Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ask Erin: Can I do a short sale on my rental home?

Can I do a short sale on my rental home? I get asked this question all the time by folks who own investment properties, and contrary to what many people think - the answer is yes, you can do a short sale on an investment property (aka, non-primary residence, rental homes, rental duplexes, etc). Oh really, you ask in disbelief? Yes really. I have closed several short sales under these circumstances....and I have several of them underway right now.

Do the dynamics of these short sales change at all? A little. Mainly because occasionally tenants occupy these homes and we have to delicately deal with showings, the existing lease agreement terms, and a few other things. Or if the house is vacant, we may want to strategize the best way to keep the house secure and free from vandalism or burglary.

In terms of how a short sale lender or bank looks at these short sales, again they are still looking at potential seller hardship, loss of market value of the property, and the lender's total losses. Short sale sellers of investment property should ask themselves:
  • Is the monthly rent covering the costs of the mortgage payment, in addition to other monthly operating expenses (like certain utilities, property taxes, maintenance, etc)?
  • How big is my deficit every month, given the best case scenario of 100% occupancy? In other words, how much money am I loosing each month given the fact my tenants always pay their rent on time, and the house is always rented)?
  • Has the property been vandalized by the current or former tenants? Is it 'rentable' in its current condition?
  • Have you been unable to rent the house due to high area vacancy rates or other neighborhood factors?
  • Were you an "accidental landlord?" In other words, for example did two people who owned homes individually get married, causing you to need to rent one of the homes in order to live together? Or perhaps did you inherit the home? Did you purchase the home for your college-age kids to live in, and now they have graduated and moved out? Did you co-sign for someone who now can not pay the mortgage?
  • Did you suffer some other loss of income (loss of employment, pay reduction, etc.) and now have to choose between keeping your current, primary residence and letting your rental property go?
There are many reasons to short sale investment or rental property. If you are contemplating a short sale for your Sacramento area investment or rental property, I welcome your call to see if we are a fit to work together.

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