Many clients own a primary residence, a vacation home, or a rental property which they wish to sell or refinance. In February 2010, Stahancyk, Kent & Hook presented “Crisis or Opportunity – Real Estate Perspective From the Professionals,” a continuing legal education program for members of the Washington County Bar Association.
The panel presented a wealth of information for those considering buying, selling, or refinancing a home, which we will now share with you. An important step in selling a home, especially in the course of divorce, is obtaining an appraisal. Because the market changes rapidly, it is important that appraisers rely on recent comparable sales. Sean Kelly of Par Appraisal Group advises that, if possible, no comparable sale older than three months be used. It is also important that you and your attorney communicate all litigation needs and concerns regarding the property early in order to obtain an accurate and helpful appraisal.
The housing crisis also affected the refinancing process. Rules for obtaining a loan are becoming more stringent. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that, while the applicant used to have ample opportunity to explain personal circumstances, loans are now approved by underwriters who strictly apply the rules. One important change to these rules is that you must now collect spousal support for three months before it will be considered as income on your loan application.
Finally, during the divorce process many clients wish to sell a residence through short sale. A short sale is when a property is sold with no expectation of getting any equity back, and can be very important if you owe more on your home than it is worth. Short sales can protect your credit and help in negotiating loan forgiveness. Both you and the bank must consent in order to sell a property under short sale.
For more information, contact your attorney or one of our panelists, Sean Kelly, Curtis Aimonetto, and James Rostel, may be contacted at: