WHAT'S ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT SHORT SALES?? A home for sale in Maryland or Northern Virginia may offer an opportunity for a home buyer to buy a home at less than market value since most Short Sale listings are priced below comparable value for similar homes in the area. However, a Short Sale contract may also take considerably longer to close due to the fact that, although the seller may enter into a Contract of Sale with you as the buyer, the seller's lender must approve the sale. Sadly, mortgage companies often move slowly in giving that approval.

Patience is required when buying a Short Sale listed home for sale. If the listing agent has training and experience, the transaction is much more likely to proceed smoothly and close in a reasonable length of time. Short Sales in the Maryland and Northern Virginia real estate market can take anywhere from 8 weeks to settle to as much as 6 months or more. Matter that can slow the procedure are sellers with more than one loan, the lender has already started the foreclosure process or may have offered the owner a loan modification.

If your Contract of Sale, and your mortgage financing is in order and the home owner has been approved as a Short Sale owner/seller, the sale will go faster. agents are skilled at evaluating the viability of short sale listings. Your time is valuable and Short Sale listings must be investigated by an experienced Buyer's Agent. That's where our unique experience will help you achieve your goal of buying a Short Sale and benefit from the wonderful values on the market. Closing on a Short Sale gives buyers an opportunity to buy a home at a good price. Our buyers believe that it's worth the wait.

HOMEFINDERS.COM SHORT SALE AREA OF COVERAGE. If you are "upside down" with your home mortgage and must sell, a Short Sale may be a better solution than foreclosure. offers Short Sale help in the following areas:

Anne Arundel County, Annapolis, Crofton, Severna Park * Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Towson, Catonsville * Calvert County, Prince Frederick, Lusby * Carroll County, Westminster, Sykesville * Cecil County * Charles County, Waldorf, LaPlata * Frederick County, Frederick, New Market * Harford County * Howard County, Columbia, Ellicott City * Montgomery County, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Silver Spring * Prince George's County, Bowie, Greenbelt, Upper Marlboro * St. Mary's County, Lexington Park * Washington County * Alexandria, Old Town * Arlington County, Arlington * Clarke County, Berryville * Culpeper County * Fairfax County, Vienna, McLean, Fairfax, Alexandria, Lorton, Herndon, Reston * Fauquier County, Warrenton * King George County, King George * Loudoun County, Leesburg, Purcellville, Sterling, Ashburn, Aldie, South Riding * Prince William County, Woodbridge, Gainesville, Haymarket, Manassas, Dale City * Spotsylvania County, Spotsylvania * Stafford County, Aquia Harbour, Stafford * Eastern Shore, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot, Wicomico *

Send us any questions you have about Short Sales or call Lenn Harley, Broker, and we'll help you understand the Short Sale market from the home buyer's point of view. We can help.

Q. What is a Short Sale?
A. A Short Sale is a contract whereby the bank or mortgage company agrees to accept less than the owner owes.
"SHORT SALE" has become "short hand" for the description of a house that an owner needs to sell, has tried to sell and is unable to sell.

Q. Can any home be sold as a Short Sale?
A. NO. The bank must agree to any Short Sale. The owner must meet certain criteria for need.

Q. Are Short Sales listed in the MLS along with other homes for sale?
A. Yes. Short Sales are fully available in the MLS and

Q. Are all Short Sales identified in the listing?
A. NO. Short Sales are not always identified in the listing.

Q. Can any seller sell their home as a Short Sale?
A. NO. THE SELLER WILL HAVE TO BE APPROVED by the bank or mortgage company.

Q. Are Short Sales selling?
A. If they are priced right and if the contract is not below the bank or mortgage company's "bottom line".

Q. What happens with a Short Sale listing that does not sell?
A. Many will go to foreclosure. Many owners will find help and cure the default. Banks are offering "work out" schedules to avoid foreclosure.

Homefinders network of brokers and agents are experienced and will manage your short sale needs. Make sure that any buyers pre-approved. If the buyer is pre-approved, the contract is completely in order with all addenda, disclosures and notices completed when the contract is presented, the mortgage company or bank will be much more receptive. If and when the bank counters the offer and presents additional documents for the buyer to accept and sign, do it quickly.


Many home owners, because of national publicity, believe that any home owner is a candidate for a short sale solution. It's not that easy. THE OWNER MUST QUALIFY.

Some things must happen before your home should be listed as a short sale.
1. You should have contacted your mortgage company and let them know that you are in financial difficulty and need a solution. The mortgage company may question you about

  • assets
  • earnings
  • have you tried to sell?

Once the mortgage company understands that you are serious, they may send you a "short sale package" for you to complete with necessary information to return to the bank. Based on your information, the bank will advise that you may want to list as a short sale.

There are several events that must occur for a potentially successful short sale.

  1. You need to understand the market value of your home.
  2. You must list the house for sale with "third party approval required". The "third party" that must approve the contract of sale is your mortgage company.
  3. When you select a listing agent, make sure to use the services of an agent with
    short sale experience.
  4. Understand the market in your area before pricing the home. Your mortgage company will require detailed market information before approving a Contract of Sale.
  5. Your agent may recommend that you obtain the services of an attorney to communicate with your mortgage company because real estate agents cannot give legal advice.
  6. Make sure you disclose to your agent all mortgages, liens and encumbrances that you may have. HELOC loans, second mortgages, consumer purchases that are a lien against the property can make short sales difficult.
  7. Make the house as accessible as possible. You can't sell it if you don't show it.
  8. Cooperate with the bank with timely letters and forms as requested. The banks are not always quick to review and approve short sale contracts. Everyone involved in the process must have patience.
  9. You must disclose all of your assets to the mortgage company. Your mortgage company will not approve a short sale on your residential real estate if you have assets that can be liquidated to pay your deficiency.

Consider the above and if you believe that you may be a candidate for a short sale, contact Homefinders and we'll help. 800-711-7988.


FTC Issues Final Rule to Protect Struggling Homeowners from Mortgage Relief Scams

Rule Outlaws Advance Fees and False Claims, Requires Clear Disclosures

Homeowners will be protected by a new Federal Trade Commission rule that bans providers of mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they decide is acceptable.

“At a time when many Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages, peddlers of so-called mortgage relief services have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of homeowners without ever delivering results,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “By banning providers of these services from collecting fees until the customer is satisfied with the results, this rule will protect consumers from being victimized by these scams.”

The FTC is issuing the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule to protect distressed homeowners from mortgage relief scams that have sprung up during the mortgage crisis. Bogus operations falsely claim that, for a fee, they will negotiate with the consumer’s mortgage lender or servicer to obtain a loan modification, a short sale, or other relief from foreclosure. Many of these operations pretend to be affiliated with the government and government housing assistance programs. The FTC has brought more than 30 cases against operations like these, and state and federal law enforcement partners have brought hundreds more.

Advance fee ban

The most significant consumer protection under the FTC’s new rule is the advance fee ban. Under this provision, mortgage relief companies may not collect any fees until they have provided consumers with a written offer from their lender or servicer that the consumer decides is acceptable, and a written document from the lender or servicer describing the key changes to the mortgage that would result if the consumer accepts the offer. The companies also must remind consumers of their right to reject the offer without any charge.


The Rule requires mortgage relief companies to disclose key information to consumers to protect them from being misled and to help them make better informed purchasing decisions. In their advertising and in communications directed at individual consumers (such as telemarketing calls), the companies must disclose that:

  • they are not associated with the government, and their services have not been approved by the government or the consumer’s lender;
  • the lender may not agree to change the consumer’s loan; and
  • if companies tell consumers to stop paying their mortgage, they must also tell them that they could lose their home and damage their credit rating.

Companies also must explain in their communications to consumers that they can stop doing business with the company at any time, can accept or reject any offer the company obtains from the lender or servicer, and, if they reject the offer, they don’t have to pay the company’s fee. The companies also must disclose the amount of the fee.

MARS Disclosure #1.
MARS Disclosure #2.
MARS Disclosure #3.