STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark.  Thanks for watching my video blog this week.  Well, this is the second in my series on short sales, and I’ve brought in Jeff Zweifel of his own law firm to talk to us about short sales.  Welcome, Jeff.

JEFF:  Thank you, Steve.

STEVE:  Well, many times I get involved and I talk with clients and find out that they are somebody that would fit into the short sale situation.  And this is where I bring you in, Jeff.  Jeff, what do you do when you’re meeting with a person for the first time and I’ve sent them over to you to talk to them about short sales?

JEFF:  Well, Steve, when you send a client to us, we offer a no-charge initial consultation so that the client can learn about the legal consequences, alternatives, and the mechanics of how a short sale works.  We have about a 45-minute to an hour meeting with the client, and we go over the client’s situation, learn as much as we can, and then advise them on the various legal issues that surround a short sale.

STEVE:  Well, in the short sale both for the real estate agent and for the attorney that’s working on it, it does take extra work that we’re more than willing to do.  But Jeff, there is paperwork that the clients have to help us with in accomplishing that.

JEFF:  Yes, there is Steve.  And basically a short sale is a voluntary process where you’re asking the lender to take less than what you owe and satisfy your debt and release the mortgage.  For that, they’re going to ask for some information about you, the client or the seller.  Basically, they want basic financial information and they want to know why you’re asking for this.  What is your hardship?  What are the circumstances?

STEVE:  I know there’s a lot of things going on out there, and there’s many, many lenders to deal with.  What are the variations that you’ve found as you work through the different lenders with short sales?

JEFF:  Well, Steve, we have seen quite a variation in the lenders and a variation over time.  I’ve been working in the short sale area for approximately three years now, and we’ve seen a great change in the lenders over that period of time.  In general, we’ve seen that most lenders are more willing and more accepting of short sales than we did say two years ago. 

Some of the lenders such as Bank of America that had took a long time to work with and were somewhat difficult have really changed their processes and are now much more short sale friendly.  So by and large, that’s what we’re seeing although there are isolated instances and isolated lenders that are still more difficult than others.

STEVE:  So Jeff, are there any newer developments that are going on in the short sale area that people should be aware of?

JEFF:  Steve, yes, I think there are.  And one of the biggest new developments has been in the last six months we’ve seen a movement in the lenders that some of them are starting to agree to allow short sales to proceed when the borrower or seller doesn’t have a financial hardship.  They’re starting to see non-financial hardships such as job relocation and so forth as a possible reason to complete a short sale.  What that means for the consumer is that there can be a short sale done even when you’re still current on your payments.  You don’t have to be in such significant financial distress as once was the case.

STEVE:  Well, Jeff, thanks for coming in today, and you can tell he’s got a lot of wisdom and knowledge.

JEFF:  Well, thank you Steve, and I appreciate coming in and being able to be a part of your video blog.