home is worth.
But what really makes today a unique time for distressed homeowners is one simple fact: Banks are now willing to give the homeowner cash to sell the home they can no longer afford.
“Why would the bank be willing to pay me money?”
It is actually very simple. For the banks, it’s all about arithmetic. In a foreclosure, banks take the home from the homeowner and then sell it at auction. The bank keeps the money made at auction, but they also have to pay money on upkeep of the vacant property and expenses related to the sale.
For other options, like a short sale, the bank is not responsible for selling or maintaining the house because it is still owned by the original homeowner and it is the homeowner’s responsibility to find a buyer for the home. In almost every case, the final sale amount in a short sale is greater than the sale amount at a foreclosure auction.
Because of this simple fact, short sales have become the preferred foreclosure alternative for the banks. This is why they are willing to offer the homeowner cash to short sell their home: even with a cash incentive, the bank still recovers more money in the long run and the homeowner is able to walk away from their financial situation with some cash in their pocket and the opportunity for a fresh start.
“How much money will they pay?”
This varies from bank to bank, but the amounts can be surprising and almost every major lender has some sort of incentive. For instance:
Bank of America offers cash incentives $2,500 – $30,000, Wells Fargo offers cash incentives $3,000 – $20,000, CHASE offers cash incentives up to $35,000, CITI offers cash incentives up to $35,000
Other smaller banks also have incentives, and there are even government programs (like HAFA and HAMP) that allow owners to do a short sale and receive an incentive.
The clock is ticking, but there are more options available the sooner one starts. It is useful to consult to a licensed real estate broker and a certified distressed property expert to discuss specific foreclosure prevention options.