Preventing foreclosures by making "short sales" easier

FRESNO, California

Sal Valencia said, "You can't do anything if they aren't willing to talk, not willing to respond, even acknowledge you."

Valencia has been trying to short sell his Central Fresno home since August of 2009.

"At the time there was a lot of things that changed in our lives that we couldn't afford our home anymore," said Valencia.

Instead of going into foreclosure - he chose another alternative. A short sale -- where homeowners with a proven hardship negotiate an agreement with their lender to sell their home for less than what they owe. But so far - he's run into a number of man-made roadblocks.

Valencia said, "The most difficult part is the lack of communication."

Don Faught, California Association of Realtors said, "Californian's are being victimized by a process that should be helping them."

At a news conference outside Valencia's home - a group of Central Valley realtors said he's not alone - calling the short sale process "broken."

Fresno Realtor, Patrick Prince said, "The vast majority of properties we put through into contract, the buyer cancels and moves on to another property before we can get a short sale."

They say the problem is with the lenders slow response times, repeated requests for documentation and poor communication with their clients. Some realtors even said the lender foreclosed on the home before the short sale was completed.

Prince said, "I think the process is similar enough among all the lenders that it could be streamlined across the board."

They're now calling for reform. Demanding the lender appoint a single point of contact for each transaction -- speed up the approval process -- and stop foreclosure proceedings while negotiating a short sale. Solutions they believe will help thousands of homeowners who face foreclosure each year.

Valencia said, "I'd hate for someone to go through this. That's the only reason I'm here."

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