Banks giving cash incentives for short sales

Distressed homeowners can take advantage of cash incentives to sell the home they can't afford. Because of the unique nature of today's market, new bank and government programs pay relocation incentives to homeowners who undergo a foreclosure alternative -- most commonly short sales.

"For the banks, this is a case of simple math," said Bridgett Howell, broker/owner of BridgeWell Realty Inc. in Conyers, in a press release.

"The costs incurred in foreclosure include maintaining the vacant property and advertising the property themselves. Typically, the home sells for less than it does in a short sale."

Because of this disparity, most major banks offer thousands of dollars in order to entice distressed homeowners into proactively seeking a solution, she said.

Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo all offer thousands of dollars in cash incentives, and some amounts can go as high as $30,000.

"The great part about this for homeowners is that a short sale often ends up being better on credit reports than a foreclosure, so receiving cash is just a bonus they receive for engaging in a solution that helps them out in the long run," said Howell.