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RISMEDIA, January 28, 2009-Today, as millions of homeowners struggle with what to do when the value of their property becomes less than the mortgage they owe-particularly those recently unemployed or unable to make their monthly payments-there is a growing need for clear, unbiased consumer protection information on these vital topics.

Meeting this need head-on, the Top 5 in Real Estate Network® released ” The Four R’s of Short Sales…and More: The Transparent Approach to a Real Estate-Related Crisis.” This very timely resource provides a 360 degree view of the current issues facing so many homeowners and offers insights to help consumers best work with their lenders and attorneys to address their own unique circumstances.

Indeed, this new publication, which will be distributed across the United States and Canada by real estate agents in the Top 5 in Real Estate Network, urges concerned homeowners “to meticulously evaluate all of their options before making a decision; especially a decision that may have both short- and long-range consequences.”

One financial arrangement that has become increasingly common in the marketplace – the “short sale” – is an agreement by a lender (or lenders) to accept the sale of a property in which there is a shortage of funds necessary to pay off the outstanding loan balance along with a number of the lender-stipulated criteria being met.

“We recommend that homeowners consider all options when seeking a resolution to mortgage-related financial challenges. The short sale is just one possible outcome that homeowners should evaluate when facing a distressed mortgage situation,” said Allan Dalton, president, Top 5 in Real Estate Network.

It is vital for homeowners to not only seek the advice of a trusted pre-foreclosure professional, but to also be wary of “Preforeclosure Predators,” according to Dalton.

“At all costs, homeowners must ensure that they are not exploited or manipulated during this most vulnerable period of homeownership. Regrettably, the burgeoning short sale marketplace is attracting hordes of unscrupulous individuals who are seizing any and all opportunities to prey upon beleaguered and unsuspecting homeowners who are not aware of the range of options available to them when experiencing the growing challenge of “upside-down homeownership.”

“It is imperative that any homeowner seeking to determine if a short sale is in their best interest, be able to distinguish between their own interests and the interests of lenders, buyers, investors, and real estate-related professionals, and how these different interests may influence their decision,” said Dalton. “To help with that, we have compiled a series of questions that can serve as an important precursor for homeowners to discuss with their attorneys prior to their pre-foreclosure decision.”

For Your Clients – Top 10 Questions to Talk Over with Your Attorney

When a homeowner finds themselves in a situation that might result best in a short sale, it’s important for them to understand their options as a homeowner when their property is in or heading toward default. They should be asking:

1. What is a better or more likely outcome for me and why?

  • – A short sale or a repayment plan?
    – A short sale or a forbearance plan?
    – A short sale or a loan modification?
    – In the case of an FHA loan, a short sale or a partial claim?
    – A short sale or a short sale/assumption agreement?
    – A short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure?
    – A short sale or a bankruptcy?

2. How do I know if my property and I may be considered for a short sale?
3. How would I initiate the short sale process?

4. Which process has a more adverse effect on my credit rating: short sale, foreclosure, bankruptcy, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure?
5. What types of hardships would a lender generally consider favorable toward my appeal for short sale consideration?
6. On average, how long does a short sale process take?
7. What are the tax implications of a short sale?
8. If a lender agrees to the short sale option on my property, can the bank still proceed with a foreclosure?
9. Is there a real estate commission paid in a short sale? If so, who pays it?
10. When is a bankruptcy preferable to a short sale or to a foreclosure?

For more information about Short Sales and RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network ® , please visit www.top5inrealestate.com or contact Member Services at 203-853-2167 ext. 139.

RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate Network® is a membership network of leading real estate professionals providing leading real estate information to consumers. To qualify for membership in the Top 5 in Real Estate Network, agents must meet specific criteria in five key categories: experience; results; education; information technology; and commitment to community. RISMedia, the leader in real estate information systems, has been providing the industry with news, trends and business development strategies for nearly 30 years through its flagship publication, Real Estate magazine, its leading website, RISMedia.com, and its renowned networking and educational events.

To see if you qualify to join RISMedia’s Top 5 in Real Estate, click here.

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