Cash for Keys Program Pays Florida Homeowners to Short Sell a Distressed Home

Tampa-area homeowners have until November 30th to take advantage of a new incentive from Bank of America. The mortgage lending giant is offering up to $20,000 to Florida homeowners in or near foreclosure who agree to short sell their home rather than continue through the foreclosure process.

On average, a Florida foreclosure takes almost two years to complete. That is nearly double the national average. A homeowner in foreclosure may be able to stay in his or her home even longer if a Florida foreclosure defense attorney is involved. Whether it is better to fight your lender’s attempt to foreclose and remain in your home as long as possible, or whether it is better to take advantage of this cash for keys offer and start fresh in a new home depends on your individual situation.

Not all homeowners who short sell their home will qualify for the $20,000 relocation payment. The Bank of America plan calls for at least a minimum of a $5,000 dollar payout for cooperating homeowners.

Are the Big Banks Finally Coming Around to Help Homeowners?

J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo have started similar cash for keys programs intended to avoid the costs of foreclosures to the banks while offering an incentive to homeowners to participate in the programs. But, the incentive plans aren’t ‘free,’ meaning some banks are putting conditions on the payouts to ensure that homes are ready for new owners when the short sale goes through. Wells Fargo requires that homes be in “broom swept” condition to meet its cash for keys requirements.

There are many legal pitfalls to a Florida short sale, including the potential for a deficiency judgment related to what was owed on the home versus what it sold, for as well as potential tax consequences. An Orlando short sale attorney can further explain any hidden costs of participating in a cash for keys program if your home mortgage lender is offering a similar relocation incentive.

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