The threat of foreclosure can strike fear into a homeowner’s heart. A foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven to 10 years and prevents you from being approved for new credit or loans and may even affect your ability to find rental housing. If you’ve been unsuccessful at negotiating your mortgage and still find yourself facing foreclosure, your local real estate agent may be able to help. Here’s how:
Find An Experienced Agent
When foreclosure is looming, selling your house may be your best option. A real estate agent who’s been in the field for a while has likely helped homeowners in this situation before. Don’t go it alone when the mortgage clock is ticking. Find a seasoned agent who knows the market and knows how to move houses quickly and for a good price. Ask how many foreclosing homes he’s handled before.
Position To Sell
A real estate agent can help you position your house to sell. With their experience, they can recommend repairs and improvements as well as staging ideas for making your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. They can also tap into their existing–and usually broad–network of connections. In fact, they may already have a buyer in the wings who is looking for a house just like yours. Additionally, agents can get your house listed in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) database, which will push your house to national real estate listing websites, such as Zillow, Trulia, and RealEstate.com. A real estate agent can be aggressively marketing your house while you prepare to move and try to keep the other areas of your life functioning as normally as possible.
An agent usually has connections with mortgage brokers as well, which can prove invaluable when it comes to getting a buyer approved for a loan. He/she could get a house closing to proceed more quickly
Consider a Short Sale
If time is running out and you haven’t been able to find buyers who will buy your house at a profit, your real estate agent can help you negotiate a short sale. This involves getting your bank’s approval to accept a price that is less than the balance of your mortgage. Generally, you need a solid offer from a buyer before your lender will even consider allowing a short sale. Your agent will have a better idea of what terms a lender might accept and will know how to push the sale through to completion. Use a short sale as a last resort, but remember that it gives you the option of escaping from your mortgage with a bit more financial dignity. A short sale is less damaging to your credit than a foreclosure. You may be eligible to buy another house within two years versus the seven that you would need to wait if you had a foreclosure.
Enlisting a real estate agent to help you avoid a foreclosure will help you save face and reap long-term benefits–for your credit report, your immediate housing options, and your future buying and credit needs.