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If you’re faced with either a foreclosure or a short sale situation and aren’t sure what to do, read on. We asked some experts which one is worse.
You might have thought that you became a homeowner the day you closed on your home, but that wasn’t exactly the case. Although your status became ”homeowner” as opposed to, maybe, ” renter ,” you don’t really own the home if you have a mortgage. A more accurate term for what you became that day would be ”home borrower.” This isn’t just being picky about semantics. There’s a reason for the distinction.
If you stop paying your mortgage , the real owner of the home, your mortgage lender, could take it back. This process is a foreclosure .
Another option that may be available to you if you can no longer (or no longer wish to) make your mortgage payments is a short sale . A short sale occurs when you sell your home for less than what you owe. Your lender must be on board with this for it to happen.
So which one is worse: foreclosure or short sale? Here are five considerations.
1. Your Credit Score
Your credit score will take a hit, and a huge hit at that, whether you have a foreclosure or short sale on your credit report. ”They are pretty much equally rotten as far as your credit score is concerned,” says David Reiss , professor of law at Brooklyn Law School.
But just how rotten are foreclosures and short sales to your credit? You can probably count on your score tanking somewhere between 100 and 160 points. And like the saying, ”The bigger they are the harder they fall,” the higher your credit score was before the foreclosure or short sale the larger the drop will be. But the good news is that with either a foreclosure or a short sale, you can start to see your score rise in just a couple of years if you continue to pay all your other bills on time, according to myFICO , the consumer division of FICO .
2. What Future Lenders Think
If you wish to get back into the housing game some day, whether you went through a foreclosure or a short sale matters to many lenders. ”There’s not as much of a stigma involved in selling a house via short sale as there is in losing it in a foreclosure proceeding,” says Rick Sharga, chief marketing officer at Ten-X, an online real estate transaction marketplace. ”A short sale indicated that the borrower was willing to work with the lender, and in fact, an active participant in trying to come up with a solution that worked as well as possible for all parties.”
” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac treat a foreclosure as worse than a short sale when it comes to future lending,” says Reiss. ”Fannie, for instance, won’t buy a mortgage from a lender who lent to someone who has gone through a foreclosure in the past three years in some cases (but as many as seven), but reduces that bar to two years for a short sale.”