The lenders, as a group, seem to be doing a good job at screwing things up even before they get to their orders of foreclosure. They are making it harder and harder for distressed owners to offer compromise or "short sale" proposals. In just the past month, I have seen three contracts canceled in situations where the mortgage holder has taken too long to decide whether to accept a short sale or out-right dis-approved the sale.
Short sales are a necessary and utile solution for owners (and their lenders) where the value of the property is less than the amount owed on the mortgage. The owner, if they can sell for the current market value can get out from under the mortgage obligation without having to resort to foreclosure or bankruptcy and at least minimize the damage caused to their credit ratings. The lender can get back much of the mortgage money lent without having to incur costs of a foreclosure or the time delay involved in a foreclosure.
But the lenders are either unwilling or unable to make timely decisions on short sale requests.
The phenonenon is detailed in a CNN Money article posted last week .