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Not all short sales are completely "free". While closing costs are generally covered by the lender, sometimes and lately more often, the lender will in fact ask the seller to contribute to the short sale in the form of cash or a promissory note in order to approve the short sale.
You may in fact agree to just pay the cash or sign up for the note to move things along, but there are a few ways that are often successful in minimizing or eliminating the request altogether:
- Just say no - but write a letter to the investor, describing your hardship and inability to pay the note or cash. You would be surprised how often this simply strategy will completely eliminate the request altogether. This is usually my first recommended line of defense against a cash or note request.
- Counter the request with a lesser amount. ALMOST EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE. For example, if asked for $10,000 offer $500 and see what happens. More often than not, the lender will accept, or at least come down. Be prepared for another counter.
- Counter the request with an alternate payment method. If cash is tight, you may offer a note instead cash, but be prepared that notes are less favorable to investors than cash and therefore you will likely end up paying more this way. Cash is king. You may significantly reduce the face value of the contribution by offering a lesser cash amount if asked for a note.
Once in a blue moon, a lender will not budge at all on a contribution. In these cases it is best to consider your settlement options. All in all, requests for contributions are generally pennies on the dollar versus the amount of the whole debt and are sometimes your best option going forward, especially in a deficiency state like CT.