How a Short Sale Will Affect Your Ability to Buy Another Home

Many San Diego homeowners have worked hard to preserve good credit. Some come to us with a pristine credit record, yet are saddled with debt – most of which they have incurred in order to keep current on mortgage payments. The conclusion that they need to offer their house as a short sale is a very heavy one to reach for any homeowner. And, for some, the idea of foreclosure seems painless and quick under the circumstances.

The real fact is that a lender will not like seeing either on your credit. AND, the very real fact is that you can recover your credit within 24 – 36 months after the short sale of your house while 60 months is the minimum after a foreclosure.

There are about as many opinions as people writing or speaking on this topic. The real answer is that no one really knows how a short sale will affect your credit scores.

I hear REALTORS® saying without a doubt… a short sale and a foreclosure are completely different. Then, I hear bankers and mortgage brokers saying that default is default… don’t do it. The truth is, both sides of the coin are right. What the mortgage or loan officer fails to realize is that anyone asking that question is very likely without a BETTER alternative.

Only the people at Fair Isaac, the FICO people, really know what each item does to the math on your credit score. And there are many factors that go into the mix. In addition, since each person has a different credit history, the short sale of a home will affect different people in different ways.

Let’s assume that it is you asking the question. You’re paying the bills on time, but paying off the mortgage is not an option for you. Let’s say you are either in default or headed into default OR that you have decided to keep paying the note on the asset that has lost a large chunk of value.

Let’s assume that you are thinking about the credit risk of foreclosure versus a short sale.

We know that a default is a default. And you will probably never get through a short sale UNTIL you are in default. If you are paying the bills, the lender assumes that you must have some means to do so, somewhere.

So, if you want to Buy a Home After a Short Sale…

A foreclosure will remain on your credit report in the public records section for 10 years. In addition, you will need to answer these questions on any loan application:

  • Have you ever had property foreclosed upon or given title or deed in lieu thereof?
  • Have you directly or indirectly been obligated on any loan which resulted in foreclosure, transfer of title in lieu of foreclosure, or judgment?

There is no such question for short sales.

Again, the real fact is that a lender will not like seeing either a short sale or foreclosure on your credit. But the second very real fact is that you can recover your credit with 24 – 36 months after the short sale of a home while 60 months is the minimum after a foreclosure.

If you’re ready to short sell your house, or simply have questions related to short sales, call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com.

We have a track record of 98% success in selling and closing the short sales we list – and we’ve helped hundreds of San Diego homeowners just like you avoid foreclosure and get on with life.

We’ll be happy to explain the process and answer all your questions.


Please note that the information provided on this San Diego short sale page is generic, academic information used for general information purposes and may not be construed as or relied upon as a promise for a specific outcome.

This site provides information about real estate, law, income taxes and credit scores as relates to borrowers in distress, short sales and similar situations. The site is designed to help users safely cope with their own needs. Information is not the same as advice — the application of law or regulations to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer, tax adviser or other specialist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. The models in photographs accompanying the testimonials on this website are used for illustrative purposes and are not a personal endorsement.

Don’t use your Visa to make your San Diego home mortgage payment!

Holding on to your home is an honorable goal, but going deep into credit card debt to do so is a sure path to economic ruin.

Your credit cards will only go so far, and then what? You could lose the house to foreclosure and be left with a huge high-interest unsecured debt.

Don’t wait and let the situation get worse.

If you wait, the financial fallout can be even more dire…

If you are in financial trouble or think you may be headed that way, consider getting out from under that house debt through a short sale. Under California law, the banks that own your home loan or loans cannot come back to you for the deficiency if you sell. If you allow the house to go into foreclosure, your second lien holder can sue you and obtain a deficiency judgment.

Meanwhile, if you’ve run up credit card debt that you can’t or don’t want to pay, the credit card companies can also sue and obtain judgments.

The only way out of those judgments is to pay them or file for bankruptcy.

Once you’ve listed your home as a short sale with an experienced San Diego short sale agent, you can stop making those payments – giving yourself space to breathe and to accumulate some funds.

Experienced is the key word. Don’t list with an agent who lacks the experience and expertise to not only find a buyer but to negotiate with the banks to bring your short sale to a closing. This is the time to enlist the aid of short sale specialist.

The economy is still in an unsettled state, being buffeted by forces neither you nor we can control. So conserve your cash and make decisions that will aid in your long term financial health.

To learn more about San Diego short sales and how a short sale will affect you, call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com for personalized answers to your short sale questions.

We’ve helped hundreds of San Diego homeowners avoid foreclosure and have a track record of 98% success in selling and closing our short sale listings.

Every situation is different, so use this opportunity to get specific answers for your specific situation.

Call today. We’re here to help.


Please note that the information provided on this San Diego short sale page is generic, academic information used for general information purposes and may not be construed as or relied upon as a promise for a specific outcome.

This site provides information about real estate, law, income taxes and credit scores as relates to borrowers in distress, short sales and similar situations. The site is designed to help users safely cope with their own needs. Information is not the same as advice — the application of law or regulations to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer, tax adviser or other specialist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. The models in photographs accompanying the testimonials on this website are used for illustrative purposes and are not a personal endorsement.

Are the Banks Negligent, Indifferent, or Inefficient?

Whatever they are, their actions all too often spell financial loss for San Diego homeowners.

Here are 3 ways that loan servicers and asset managers are keeping some San Diego homeowners in distress.

1. Asset managers routinely delay their response to short sale requests.

Most San Diego home buyers want a “yes or no” answer within a few days of making an offer to purchase, but when they attempt to purchase a home in short sale status, they’re forced to wait. In fact, agents report waiting 6 months or even more just to get a yes or no.

The result: Many homeowners go into foreclosure while a ready, willing and able buyer stands ready to purchase.

The second result: Buyers withdraw their offers when their patience runs out. They made the offer because they wanted a home – so they move on and choose one that’s readily available. We can hardly blame them for that.

Those who are willing to wait for an extended period of time expect a bargain in return for their patience, and we can’t fault them for that, either.

This delay in responding to short sale requests causes many San Diego buyers’ agents to avoid showing short sales. It’s much easier to get an answer after a home becomes a bank-owned foreclosure.

Why do loan servicers delay response? Is it inefficiency, negligence, or indifference?

If banks wanted to protect their investors and help the real estate market rebound, they would make the short sale approval process as fast as possible. And they could. They could, but so far all they do is talk about it.

They could begin the property valuation process just as soon as they get the short sale request. They could also inject some common sense. After handling dozens of foreclosures and short sales in a given area, they should know market values. If homeowners knew the bank’s “bottom line” they wouldn’t waste time considering offers that were sure to be rejected.

* Should you short sale or shouldn’t you? Call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com to get advice from Tom Dunlap – San Diego’s top short sale specialist.

2. Banks routinely reject loan modifications that would prevent foreclosures and preserve neighborhood values.

While a few homeowners have been granted loan modifications, more have been refused. You’ll find no shortage of stories about homeowners who spent months submitting paperwork before being denied. Others have been granted trial modifications and faithfully made payments, then been denied.

And the guidelines are both unclear and conflicting. One representative tells the homeowner they must be in arrears to be considered – another tells them they must not be in arrears.

Many who “do not qualify” are wondering why. One woman I spoke with said “We’ve been managing not to get behind with our payments at $1,700 per month. But the bank says they’re denying our modification because we can’t afford $1,100 per month. Does this make sense?”

The result: Homes in foreclosure that could have been saved and neighborhood values dropping because of the presence of vacant homes.

Is it deliberate negligence, indifference, or inefficiency?

4. Banks that repossess San Diego homes simply don’t get them on the market in a timely fashion, and don’t maintain those homes while they stand vacant. And as we all know, vacant homes or poorly maintained homes bring down neighborhood values even as they erode the value of the house in question.

Is this because they simply have too many homes to deal with? Is it an intentional delay because they don’t want to flood the market with repossessed homes? Or is it because they have failed to develop efficient ways to streamline their processes?

Whatever the reason, entire neighborhoods have been damaged by the banks’ failure to act in a timely manner.

The good news for San Diego homeowners and short sale buyers is that we have developed systems and relationships with loan servicers that get our short sale requests pushed to the “front of the line.”

We can generally get an answer within 60 days or less, and because we know how to present our short sale requests and negotiate with the banks, that answer is usually “yes.” In fact, we have a track record of 98% success in closing our short sales.

No two short sale situations are exactly alike. When you want advice that applies to your specific situation, call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com to request a no-obligation consultation.

And if you already know you want to short sell your home in Carlsbad, Coronado, La Jolla, Rancho Bernardo, North County, Del Mar, Mission Hills, Kensington, Metro San Diego, or downtown San Diego, or if you’d like to purchase a short sale, get in touch.

We’ll be glad to explain the short sale process, tell you what you can expect as a buyer or as a seller, and show you why we get good results while so many who attempt short sales fail.

We look forward to talking with you… so get in touch and we’ll set a time to get together.


Please note that the information provided on this San Diego short sale page is generic, academic information used for general information purposes and may not be construed as or relied upon as a promise for a specific outcome.

This site provides information about real estate, law, income taxes and credit scores as relates to borrowers in distress, short sales and similar situations. The site is designed to help users safely cope with their own needs. Information is not the same as advice — the application of law or regulations to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer, tax adviser or other specialist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. The models in photographs accompanying the testimonials on this website are used for illustrative purposes and are not a personal endorsement.

What Are The Alternatives to Foreclosure?

What can I do if I want to avoid foreclosure?

Walking away and letting a home go into foreclosure will destroy your credit rating for many years – and even longer if you get stuck in a zombie foreclosure. Let’s take a look at the other options for San Diego homeowners:

  1. Sign a deed-in lieu of foreclosure.
  2. Work with the lenders for a loan modification
  3. If you have an FHA loan and are unemployed, apply for forbearance
  4. Offer your home as a short sale

A Deed-in-lieu – This is a document that essentially hands your San Diego house back to the bank without going through the foreclosure process. Your bank may or may not allow you to do it, but even if they do, it’s not a good move. The effect on your credit rating will be the same as a foreclosure. Worse, if you have a non-purchase money second mortgage, the bank can come back on you for a deficiency.

Loan Modifications:
Although highly touted as the answer to the mortgage crisis, in reality few have been helped and many have been harmed.

In theory, the lender would alter your interest rate and lower your payments for a set time, allowing you some “breathing room” in which to get your financial life back in order.

In practice, thousands of homeowners have been “strung along” for months, only to be rejected – even after complying with all the terms during a trial period.

That doesn’t mean you might not be successful, and we on the San Diego Pro Team will be happy to explain the process to you and help you determine whether the bank would consider your application for modification. We have the same software the banks use, and we’ll give you the results instantly.

Forbearance: This is a wonderful tool for anyone who has an FHA loan and is unemployed. The bank simply suspends your obligation to make payments for a year. The unpaid interest is tacked on to the end of the loan.

During the forbearance period you are free to market the house for sale – without the threat of an impending foreclosure. This is true whether you have equity or need to short sale your house.

A Short Sale: Although the current market value of the house is less than the balance due on the mortgage or mortgages, the bank approves the sale and accepts the proceeds as payment in full.

Here in California the first mortgage and any secondary liens are wiped out by a short sale. After foreclosure, your secondary lien holders can obtain a judgment against you for their unpaid balance.

The short sale of a home does require extensive negotiation with the bank’s asset manager, who might be more inclined to force the homeowner into foreclosure. That’s why homeowners need an experienced agent at their side. We of the Tom Dunlap Team have the experience – and an enviable record of success in getting our short sale listings sold and closed.

Note that in a San Diego short sale, all costs of selling, agent fees, unpaid taxes, etc. are paid by the lender from the proceeds of the sale. When you short sale a San Diego home, you pay no costs beyond the expense of keeping the house ready to show to potential buyers.

What are the Odds of Success on a San Diego Short Sale?

When you have the right assistance, the odds are very good.

The successful short sale of a home begins with knowing each lender’s preferences and how to present the short sale package so that it gets timely and favorable attention. Then, it depends upon negotiating skill and persistence.

Tom Dunlap  is San Diego’s leading short sales specialist. He has negotiated thousands of real estate transactions and has a 98% success rate when negotiating with lenders on a short sale.

It’s no wonder – he not only has more than 25 years of experience in helping San Diego homeowners, he’s also an attorney and holds a Master’s Degree in Negotiation.

If you have questions about loan modifications, forbearance applications, or short sales – or if you’d just like to discuss the San Diego real estate market – please get in touch.

Call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com.


Please note that the information provided on this San Diego short sale page is generic, academic information used for general information purposes and may not be construed as or relied upon as a promise for a specific outcome.

This site provides information about real estate, law, income taxes and credit scores as relates to borrowers in distress, short sales and similar situations. The site is designed to help users safely cope with their own needs. Information is not the same as advice — the application of law or regulations to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer, tax adviser or other specialist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. The models in photographs accompanying the testimonials on this website are used for illustrative purposes and are not a personal endorsement.

Is it possible to just walk away?

Yes, it is possible to walk away. Under California’s new laws, when you go through foreclosure, the banks cannot sue you for a deficiency on your first mortgage. However, if you have a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit, they can. And they probably will.

(One of the benefits of a short sale vs a foreclosure is that when you choose to short sale your San Diego house, none of your mortgage lien holders can sue for deficiency.)

However, even if you don’t have a second mortgage, walking away and allowing your house to go into foreclosure is one of the worst possible choices you could make. It should not be done without careful consideration.

The pitfalls of a San Diego foreclosure…

Foreclosure will severely impact your credit rating for many years to come. This will not just impair your ability to purchase another home, it will affect your ability to rent, to get a job or a promotion, and even to order cellular telephone service or cable television.

In addition, if you’re in a “sensitive” job, it could cause termination.

As for your ability to purchase another home – mortgage loan applications used to ask if you had a foreclosure in the past several years. Now they ask if you have EVER had a foreclosure. If the answer is yes, you’ll have to supply even more information and may well be turned down for that loan.

A further danger is that you could be trapped in a Zombie foreclosure. Should this happen, bills on your foreclosed house will keep mounting, and you could remain liable for several years. Learn more about Zombie foreclosures.

If you do choose to walk away, do NOT pay anyone to help you. Just call the lender and let them know.

If you’d like to discuss your other options, such as a San Diego short sale, a strategic default, or even a loan modification, do call call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

What about the new “Walk away” program from Fannie Mae?

The new program is essentially a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. The only thing new is that Fannie now says they’ll approve the process for homeowners who are not delinquent on payments.

The impact on your credit is still the same as a foreclosure, and it’s still a poor idea for California homeowners. Here’s why.

If you have specific questions you’d like answered, call 619-929-1413 or write td@tomdunlap.com. We’ll be glad to share the benefit of our experience in closing hundreds of San Diego short sales.


Please note that the information provided on this San Diego short sale page is generic, academic information used for general information purposes and may not be construed as or relied upon as a promise for a specific outcome.

This site provides information about real estate, law, income taxes and credit scores as relates to borrowers in distress, short sales and similar situations. The site is designed to help users safely cope with their own needs. Information is not the same as advice — the application of law or regulations to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer, tax adviser or other specialist if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. The models in photographs accompanying the testimonials on this website are used for illustrative purposes and are not a personal endorsement.