home under water 3After reading through several sample hardship    letters, it’s clear why so many home owners are having problems getting approved for short sales. I wouldn’t want to have to read through that mess if I was a bank executive! Take the time to write a letter that gives the bank all the necessary information as clearly as possible but without boring them. The hardship letter may be only one piece of paper in the stack you will need to give to your bank, but don’t underestimate its importance!

Remember lenders are looking for “unplanned” hardships like: job loss or sudden disability, something beyond your control, not a simple lack of financial planning on your part, so if you opted for the 0-down loan with the balloon payment that you couldn’t afford, don’t expect to have your hardship approved. Consider these when writing:  Who, what, where, when, and why.

1 – Who will be reading your letter?

2 – What will they want to hear?

3 – Where will the letter be sent?

4 – When does it need to be done?

5 – Why do you need them to listen to you?

Find out who will be reading your letter. Call the bank, ask your realtor, go online, but find out the name of a real person to address your letter to. The time you take for research will pay off.

Consider what that bank or lien holder would want to hear. Probably not whining or complaining, but heartfelt truth about your situation. A clear, well thought out explanation of the reason you can’t make payments is fine and only one page.

Where is your letter going? You’ll need more than one copy if you have many lien holders on your home, and remember that any of those lien holders can delay the process if they don’t want to approve you. When does it need to be delivered? Always meet deadlines and do whatever your bank tells you as far as method of delivery.

Let the bank executive know why you need this hardship determination. Use enough emotion to create feelings of sympathy for your situation, but without deception, and remember to include supporting documentation with your hardship letter. Prove why you need this favor from the bank with receipts, bank statements, etc.!

Most important of all, use correct spelling, punctuation, grammar and, type it. I actually saw examples that were hand-written. Remember, you are writing to an executive, so make your hardship letter professional. If you don’t trust your own proofreading skills, have someone else look it over for you, and good luck!

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