There are many homes that are “underwater” in the local Sherman Oaks, Studio city home market. Underwater meaning that the owner of the house owes more than the house is currently worth for sale with a Real Estate Agent. Essentially, there are 3 different solutions for this situation.
1)stay in the house, continue making payments at the rate based on the overvalued loan hoping that at some point market appreciation will catch up
2)Negotiate a Loan Modification with your bank reducing the interest rate and payment terms to an amount that is palatable for you
3) Sell the house as a short sale and work towards getting back in the housing market in the 3 years required to rehabilitate your credit score.
Each method has distinct advantages and disadvantages. It is a very personal decision that unfortunately many people in the Sherman Oaks/Studio City and surrounding area are having to make today.
While many homeowners can gain a basic understanding of the dynamics of each option it is highly advisable for most homeowners to have someone consult with them negotiating either of the latter 2 options. Blair Thompson works together with a team of skilled experts to guide his clients thru this maze of decision making.
In most cases the Loan Modification is the preferred method in the Sherman Oaks area. Unfortunately, few of these actually work out to be advantageous for the homeowners. And it is even fewer that actually get principal reduction in the process which is what a homeowner actually wants.
That leaves the option of doing nothing. While this keeps a roof over the homeowners head, in the big picture it is not a wise financial decision. Many homes have lost 30-35% in value over the past few years. That situation would require 10-15 years of “normal” appreciation just for a break even gain from the current value of their home. This is unfortunately a no win situation but many people are just not looking at the reality of the situation.
And then there is the Short Sale Option. While this option has a negative stigma to it, if a homeowner comes to the unfortunate conclusion that owning their home is no longer a viable financial option, this is a much more responsible path out of a bad situation than Foreclosure, a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or other possible options. Banks are routinely approving loans in as little as 3 years for those homeowners who undertook a responsible and measured short sale.
I have worked with numerous people in Sherman Oaks, Studio City and the surrounding areas to buy a home after they listed and sold their house as Short Sales. The bottom line, don’t try this yourself. There are subtle factors in each method that you need to be aware so not to get yourself in a deep, uncorrectable hole either owning a “deficiency judgement”‘ a tax liabitlity for any “forgiven” debt or even criminal penalties for making statements that one may in good faith beleive but are not true. Be sure to get appropriate accounting, tax, legal, and real estate advice from qualified professionals before you get committed to either path.
–an important point– under very few circumstances can anyone charge an “up front” fee for assitance in any of these cases.
—Another important point – There are many scams asking a homeowner to sign away the deed to thier home in order to manipulate the laws. If it smells like a scam, it probably is.