It seems in the news there has been a lot of talk of foreclosures and how torturous the short sale process is. To avoid losing homes to foreclosure due to long response times for short sale transactions, three senators introduced legislation to speed up the short sale process.
Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) proposed the bill addressing the issue of short sales timelines on February 17. A short sale is a real estate transaction where the homeowner sells the property for less than the unpaid balance with the lender’s approval.
The legislation, also known as the Prompt Notification of Short Sale Act, will require a written response from a lender no later than 75 days after receipt of the written request from the buyer.
The lender’s response to the buyer must specify acceptance, rejection, a counter offer, need for extension, and an estimation for when a decision will be reached. The servicerwill be limited to one extension of no more than 21 days.
The bill will also allow the buyer to be awarded $1000, plus “reasonable” attorney fees if the Act is violated.
According to a release from Short Sale New England
- short sale homes do not bring down neighboring home values like foreclosed homes do
- 83 percent of short sale buyers are satisfied with their purchase, according to a 2012 Home Ownership Satisfaction Survey conducted by HomeGain.
When agents in the survey were asked to how the short sale process can be improved:
- 57.6 percent said lenders should take less time to close transactions
- 14 percent said borrowers should be better educated about short sales
- 40.4 percent said both of these changes are necessary to improve the process.
In April 2011, a similar bill was introduced by Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Florida) and Robert Andrews (D-New Jersey), but this version requested a response deadline of 45 days instead of 75 from lenders. The legislation never came up for debate before a House committee.
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