Writing a Short Sale Hardship Letter that Works

In this guide, I’ll share my experience, provide practical tips, and offer three unique templates to help you craft a compelling hardship letter that works.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsDetails
PurposeExplain the need for a short sale clearly and convincingly.
ToneBe honest, respectful, and concise.
StructureFollow a clear structure: introduction, explanation of hardship, supporting details, and conclusion.
DocumentationInclude relevant financial documents to support your claims.
TemplatesUse provided templates as a starting point and personalize them.
Common MistakesAvoid blaming the lender, being overly emotional, or providing incomplete information.

Understanding the Importance of a Hardship Letter

A hardship letter is a critical component of your short sale package. It explains to your lender why you can no longer afford your mortgage payments and why a short sale is your best option. A persuasive hardship letter can significantly increase your chances of getting the short sale approved.

My Personal Experience

Having written numerous hardship letters for clients, I’ve learned that the most effective ones are those that tell a compelling story. They are honest, respectful, and concise, and they clearly outline the financial hardships that have led to the need for a short sale. Here are some key tips from my personal experience:

  • Be Honest: Lenders appreciate honesty. Clearly explain your situation without embellishing or omitting critical details.
  • Keep It Concise: Avoid overly long letters. Aim for one to two pages, focusing on the most important points.
  • Provide Evidence: Support your claims with relevant financial documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, and medical bills.

Template 1: Job Loss


I am writing to formally request consideration for a short sale of my property located at [Property Address]. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am no longer able to meet my mortgage obligations.

Explanation of Hardship

In [Month/Year], I was laid off from my job at [Company Name] due to [reason for layoff, e.g., company downsizing]. Since then, I have been actively seeking employment but have been unable to find a position that matches my previous salary. This loss of income has significantly impacted my ability to make mortgage payments.

Supporting Details

  • Previous Income: $[amount] per month
  • Current Income: $[amount] per month (unemployment benefits)
  • Savings Depleted: $[amount] (used for living expenses)
  • Monthly Expenses: $[amount]


Given these financial difficulties, I kindly request that you approve a short sale of my property. This will allow me to avoid foreclosure and mitigate further financial strain.

Template 2: Medical Hardship


I am writing to request approval for a short sale of my home at [Property Address]. Due to severe medical issues, I am no longer able to maintain my mortgage payments.

Explanation of Hardship

In [Month/Year], I was diagnosed with [medical condition]. This condition has required extensive treatment and has limited my ability to work. The medical expenses and loss of income have created a financial burden that makes it impossible for me to continue making mortgage payments.

Supporting Details

  • Medical Expenses: $[amount] (include copies of medical bills)
  • Lost Income: $[amount] per month
  • Current Monthly Income: $[amount] (disability benefits)
  • Total Debt: $[amount]


I am requesting your understanding and approval of a short sale to alleviate this financial burden and allow me to focus on my health.

Template 3: Divorce


I am writing to request your assistance in approving a short sale for my property at [Property Address]. A recent divorce has drastically changed my financial situation.

Explanation of Hardship

In [Month/Year], my spouse and I divorced. This has resulted in a significant reduction in household income and increased living expenses. Despite my efforts to manage these changes, I am unable to afford the mortgage payments on my own.

Supporting Details

  • Combined Income Pre-Divorce: $[amount] per month
  • Current Income: $[amount] per month
  • Monthly Expenses: $[amount] (rent, utilities, child support, etc.)
  • Outstanding Debt: $[amount]


Due to these circumstances, I respectfully request your approval for a short sale of my property to prevent foreclosure and financial insolvency.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Blaming the Lender: Stay respectful and avoid placing blame.
  2. Being Overly Emotional: Stick to the facts and keep emotions in check.
  3. Incomplete Information: Provide all necessary details and documentation.

Final Thoughts

Writing a short sale hardship letter requires a delicate balance of honesty, clarity, and respect. By sharing your story effectively and providing solid evidence, you can increase your chances of a successful short sale. Use the templates provided as a starting point, and remember to personalize your letter to reflect your unique situation.

Table: Essential Components of a Hardship Letter

IntroductionState your request and property address.
Hardship ExplanationClearly describe the financial hardship.
Supporting DetailsProvide financial data and relevant documents.
ConclusionRequest approval and express gratitude.

By following these guidelines and using the templates, you can craft a hardship letter that effectively communicates your situation and increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.