Getting Another Mortgage Loan After A Short Sale

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Our home isn't worth what we owe. So say you were just an average person selling and buying a house, meaning you put your house up for sale, get a contract to purchase on it then go put in offer in on a new house. Then you generally get a pre-approval, then the loan from a lender for the new house prior to closing on the old house. You then go to the closing sign the papers for your old house and then afterwards sign the papers for the new house. How would the lender giving you the new loan know that you were short selling the old house when everything happens the same day? It's not going to show up on my credit for at least 30 days and by that time I will already own the new house. Get it? Is this possible?

This is not the first time such a scam has been tried.

The loan application asks you about what property you own now. Falsify it, and you're likely going to spend a few years in Club Fed. Since it's unlikely you'll make mortgage payments there, this will compound the problem (Just try this on the judge: "I couldn't pay because I was in jail for lying about my financial situation, so it's not my fault!")

Furthermore, the current mortgage is going to show up on your credit.

The condition the underwriter is going to put on the new loan approval is going to go something like "Show property has been sold and debt paid in full"

Believe me, they're going to investigate. They're going to want a copy of the purchase contract and a payoff on the loan for it. Since the debt isn't going to be paid in full, they're going to figure out that you've got a short sale going on. It's not going to happen "same day" if there's a short sale. They're going to want to verify that the other lender is not going to pursue a deficiency judgment. If you're still going to owe the other lender money, the payments are going to hit your debt to income ratio (DTI).

All that said, if you come clean about the situation starting with your loan application with the new lender, it's possible you'll still be approved - just not the same day you close on your sale. They're going to want something that says your current lender isn't going to pursue the deficiency, but it is possible. Theoretically speaking. They're also going to want to figure out what you're going to owe the Revenuers, and how you're going to pay it. Then they're going to take that into account in underwriting the new loan.

(NB: With HR 3648, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, this may be zero on the federal level but there may still be consequences on the state and local level. Check with your CPA or EA for more information)

But trying to hide the situation is pretty much going to be a guaranteed rejection. Furthermore, whether or not you intended fraud, if you'll look up the legal definition of fraud, what you were asking about falls well within that definition. I wouldn't be surprised to find the FBI paying you a visit. In fact, I'd be surprised if they didn't. Banking fraud having to do with amounts at risk large enough to finance real estate is a serious felony. ALWAYS tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on a loan application. Better to be rejected based upon the truth than accepted based upon fraud.

If you wait until the short sale is consummated to apply for a new loan, there are 13 questions on page 4 of the standard form 1003, the Federal Loan Application. At a minimum, questions a, d, and f (having to do with judgments, lawsuits, and delinquencies) are going to have interesting possibilities, but there is no question that directly asks about a short sale. It does shows up on your credit report for 10 years, as debt not paid in full. Mortgage debt not paid in full, amplifying the failure in the eyes of mortgage lenders. If there's a deficiency judgment, that will show up as well, for ten years from the date of the judgment. I can't recall ever having dealt with someone in this situation; but it's definitely a factor a reasonable person might want to consider in deciding whether to grant you additional credit, right? If your worthless brother-in-law wanted to borrow $1000 despite having stiffed you on other debts in the past, you'd be within reason to consider that fact in your decision as to whether or not to loan the money. Particularly if the purpose of this loan was directly in line with the purpose of prior defaults. The situation is no different with mortgage lenders.

Caveat Emptor

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on December 29, 2007 7:00 AM.

Quitclaiming Property with a Mortgage was the previous entry in this blog.

Power of Attorney for Real Estate Transactions is the next entry in this blog.

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