Get debt forgiveness in writing from bank

Q: If I do a short sale in my house, which is my second house, will the bank run after my primary home, which is fully paid already? I know you are not a lawyer, but based on your experience with sellers, maybe you can tell me. Are you (better off) doing a short sale?

— Hermie D., Las Vegas

A: I’m always happy to answer good questions from readers of this space whenever I can.

In your case, I’d say the goal would be to get an approved short sale on your second home that comes with a letter from your mortgage lender stating that the deficiency, or unpaid portion of your loan that the bank is agreeing to forgive in a short sale, is waived and that your debt is settled in full.

If you do not get those issues clarified in writing, then you could potentially be exposed to the risk of a bank pursuing you for the balance of the deficiency, or the unpaid amount you owe on your mortgage loan.

Sometimes, the bank will also ask you to contribute funds to grant the release of deficiency. Unfortunately, you will never know for sure until you start the short sale process.

From my perspective, I think the best advice is to start by hiring a qualified local Realtor to help you through this often complex short sale process. Look one with experience in this area, someone who has done a number of short sales in recent years.

As you noted in your question, I’m not a lawyer. So, to make sure you’ve covered your legal bases, I think you would also be wise to contact an experienced local attorney to address your question about whether the mortgage lender on your second home can pursue anything related to the primary residence you say you own outright.

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Heidi Kasama is the 2014 president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, and has been a local Realtor for more than 11 years. GLVAR has more than 11,000 members. For more information, visit