This is the most often asked question and as always there is no pat answer. It really depends on three factors:
1.) Your lender
2.) Your personal history
3.) Your representative handling the transaction.
Lenders are all over in their approach to short sales and can change strategy at any time. Currently the general environment is that banks and lending institutions see short sales as a better alternative than holding properties through till foreclosure. Of course they are going to force the homeowner to prove that they cannot honor the commitment they have made. If you have the means to continue to pay banks likely will not forgive the debt just because home values have dropped. They are not in the real estate business; they are in the loan business. Taking back property is a last resort for them. Currently lenders are ramping up efforts to deal with short sales. They are finding that it saves money to deal with homeowners that are still living in the homes and caring for them. Each lender has criterion for their own evaluation and operating structures which govern their actions and response times.
Finally, there is the representative that is handling the negotiation. I encourage anyone interested in listing or purchasing short sale property to carefully scrutinize your representative. All are not created equal. At the Dohack Group we work hand in hand with an attorney negotiator who does nothing but work on short sales. They deal with all of the lenders and know what is necessary to submit a complete package to their specifications the first time. This assures that the timeline will be cut to the very minimum. Additionally, we are finding that many financial institutions are increasingly willing to review the offer early in the process so that buyers know their potential for success in the end. This is not widespread yet but is an early trend and long overdue.
When you own a Fort Myers FL home and find that a short sale is your only option, procrastination is the WORST possible idea. The more proactive you can be in working on an alternative to foreclosure, the better. It is worth the effort and in the end it could be the best overall solution to a mortgage that you can no longer afford due to uncontrollable circumstances. If you find yourself having these considerations I encourage you to act quickly. The worst response is no response. The earlier you begin the better your chances of a successful conclusion. We at the Dohack group are here to help you answer your questions and offer whatever help is in your best interest.