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How to Write a Hardship Letter for a Short Sale


It is important to put plenty of thought, time, and effort into the writing of your hardship letter to the bank requesting a short sale. This letter is instrumental in the bank’s agreeing to move forward with a short sale.  Because you are requesting that the lender agree to take a loss on their initial investment, this letter must clearly focus on valid reasons that you cannot pay your mortgage.  In the end, the lender must decide whether taking a loss is more advantageous to them than a foreclosure.

Steps for Writing a Hardship Letter

1Outline. Start with an outline.  Write down all of the reasons that are affecting your ability to keep current with payments on your loan.  Under each main point, jot down supporting evidence that clearly demonstrate how the new circumstances cannot support your current situation.

Hardships generally accepted by lenders as reasons to consider a short sale:

  • Loss of income due to unemployment, cut in pay/hours, disability, or illness
  • Increase in expenses due to illness, etc.
  • Divorce
  • Death of an income earner contributing to loan repayment
  • Job relocation 50 miles or more from current residence
  • Military service


2Letter Format. A hardship letter should follow the standard business letter format. (See instructions and sample of business letters) Make sure to add your loan number to the final line beneath your return address.


3First paragraph.  The first paragraph should be a brief introduction explaining that you are requesting consideration for a short sale.


4Subsequent Paragraphs.  Using your outline, clearly state the reasons why you wish to be considered for the short sale.  Don’t rattle on. The letter should be clear and concise.  Make every word count.  The letter should be personal and clearly state your problems with enough supporting evidence to be convincing.


5Final Paragraph. The final paragraph is your last chance to get your plea in, clearly state why you cannot pay your mortgage, and need a short sale. Be humble and thankful to the bank for allowing you the opportunity to make the request.

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