Sample Hardship Letter for Short Sale: Free & Effective

Today, I want to share a detailed guide on how to write an effective hardship letter for a short sale, based on my personal experiences, complete with a ready-to-use template.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the Purpose: A hardship letter explains to the lender why you can’t fulfill the mortgage terms.
  • Be Concise and Clear: Keep your letter to one page and directly state your situation.
  • Provide Supporting Documentation: Include any relevant financial statements or documents.
  • Personalize Your Letter: Share personal stories that highlight your struggles.
  • Professional Tone is Key: Maintain a respectful and professional tone throughout.
  • Template Provided: Use the template below as a starting point for your letter.

Understanding the Hardship Letter

A hardship letter for a short sale is a personal plea to your mortgage lender, explaining why you are unable to continue making payments on your home and why a short sale would be a better solution than foreclosure. 

It’s your opportunity to provide context to your financial difficulties and to suggest a way forward that minimizes financial loss for both you and the lender.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Hardship Letter

1. Start With Your Personal Information

Begin your letter by stating your name, address, loan number, and any other identifying details. This helps the lender verify your account quickly.

2. Address the Letter Appropriately

Address the letter directly to the person handling your case if known, or use a general salutation if not.

3. Clearly State the Purpose of the Letter

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Start the body of your letter by stating explicitly that you are seeking a short sale and why. Mention the word “hardship” and be clear about the request.

4. Explain Your Hardship

This is the core of your letter. Describe the circumstances that led to your financial hardship. Be honest and specific. Did you face unexpected medical bills, lose your job, or go through a divorce? Explain how these events have impacted your ability to pay your mortgage.

5. Detail Your Current Financial Situation

Provide a brief overview of your current income and expenses. Be transparent about your financial situation without going into unnecessary detail. The goal is to prove that your current income is not sufficient to cover your mortgage payments.

6. Discuss the Steps You’ve Taken to Mitigate Your Situation

Show that you’ve made efforts to remedy your situation before requesting a short sale. This could include cutting expenses, seeking employment, or trying to refinance your mortgage.

7. Make a Polite Request for the Short Sale

Conclude your letter by politely requesting the lender to consider your short sale proposal. Express your willingness to cooperate fully and provide any additional information needed.

8. Close With Your Contact Information

End your letter by thanking the lender for considering your request, and provide your phone number and email address.

Personal Tips from Experience

  • Documentation Matters: Always attach or offer to provide supporting documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, and bills.
  • Keep Copies: Always keep a copy of every document you send for your records.
  • Follow Up: Don’t hesitate to follow up if you don’t hear back from your lender in a reasonable time.

Hardship Letter Template for Short Sale

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]

[Loan Officer Name]
[Lender Company Name]
[Company Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]

Re: Request for Short Sale – [Your Loan Number]

Dear [Loan Officer’s Name],

I am writing to respectfully request a short sale of my home located at [Your Property Address]. Unfortunately, due to [brief explanation of your hardship, e.g., “a significant medical emergency that drained my savings”], I am unable to meet the required mortgage payments.

Currently, my financial situation is such that my income from [your job/source of income] is not sufficient to cover my monthly expenses, including the mortgage. Despite efforts to adjust my budget and seek additional work, I am still falling short.

Given these circumstances, I am requesting a short sale to avoid foreclosure, which would be detrimental to both our interests. I am fully prepared to cooperate with the process and provide all necessary documentation.

Thank you for considering my request. Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email Address] to discuss this matter further or to request additional information.


[Your Name]


Writing a hardship letter for a short sale is your chance to explain your situation in a personal way and seek a solution that works for everyone. Use the steps and template provided to craft a letter that is clear, respectful, and effective.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What should I include in my hardship letter for a short sale?

Answer: In my hardship letter, I made sure to include a clear statement of my financial situation, the specific hardship causing it, and a polite request for a short sale. I found that being transparent about my circumstances and providing evidence like medical bills or job termination notices helped make my case stronger.

Q: How long should my hardship letter be?

Answer: When I wrote my hardship letter, I aimed to keep it concise, no longer than one page. I learned that lenders appreciate a clear and direct explanation rather than an overly detailed narrative.

Q: Can I write the hardship letter myself, or should I get professional help?

Answer: I chose to write the hardship letter myself to give it a more personal touch, which I believe helped my case. However, consulting with a professional can be beneficial to ensure that all necessary legal and financial points are covered accurately.

Q: What tone should I use in my hardship letter for a short sale?

Answer: I maintained a respectful and professional tone throughout my letter. It’s important to express sincerity and respect, as you’re requesting assistance from the lender in a difficult situation.

Q: How quickly should I expect a response after sending my hardship letter?

Answer: Based on my experience, response times can vary widely, but typically, it took a few weeks to get a reply. It’s crucial to follow up if you haven’t heard back within a month.

Q: Is there any way to ensure my hardship letter is more likely to be approved? 

Answer: I found that clearly outlining my inability to pay, the inevitability of my circumstances, and demonstrating that I had explored all other options before requesting a short sale made my letter more compelling. Also, attaching supporting documentation was key to building a strong case.

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