Question: What can I expect from a real estate short-sale as far as deficiency judgments? I am in the process of attempting a short sale, but am worried the bank will allow the short sale, but a judgment will remain that can come back and haunt me years later. I’ve been told that it may come down to me needing to just let it foreclose and go to auction for a better chance of eliminating a deficiency judgment.
Response: When you do a short sale, you can negotiate with the bank to avoid a deficiency judgment. In this economy, most banks agree. However, at the end of the year, you will receive notice from the IRS regarding the debt cancelled. The amount forgiven by the bank (difference between what you owed and what you sold the house for) will be regarded as income and you would have to pay capital gains taxes on that. Speak to your accountant about rules governing the cancelled debt. In 2012, that requirement was waived. I am not sure if it will be extended through 2013 and so on. However, if you do not short sell your home and the bank forecloses, then the bank can come back after you for the deficiency judgment in this case as well. Short sale is more favorable than foreclosure.
In the legal blog, Attorney Svetlana Kaplun addresses typical questions our firm has received from our clients, or come across from homeowners related to foreclosure, foreclosure defense, loan modification and bankruptcy topics.
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