Senator Murkowski Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Boost Housing Market

Senators Sherrod Brown, Scott Brown Join Bill Addressing Needless Waiting Game for Short-Sale Buyers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Lisa Murkowski, Scott Brown (R-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation to improve the housing market by expediting “short sales” – real estate transactions that must be approved by the bank because the seller owes more on their mortgage than the selling price. The legislation addresses the lengthy closing process that often comes with a short sale by requiring banks to respond to prospective buyers within 75 days.

“There are neighborhoods across the country full of empty homes and underwater owners that have legitimate offers, but unresponsive banks,” said Murkowski.  “What we have here is a failure to communicate. Why don’t we make it easier for Americans trying to participate in the housing market, regardless of whether the answer is ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘maybe?’”

"When a family is absolutely unable to keep their home, approving short sale offers in a reasonable amount of time will help reduce foreclosures and stabilize local home values, which benefits individuals and our communities,” said Alaska Association of Realtors President Joni Schneider.

The Prompt Notification of Short Sale Act would help buyers considering a “short-sale” home – a home where sellers are in negative equity and cannot pay off the balance.  Presently, it can take many months to get any kind of response to short sale offers. The legislation:

  • Requires a written response of an acceptance, rejection, counter offer, or the need for an extension of time within 75 days of a request from a homeowner.
  • Creates a $1,000 penalty for those that don’t comply, along with legal fees.