A new bill to improve the process for approving short sales may soon bring relief to distressed homeowners who are unable to keep their homes and hope to avoid foreclosure. The bill, recently introduced in the U.S. House and strongly supported by the National Association of REALTORS®, would impose a deadline of 45 days on lenders to respond to short sale requests.The legislation, the “Prompt Decision for Qualification for Short Sale Act of 2011,” was offered in Congress by U.S. Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.).
“The current short sale process can be time-consuming and inefficient, and many would-be buyers end up walking away from a sale that could have saved a homeowner from foreclosure,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I.
“REALTORS® and consumers continue to raise issues about delays in the short sale process, because lenders are unable to decide whether to approve a short sale. After many months of delays, and with no response from lenders, potential buyers are losing patience and cancelling their contracts, often resulting in the property entering foreclosure. A short sale minimizes the negative impact on sellers and generally costs the lender less than a foreclosure,” said Phipps.
NAR has been actively pushing the lending industry to improve the process for approving short sales, which represent about 13% of recent home sales, according to NAR data. Phipps praised Reps. Rooney and Andrews for their efforts on the bill and urged Congress to pass the bill quickly.
“As the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, REALTORS® want to help more homeowners avoid foreclosure by facilitating a short sale when a family is absolutely unable to keep their home; however, that can only happen if lenders and servicers approve short sale offers in a reasonable amount of time,” said Phipps. “Streamlining short sales transactions will reduce the amount of time it takes to sell the property, improve the likelihood that the transaction will close and reduce the overall number of foreclosures. This benefits sellers, lenders, buyers and the entire community.”