Yonkers Short Sale: Do You Need an Attorney? YES

J Philip Faranda October 7, 2010

Here’s one from the other side of the closing table, where I represented buyers on a 5-month odyssey to purchase a short sale in Yonkers. It made me appreciate the waiting game that buyers must endure, and how valuable status updates are to home purchasers of a short sale in order to stay engaged and committed to the purchase. Buyers need to be updated to, among other things, time their mortgage application, appraisal, and rate lock.

Note that I did not say anything about ordering title work. Title work in a short sale MUST be ordered by the seller’s attorney in the beginning to ensure there are no 3rd party liens that might scuttle the sale later on. 3rd party judgments and liens are common in default properties because when there is financial hardship, there are other bills than the mortgage that go unpaid.

The home my clients sought to purchase was perfect for them- a recent build on a dead end street with a good location for their commute to work. Things on the seller’s side were not organized from what I could see, until I made substantive contact with the seller’s attorney, who entered negotiations later in the game when a private 3rd party hired to negotiate the short sale was sacked mid-process. I can’t judge their circumstances, only the scenery from our point of view. From contract signing in May until August, everything seemed to be in limbo.

In early August, the seller’s attorney spearheaded negotiations. The short sale was approved in late September with terms the seller could live with. We closed September 29, which was a nice anniversary gift. His communication with me was crucial to my buyer clients’ management of their mortgage financing. When they were ready, we were ready. No delays, no snafus, minimal drama.

This was a unique file in that I had a direct line of communication with the seller’s attorney, which brokers seldom have. Typically, I would deal with a listing agent, but that agent would be the conduit to their attorney. But the bottom line here is that the attorney’s involvement was indispensable, and the communication with our side affected a successful outcome. New York is different from many states where an attorney is not part of the process. But in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, it is clear to me through experience that without an attorney closely involved in the short sale, the closing may not succeed.

(originally posted at New York Short sale Blog)

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