Deed in lieu of foreclosure (also known as a Bargain and Sale Deed) and short sale are both alternatives to foreclosure. They are very similar, and their differences depend on the details of the situation. They are attractive solutions because they do not hurt the borrower's credit as much as foreclosure would.

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Deed in lieu of foreclosure:
With a deed in lieu of foreclosure, the property owner deeds the property to the lender in exchange for the lender canceling the mortgage loan. This was a popular option back when homes in foreclosure generally had positive equity; the lender could sell the home and keep the profit. In today's housing market, fewer and fewer lenders will accept a deed in lieu. However, because a deed in lieu reduces the time and cost of repossession and offers protections in the event that the borrower files for bankruptcy, many lenders are still interested in this solution.

Short sale:
If you owe more than your home is worth, a short sale may be the appropriate solution. In a short sale, the property owner sells the property and transfers the proceeds from the sale to the lender. The lender agrees to accept less than the balance owed on the mortgage. The loan deficiency remaining after the sale is typically forgiven; however, this is not always the case.

The requirements for a deed in lieu of foreclosure or short sale include:
  • the residence must already be on the market for a certain number of days (typically 90 days)
  • there can be no liens on the property
  • the property cannot already be in foreclosure
  • the offer of a deed in lieu must be voluntary
  • for a short-sale, the seller must have a hardship
  • the house must be priced reasonably.

Tax considerations:
If the lender forgives over $600 of your loan balance, this may create additional tax liability. For example, if you owe $1m and your home is worth $900k, when you deed or sell the home, the additional $100k once owed but now forgiven by the lender would be considered your "income" for tax purposes.

Get started Start Your Bargain and Sale Deed Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Bargain and Sale Deed Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.