Short-Sale Expediency Goal of New Legislation

by Houston Agent

Short sales have historically taken quite a bit of time, but a new bill in the Senate seeks to correct that flaw.

Short sales have rightfully earned a reputation of being slow, plodding and, in some occasions, maddening, but a new bill introduced in the Senate yesterday seeks to cut through all the red tape and simplify the process.

Brought before the floor by Lisa Murkowski, a Republican Senator from Alaska, the bill would give servicers 75 days to reply to a homeowner’s written request, a period during which they must approve, deny or request an extension for up to 21 days.

If the servicer fails to meet the bill’s stipulations, the homeowner would receive $1,000 for each infraction.

Murkowski said in a statement quoted by HousingWire that communication is a big part of her bill. And she referenced “Cool Hand Luke,” while she was at it.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate,” she said. “Why don’t we make it easier for Americans trying to participate in the housing market, regardless of whether the answer is ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘maybe?'”

HousingWire also quoted Moe Veissi, president of the National Association of Realtors, who said Realtors support “any effort to improve the process for approving short sales.”

A truly bipartisan effort, the bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. HousingWire noted that of six short sale bills introduced in Congress, only Murkowski’s bill made it through committee. For instance, one bill, introduced by Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., would automatically approve a short sale, unless a lender or servicer responds within 45-days.

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