Dave Ramsey Financial Advice

Q:What goes on behind the scenes with a short sale? We’re trying to buy a house that way, but it seems like it’s taking forever.
A: A short sale is when a mortgage lien holder sells a house short of what it takes to pay off the mortgage, but gives a full release and delivers a clear title to the purchaser anyway.
Let’s say you want to buy a house with a $250,000 mortgage for $200,000. In that scenario the lien holder will be taking a $50,000 hit, so it has to be convinced that this is as much as they’ll be able to get for that particular house.
The lien holder will do what is called “due diligence.” It will order inspections and appraisals, and maybe even collect comparables – statistics and documentation on how well homes in that area are selling, and at what price range. That kind of stuff takes time.
The main thing working against you right now is that while the number of short sales has risen dramatically, the number of people handling these transactions has not. Many lien holders are simply overwhelmed and understaffed, and some of the folks they have handling these deals are not exactly experts when it comes to short sales. Hang in there – this could work out really well!

Credit report curiosity
Q:I noticed recently that there have been several instances of companies asking for copies of my credit report. I’ve not done any business with these companies, and was under the impression they could only do things like this if you were trying to open an account with them.
A:According to the guidelines of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, anyone with a valid business reason can check your report with or without your permission. It’s not unusual today for employment applications to state that the company you’re interviewing with can even pull a copy of your credit report to use as part of their employee screening process.
If you haven’t been job hunting or applying for credit cards lately, it sounds to me like you’ve been hit with a load of marketing inquiries. Like most folks around the country, your mailbox is probably full of unsolicited credit card and home equity loan offers. The good news is that you can contact your bureau and request a block for unsolicited marketing inquiries. This will help prevent companies from crawling through your bureau for the sole purpose of offering you stuff you didn’t request.

For more financial advice, plus special offers to readers, visit www.davesays.org.