Short sale by the numbers

It is finished. Thanks be to God.

The contracts have been inked, the checks exchanged. We have been released from ownership our Round Lake, IL townhome. We were underwater on the property, and after lots of anguish and consulting with all sorts of professionals (and a bunch of amateurs, who each had opinions to share with us), we decided to try listing the house as a short sale. Our realtor and lawyer both warned us that there were absolutely no guarantees that our bank would approve a short sale. We also knew that once we launched into this process, we’d have prepare for what may well have been a journey toward foreclosure and legal issues that might well have dogged us for many years.

For those curious about how the short sale process happened for us, I’ll summarize our experience with some numbers. If you’re considering making a move like this, your experience will, of course, differ. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

193,000 – Our June, 2006 purchase price.

101,000 – What Zillow said our house was worth in June, 2011.

85,000 – The best offer we received on the property 9 months later.

45,000-ish – What we would have had to pay to satisfy our original mortgage obligation.

3,000 – What the bank asked us to bring to closing to settle our account.

250-ish – Number of pages of documentation I had to fax to our lender to support our case.

6 – Number of months from listing to closing. We’d heard lots of nightmare stories about the process going on for years. 6 months was about as good as it gets for these sorts of transactions.

5 – Number of Realtors I interviewed as we weighed our options last summer and fall. The one we selected was tenacious, professional and caring; a perfect combination for a process like this.

3 – Number of years we’ve been trying to figure out how to sell the house.

2 – Number of people who will be living in the house. We really didn’t want to leave another abandoned house in the neighborhood if the bank declined our short sale request and we had to move toward foreclosure proceedings. Knowing that someone will be moving into the place this week is another answered prayer.

1 – Number of financial advisers with whom we met in order to prep for the process and plan for our future. If you’re thinking of tackling a short sale, I would highly recommend finding an experienced, conservative financial pro like this guy to help you assess the pros and cons of a short sale or foreclosure on your credit, your savings and your future.

1 – Number of lawyers with whom we met to prep before we launched into the process (worth the consultation fee) and then shepherd our case as it worked its way to the conference table today. We’d once attended church with our lawyer, and knew he was both experienced and faith-filled.

1 – Number of houses at which our buyers looked before making an offer on ours. The price was certainly a consideration, but it was nice to hear from them today that they loved how we’d decorated and cared for the place. Those words meant something to me this afternoon.

0 – Though we lost all we’d invested in the property, we are now free and clear of our mortgage obligation. And we can step into whatever God has next for us.

It hasn’t been easy, but we have not been alone in this. God provided the people we needed, a beautiful mix of people who prayed with and for us (and a few who helped us move last week), and gently reshaped our priorities and goals in the process. I really can’t think of anything more to say say than to say, once again from an overflowing heart…

…thanks be to God.





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6 thoughts on “Short sale by the numbers”

  1. When you feel you’re drowning in life’s situations, take heart, your lifeguard walks on water! Prayers continue to ascend.

  2. We too, in a little deeper water considering the planned development is on hold. I guess we’re going to be here for awhile. Although the end of seminary is in sight, I can’t envision us leaving anytime soon. When I drive through our town or walk through the neighborhood, think “this is a good place” and wonder how the Lord wants me to invest in life here.
    I’m glad your short sale went through for you and that you breathe again. Thank God he’s sovereign over the economy and loves us….

  3. I imagine you feel like a giant boulder has been lifted from your shoulders. Some commentator over the weekend said our society is rapidly moving into the understanding that a house no longer is an investment but rather an expense. It underscores the realization that nothing here on earth is permanent and why there are no luggage racks on hearses.

  4. So glad you’re settled in a place you enjoy now that this dilemma and long process are behind you.

  5. Michelle, thank you for sharing this experience with us. The way you handled this, as frustrating as it must have been, is such a wonderful example for me to follow.


    P.S. Thanks for being the first to comment on my piece at Jenny Rae Armstrong’s website yesterday. That was a lovely bit of encouragement!

  6. Thank you for your words of encouragement, all! I had 8 days to unpack and settle before I hit the road again to care for my sister-in-law after her surgery. I am just getting to read these comments now. You each blessed me.

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