Thinking About Short Selling Your House? What No One Will Tell You.

I’m really not any different than you are.

Even though I play a mortgage commentator on Twitter, it doesn’t mean that I am infected with mortgage rabies not a real person.

I like to think that if there ever was a focus group for everyday-Americans, I might even get an invite.

I am just normal.

And so I am going to let many of you other normal people in on a little secret — because according to my escrow agent,  you might be dealing with the same problem I have been dealing with:

Short selling your house.

Whether it makes sense or not, regardless of what reasons you may have for  short selling your house, I just thought I would let you in on one little secret that no one will really tell you about…

Short selling your house will put an abnormally large amount of stress on your marriage.

Just ask my wife.

Having met her when I was 11 and having been married for 16 or so years now – I can safely say that short selling our house was one of the more stress-inducing events we have been through.

And the strange thing is – no one warned us that she would want to kill me for about 10 months straight for being the one dumb enough to get us into the position where short selling our house seemed like a sane choice.

There are many reasons that short selling your house can harm your personal relationships – and not one of the relationship gurus wrote a word about how to deal with the process in all of the relationship books I have read over the last 12 months.

But chances are, at some point in the process – the ambiguity of it all will become beyond annoying and get at least one of you to the point of apathy.

And I once learned somewhere that there is only one feeling worse than hate: apathy.

So no matter what, if you find yourself in a position where you are selling your home for less than you owe your lender on it…

Make sure you know in advance that it will put an undue amount of stress on your marriage.

And now you can’t say that someone didn’t warn you about that part.

Photo Credit: Whoops. “All Rights Reserved” photo was inadvertently used. Our apologies to the artist.

McHoodAbout the Author:Justin McHood calls himself a “Mortgage Commentator” and works for Academy Mortgage Corporation. You can find his loan officers at Ten Day Close and read more of his thoughts on the mortgage business on Zillow’s Mortgages Unzipped Blog. You can also find him at most East Valley Friday Nights gatherings. He’s the one in the blue shirt.

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  1. says


    I tip my hat to you for pouring it all out there. I guess the hard reality is that no matter how much it makes sense, no matter how obvious the choice to short sell is, it's still going to have a strain within your relationship. Emotions will always surface.

    You just did a service to people. At the very least, they know that they aren't the only ones with strain. Just part of the process….

  2. says


    Great perspective. Financial challenges as we know are the #1 reason for marital issues. your post hit on THE reason why I love short sales! Its not just another sale, Its an opportunity to help and service a family or individual.

  3. says

    Handled very well, my friend.

    I usually tell short sale sellers that they'll probably hate me by the time the short sale is over (because as we all know short sales take much longer than the average person's patience allows for and sellers get tired of me bugging them for the same updated bank statements and pay stubs etc. over and over again). I've not had very deliberate conversations about how they might feel about each other, though. I'll be adding that.

    Financial complications are never easy on any relationship but I'd be curious to see if there was a difference in the stress on relationships between a "only-option-other-than-foreclosure" short sale effort vs a "strategic default" short sale. Does the background thought of there being another way pit one person against the other? Food for thought…

    Now on to healing that apathy!
    .-= Shar Rundio´s last blog ..Happy 98th Birthday, Arizona!!! =-.

  4. says

    Sorry to hear of your personal difficulties. I don't think I would blog about mine. Good Luck. I hope there is redemption for those that fall from their stead.

  5. says

    Hey Justin –

    As the others said, thanks for sharing that personal story with everyone. I'm sorry to hear that this was such a trying experience for you; sadly, many, many other people will have to undergo the same experience if the market continues to do what many of us believe it will do. Most of my closest friends are quite upside down on their property and I foresee quite a few of them undergoing the same trying times. I hope everything turns out for you and your family.

    Best, Josh

  6. says

    I can't imagine how difficult it would be to go through. We have worked with a lot of family's that have gone through a short sale and 1 that divorced. It can be difficult [at times] being married to begin with, add the additional stress of the short sale and I can't imagine how hard it would be.

    Just passed my 3 year anniversary and I am always looking for advice. Got any? :)
    .-= Alex – San Diego Short Sales´s last blog ..Janet Yellen comes to San Diego! =-.

  7. says


    I probably should have mentioned this at the beginning of this post, but now that my short sale story has come to an end yesterday, I can write all about it… which means at least a few more posts on some of the good, bad and ugly things that I just don’t hear that many people talking about.

    And in my case, the story ends somewhat like a fairytale – but that is probably about 4 or 5 more posts away before you get to see that part.

    So be sure to tune in for more short-sale-war-stories that have a fairytale ending soon.


    It is always fun to ask people who are going through the short sale process “hey, how is your wife/husband doing?” because they don’t have to say much… I can just see it in their face how they are doing.

    Thanks for stopping by – keep helping people. I suspect that 2010 is going to be the year of the short sale in my neighborhood and many other neighborhoods as well.

    I am putting you down as a reference on my blogger resume now.

    In the focus group that is my neighborhood, there is a difference in strain on a relationship between strategic defaults and people who just plain went broke. I am going to cover that in one of the not-yet-released-but-coming-soon-to-TPREG posts. Great point!

    Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to tune in next time as the story continues! I think you might like the ending, even though it doesn’t look really bright for the main characters at the end of Chapter 1.

    In the next handful of posts here on TPREG, my goal is to put together a “everything my dad should have told me about short selling my house” type of collection. In my experience the people who have went through it don’t want to talk about it much and the people who haven’t went through it don’t know many of the little things that “no one will tell you about”.

    And of course, each situation is different…

    But crisis + time = humor — make sure you tell them that part!

    @Atlanta Short Sales,
    Yep. I too have seen pretty much everything happen to a relationship when financial strain shows up for breakfast one day.

    And if it doesn’t kill you, hopefully it makes you stronger.

    Thanks for stopping by, here is my best relationship advice at 5:30am on a Friday since you asked:

    Marriage is kind of like social media. There are no real experts – no matter how many people declare themselves one. Pick out a few tools and try them out. If they work for you, great. If they don’t, try a few more.

    But in the end – it is really about humans just getting along with humans.
    .-= Justin McHood´s last blog ..Resiliency: I See It Everywhere =-.

  8. Jenny Sawyer says

    Great article and AMEN! I will definitely refer others to this. That was brutally honest…the picture was well…graphic but makes the point very well!

  9. Steven says

    I am in the process of short selling my house right now. We have the offer and everything. The most important thing you can do is go to a company that has a proven track record of short sells. I reccomend I think they are only in Arizona but there website has lots of great info to ease your mind, I am sure if you email them they can assist you with people in other states.

    MY TIP from the process is if you have any credit cards with the bank you are short selling with, pay off the balance and close them before you start the process. This will help your credit and make sure the bank sends you a letter that says it was closed at customers request. I had two cards and did not know what would happen to them so I cashed out all my points and paid off my balances. I did not close them as this was an experiment for me. The bank closed them(experiment completed) so that will hurt my credit a little more than if I had closed them at my own request.

    Live and Learn.

  10. says

    Yes, good warning and cute post. This economy of ours really puts a strain on just about everything, including marriages. The good thing is at least the opportunity of short sales are still possible. Be sure to get a good agent to help you through with the process, and an agent that you like too makes it a little easier. I live in the Los Angeles area, and whew, stressful times out here to say the least. It really takes tenacity in these times, bravo to all who fight and make it through without too many wrinkles. I tend to think of all this as a journey in life, a little bit of a rough journey at that. Everyone keep your spirits high, this will all pass in time and life will go on usual (I hope).

  11. says

    This is a wealth of information. Thank you, Really gives not just the info but the perspective. Short sale may not be the best option for everyone, It should always be better for your credit to have had a short sale instead of a foreclosure but then what do we know how good its came in our real life.

  12. says

    You made some good points there.This economy of ours really short sale not the best option .I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but,I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  13. says

    I’m sure you meant well, or, maybe not, but when you “borrow” photos that you find on flickr, it may be nice of you to ask permission BEFORE you post someone else’s photo on YOUR blog!

    • says

      cdgleason – We’re sorry. Justin (the author of the post) thought he was OK by supplying a photo credit in the post. Your photo is now marked as “private” on Flickr, so I don’t know how it was licensed at the time he grabbed it, but it’s probably safe to assume it was “All Rights Reserved” like all your other pics on Flickr are licensed. So it never should have been re-published here.

      I also should have double-checked the licensing.

      I’ve removed the photo. Please accept our humble apologies, we didn’t mean any harm.

      By the way, I can’t visit your Flickr page without getting really hungry. Your cakes look amazing!

  14. says

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