Although Oklahoma weathered the nationwide slump in home values much better than other states, we have finally succumbed to declining prices. That equity that you thought you had in your home may seem like it has vanished after your home has sat on the market for months without an offer close to your asking price. What's even worse is finding out that the grand home-ownership investment that you made a few short years ago has turned out to be a losing venture and you're actually upside down or owe more than your home is now worth.
You may have heard about or come across the idea of a short sale and believe that this is the answer. With a short sale, the lender agrees to allow you to sell your home for less than it is worth so that they avoid the costly endeavor of foreclosing on your home. There are some things to keep in mind with a short sale though.
A short sale can substantially reduce the amount of time you can live in your home. With a short sale, once your house is sold you need to move out so the new owners can move in. On the other hand, if you decide to let your lender foreclose you can't be evicted until your home has been auctioned. This can sometimes be many months after you stop paying your mortgage payment. This gives you time to set aside payments that would otherwise be going to the lender and give you a financial cushion once you have to move somewhere else. Even after the auction, you may be able to negotiate "cash for keys" and get paid to move out. Remember a short sale can result in income taxes owed for the difference between the price the house was sold for and the amount that you owed on the house.
In Oklahoma, while it is not guaranteed, most lenders do not go after borrowers for the deficiency, if any, once a property has been foreclosed on.