I recently listed a Short Sale condo for sale in Destin Florida. The property had been converted from apartments a few years ago. It is a one bedroom, 920 square foot ground floor unit. There are 32 units for sale in the complex. The condo fees are a whopping $225 per month. The last and only recent sale was for $115,000 back in June. My seller, whom I’ll call “Ms. Samuel”, paid about $170,000 for the property in December 2005. We put it on the market for $98,900. You can see the challenges in selling it.
Anyway, while I was at the seller’s home taking photos, we chatted about her financial circumstance. Her lender is Countrywide. She said when she bought the unit, she was making $13,000 per year in income. How is that possible? How can anyone making $13,000 qualify for a purchase of a $170,000 unit, even with a substantial downpayment? Ms. Samuel told me she never got a truth-in-lending statement until the closing, and did not even know how much money she would need to bring until she was at the closing table. This Destin seller also said her mortgage broker never explained what type of loan she was getting. She didn’t care about that anymore. She just wants out. She lost one of the two jobs she had, and her current position, in the resort rental industry, has cut her hours by 25%. She hasn’t made a mortgage payment in three months.
As I always recommend to my sellers, I asked Ms. Samuel if she tried speaking with Countrywide to find a solution to her high mortgage payment. “Yes,” she said, “I track everything. I’ve called them 17 times. 17 times! I could not get anywhere. I even tried calling Bank of America, since they purchased Countrywide. I am done with it!” She said she knew her options were short sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or foreclosure. I told her that a short sale would be better on her credit in terms of repurchasing another home more quickly than the other options. Ms. Samuel said, “CREDIT? I don’t care about my credit. I’m not buying anything again anytime soon. I just want OUT.”