You Should ALWAYS Have a Lawyer Handle Your Short Sell!
As a real estate lawyer specializing in short sales I run into problems everyday from people who only had a real estate agent help them with a short sale. Real estate agents sell real estate and lawyers give legal advice and the 2 rarely mix. The legal aspects of a short sale are much more important than the real estate aspects of a short sale. Some bad legal advice can have serious financial consequences. Questions I hear every day are;
- Can the bank sue me?
- Can they garnish my paycheck?
- What about my retirement accounts?
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: you should always START the process with a legal consultation!
When homeowners have had enough frustration and finally make the decision to do a short sell the first thing they think of is talking to a real estate agent. Although talking to a real estate agent may seem like the most logical move to make, in actuality contacting a lawyer is the most important first step. This is because in a short sale most of the really important issues the sellers face are legal in nature.
Contacting a lawyer is the best decision when trying to short sell a house because real estate agents are not licensed to dispense ANY legal advice and when they do its usually bad legal advice. I have had some clients come talk to me about problems they are facing after a short sale in which they did not have a lawyer advising them. It shocks me when I hear them say that their real estate agent did not even mention that they should have legal advice along the way. They tell me that the agent answered all the “legal” questions. My advice is Do NOT TALK TO A REAL ESTATE AGENT when facing an upside down mortgage.
Ask The Right Question to the Right Party
Real estate laws are constantly changing and as a lawyer specializing in this area I am always staying on top of these changes. This can be paramount when dealing with banks that have the best legal teams on their sides.
Another reason to contact a lawyer verses a real estate agent is because a bank may not release the seller from personal liability. You must have someone on your team who knows California law. I quite often have to “remind” the banks why they can’t do what they want when it’s contrary to California law.
California has the best consumer protection laws in the country but you must have someone on your team that understands those complex laws and makes the banks follow them. That is what I do on a daily basis.
Another reason to have a knowledgeable lawyer such as myself on your team is to fully analyze whether you even qualify for a short sale. Hardships are not easy to define and vary with each individual’s situation. A lawyer well versed in short sales can determine if your hardship qualifies for a short sale. A bank will see a short sale without hardship and will often ask for a seller contribution. This leads to all kinds of problems and as they say “you can’t un-ring the bell”. If you don’t qualify for the short sale you might have other options but only a savvy attorney will know what path you might be able to take.
Quite often I’m called to help on a short sale that failed because the agent did not determine if the homeowners qualified for a short sale before starting the process. This can have very serious negative consequences and is absolutely something that should be discussed FIRST.
The above reasons are why you should ALWAYS contact a lawyer for a short sale. And not just any lawyer. Some lawyers charge hourly to assist realtors and others charge a flat fee. I charge you NOTHING when I handle your short sale. In addition to being a licensed attorney I’m also a licensed real estate broker so I can handle your short sale, give you competent legal advice along the way, make sure the bank follows the law and it costs you NOTHING. You might even get some incentive money at the close of escrow. The bank and the buyers pay all the costs and you pay nothing.
If you have any questions or concerns about your own personal situation I would be happy to give you a FREE legal consultation. You can call me at 877.442.4577 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my website www.upsidedownca.com.
California Attorney and
licensed Real Estate Broker