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Top 11 short sales tips

1.) Be realistic with yourself. Swallow your pride and admit to yourself that your home may not be worth what you think you can sell it for then take the steps necessary to do a Short Sale.

2.) Find a GREAT Realtor who is knowledgeable about short sales and list your home on the market right away!   Most banks will not allow a short sale if you are trying to sell “By Owner”.  You need to have evidence that you have attempted to sell your home for a fair price which can only be reflected in fact through the MLS system.  Selling By Owner does not change anything for you financially when doing a short sale.

3.) Get Aggressive with your pricing strategy!  We recommend that you drop your home’s price weekly to bi-weekly to attract potential buyers.  Work with your realtor on this and do not be afraid to go with their advice. Selling your home as a short sale is not the same as a Market rate.

4.) Contact your bank to inform them that you are attempting to short sale your property.  Ask them to send you all initial paperwork so that you can get started and be ahead of the game.

5.) Find a GREAT attorney who can represent you and your situation to your lender. This is another key to having a successful short sale.  The attorney will configure a settlement statement for you bank and will negotiate with them when it is going to really count.  I cannot stress the importance of involving an attorney when attempting to short sale your property. The nexperienced short sale realtor will be able to help with this.

6.) Gather necessary documents (current bank statements, paystubs, tax returns, W-2’s or unemployment stubs).  Keep these handy for the time when an offer gets submitted on your property.

7.) Write a detailed hardship letter.  Keep it to 1 page or less and explain your need for a short sale to your lender.  Include your loan number and make sure to sign and date the letter.

8.) Offer comes in on your property!!! Submit offer to your attorney and ask them to prepare a settlement statement (also known as a HUD) for you.

9.) Send all necessary paperwork to your lender and make sure your follow-up with them on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.  This will push your sale along and they will let you know if anything is missing.  Most of the time you will have to fax your information to your lender to initiate the short sale process.  Sometimes this can be done before an offer comes in.  You need to make sure to ask about this when you call in at step #4. 

10.) PATIENCE.  Patience is a must when completing a short sale transaction.  Both parties must be aware that banks are “swamped” with short sale offers.  Your continual call will bring your sale to their attention.  Make sure you do not call more than once a week.  You may become bothersome to your bank and have a reverse effect where they do not want to help you.   This is a very fine line.  Also, make sure that the buyer’s agent is updated with a status so that they are aware that progress is being made in the right direction.

11.) Decision Time...APPROVAL, DENIAL, or COUNTER will come from your lender.  This is where your attorney will step in and work out the final details and negotiation with your lender.  If your sale is approved, your attorney’s office will schedule the closing and make sure the sale is final and you are free and clear!!!


The short sale process can be a very complex financial issue and it is very important to choose a Realtor who has experience and gives you the best chance for success. Ted Guarnero has been in the real estate business for over 20 years and has guided many clients through the terms of short sale deals. Contact Ted at (312) 810-6693 for questions and short sale listings around Downtown Chicago.

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