Antonio & Alexia's Blog


The Hardship Letter is the Most Important Document in Your Short Sale Package. Learn How to Write It

But by far, the most important document in the Short Sale Package is the sellers hardship letter. This document will be the very first one read by the Loss Mitigator. It will give this person an idea of what to look for in the package, or if is even worth his/her time to read it.

Banks are receiving short sales requests in record numbers, the rejection rate however is very high, in part due to the package not being complete. Lack of important documents to analyze the request is the cause of delays, and in most cases the difference between loosing the house to foreclosure or negotiating a short sale with the lender.

Most homeowners requesting a short sale approval of their loan, are shy about their situation,  and this letter is not an easy one to write. As a professional Realtor, this is the step I emphasize the most because of its importance. I make sure they understand the fact that another human being is going to read that letter and make a decision almost on the spot. If they can clearly, and methodically take the reader through what happened to them and why they are asking for help, their chances are good.

In the hardship letter, sellers must reach for that emotional cord if they are to have any chances of getting their approval. These people have read thousands of letters and can easily spot the ones that carry no weight at all. The story of why this package is here, should be told by the sellers in a handwritten note.

This letter should only contain the true facts as they pertain to them, because everything said in that letter will be verified. The main culprits are: the loss of a job, a dissolution of marriage and medical reasons. Above all, do not blame the banks for getting you into this situation. A badly written letter could kill any chance of this package getting any attention at all from the lender no matter how true your hardship is.

Here are a few steps to help you get that letter out to your bank; Take these steps as paragraphs of your letter.

  • Begin with a complete address of the lender, include telephone numbers, email address and fax numbers, it will be easier to follow up later.
  • Your full names, the loan number and the complete address of the property, including social security numbers for proper identification
  • Be specific and clear about your request: "we are hereby requesting that you approve this short sale" or a similar statement to help you get the point across.
  • Describe what was the main cause of your hardship. Tell the story from the beginning, include dates, dollar amounts, places where you worked etc. remember that you must include documentation to back up your claims. Be clear, specific and above all, do not hide the truth or sugar-coat it.
  • Tell them what steps you have taken to help yourself, how many job applications you have sent, what other possessions you have sold. Show that you have actually taken steps to help yourself and avoid this situation.
  • Describe your present situation; are you looking for a job? is your income not sufficient to meet your obligations? are you on disability? Mention that you have considered filing for bankruptcy.
  • End the letter with an invitation to the lender to call you if they need more information, or further explanations, include day and evening telephone numbers, and do not forget that everyone on the loan must sign and date the hardship letter in order of it to be valid and accepted.

The hardship letter should be handwritten, however, if your hand style is difficult to read, I recommend you have a copy typed verbatim, and attached to the original. Spend time on this one document! Back it up with supporting documentation and put the loan number on every single page you send to your bank. The most complete package you send, the better your chances of having a positive resolution to your request. Go ahead, give it your best try! Good Luck.



The Realtors In Motion       Antonio & Alexia Cardenas   

                  "The Realtors In Motion" 

         CRS, GRI, E-Pro Certified. SFR (Short Sales, Forclosure Resource) Serving the east shores of the San Francisco Bay, Alameda county: specially the following cities: Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Hayward, Oakland, Pleasanton & Dublin.

                  Visit us on line at: or call (510) 326-4263

                     Call us, We'll come and TANGO with you!

Comment balloon 4 commentsAntonio & Alexia Cardenas • April 13 2010 11:40AM


Great information - sometimes it is hard to put their pride on the line and lay it all out about how bad they have it - but they need to.

Posted by Jody Lautenbach (Century 21 Premier Associates) over 10 years ago

Antonio ~ great information.  I have advised my short sale sellers to be short but precise on the hardship letter.  too long and lengthy could possible work against them.

Posted by Dawn A Fabiszak, The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience! (Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado) over 10 years ago

Jody, I agree with you about the pride, it is understandable, but this letter only goes to the bank. They are dealing with thousands of people in distress. If your hardship a a real one, you must spell it out in order to get help.

Dawn, you are absolutely right, don't write a book about it! tell important details but keep your opinions on check. Thanks ladies for your visit.


Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 10 years ago
Big help, big help. And superlative news of cursoe.
Posted by Jayvee over 8 years ago