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Lost Our Jobs. Need to Get Rid of House, Fast. – Me

“Dear Steve,

Lost of jobs nowhere to turn. Husband and i both lost our jobs we have fallen behind on our bills and our mortgage. What is the safest quickest way to get out of our home without haviing to file bankruptcy? What about a short sale or lieu of deed? What does that cost? How long does it take to get out?


Dear Me,

The problem here is time and the residual possibilities. The amount of time it takes depends on a number of factors like the processing load at the bank, your local real estate market, the type of realtor you go with, etc.

At the very least you should expect an approved short sale transaction to take 3 to 6 months from initial bank contact to closing.

But it doesn’t sound like you have the luxury of time since you are already out of work and falling behind. In that case you may be looking at a more drastic solution like handing the house back through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, where you hand the keys back to the bak, or a foreclosure where the bank takes the house back.

With those events, including a short sale, you could be left with a residual debt you owe even though you don’t have the house anymore. Rather than face a legal judgment against you for that amount due you might want to look at the fastest route out of this mess, bankruptcy.

With the bankruptcy approach you’d stop making mortgage payments, save what you can for a new rental deposit. You’d wait for the bank to foreclose on the property and then once they do you could include any claim from the bank in your bankruptcy. From what you’ve said so far it sounds like a Chapter 7 bankruptcy would be the one you’d try for. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy your debts are completely forgiven.

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You should click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney you can talk with about your situation.

I know you said you want to get out from the house without bankruptcy but in order to do that you’d have to get out from under the house and not owe any residual debt. The only way to really do that would be for you to put up the cash for the difference between the sales price and what is due on the mortgage. But I doubt you’ve got that kind of cash laying around.

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Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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