Can You Short Sale an Investment Property?


Just an update to an earlier post. . . .she finally called me. . . . a little too late!

"She lost her investment property to a foreclosure"

It all began like this. . . .

“I’ve screwed up BIG TIME”

She told me on the phone.

“Why?” I asked. .

I broke my own rules on an investment purchase. A mistake that is sucking me dry, I’m on my way for the worst real estate loss  I’ve ever experienced, EVER!

“Calm down. .maybe there is something we can do . . tell me how can I help you?. .all I could say. .

When I purchased a condo in this building four years ago . .it seemed to be the best investment I could do. The renter paid my mortgage for the first two years and then. . it slowly started a negative cash flow. . I’m currently nearly $700 negative cash flow every month!

As investors quickly finding out, the investment properties purchased a few years ago as a way to grow a retirement fund. .has become a nightmare.

Normally an investor uses sophisticated real estate investment strategies, formulas and criteria that they believe will work best for then in the short and long term.

They got caught. I know of many people that have 3, 5 even  6 properties in their portfolio and they are underwater . . in ALL OF THEM!

 One of my rules as a Realtor/Investor has always been to avoid purchasing a home if they will give me a negative equity flow. . .unless they are superbly located for maximum  equity growth.

When you take away the only reason why you should have purchased an investment property at first place  . you are left holding a cement block while swimming. . you may last  a few months but eventually, after you exhaust your credit and your 401 K. . . .You will sink to the bottom.

Before, you did not really mind paying a few hundred dollars per month to the bank . when your investment property was capable to gain $30K, $50K, even $70K in one single year!

Today is different . . .

You are in new and uncharted waters, a situation which we often refer to as being “upside down”, whereas you as an investor can’t sell the home for enough to walk away free and clear. . . while your renter is sucking your blood dry.

Forget about profit. . you just want to break even !

If you don’t have money to bring to the closing table, you are in a bad situation.

When you consider the flimsy outlook for real estate growth in our Maryland region for the next ten years . . . 3 to 5% per year.. if we hit bottom already.

Let’s say you have 4 investment properties underwater and $200,000 underwater total.. .

You may still have a little money to last you maybe a few more months. .

You can elect to stick it out and hope for another boom in real estate. .

Yeah  right.., . Don’t hold your breath

Kiplinger.com estimates a small rise in home prices this year and next but flat sales in general for the next 36 months.

Can you last 3 more years of negative equity?

What after that. .

Long term outlook is not any better.. .3 to 5% yearly gain . .and if we have a smooth road ahead.

Not good.. if you have negative cash flow every month.

It could be year 2020 before you break even.

Going back to my investor friend at the start of this post. .

When it gets to a point where she could not/or elect not to continue to pour more money into a seemingly investment gone bad, I advice her to start looking at “other” possible solutions.

If she was about to let it go into foreclosure, unable to make her payments anymore. .while the tenants are calling her almost everyday to fix never ending problems/  . .

She is definetely in a nightmare!

I asked her if she had discussed a possible “short sale” with the lender?

She told me she considered but knew of the tax consequences of a 1099 for the amount forgiving by the bank. . she had to pay taxes on it and she didn’t want to do that.

I asked her then. .

“How much would you have to pay when/if the bank seeks a deficiency judgment against you?

Over a hundred thousands dollars. . I quickly volunteered

You are telling me that you want to avoid paying the IRS a few thousand dollars in taxes over having a foreclosure on your records and a possible deficiency judgment?

She was quiet for a moment and I broke the silence. Call me if you want me to go over some details about this option..

She told me she would. . and she left.

I don’t want to call her.

It’s her decision to make. . I will be there for her if she calls me . .

So far she still makes those extra payments to the banks. . And I recently learned she is also underwater on her own home.

I refuse to call her.

When she needs my help, I know she will come. (big mistake.. I should've given her a call to follow up. . .them again, sometimes people are funny on thier ways)

When it gets to a point where you cannot, or elect not to continue to pour more money into a seemingly investment gone bad . ..

A short sale could be a sensible solution. .

All depends in your current situation, not everyone qualifies for a short sale.

To read more about short sales in Maryland, DC and Virginia. . check my eBook

“Is A Short Sale An Option For Me? 

Fernando is available for consultation if your property is in MD, DC or VA. . 240-426-5754