Impact 5: Short seller doesn't get incentive money as expected

JUPITER, Fla. - Lynne Zurback is getting ready for Christmas. Today she's hand-painting a nativity set.

"I paint. I do flowers. That's my goal, is to open up a flower shop that only sells local products," Zurback said.

So when she got letters offering her $13,000 to have a short sale on her condo in Abacoa she thought it was the new start she desperately needed.

"They call me and say, 'You're going to be here tomorrow at noon,' and I was like, ‘Oh that's wonderful. I'll get my money. I can move on. I can do what I want to do.' 'Oh no, you're not getting any money.' And I was you've gotta be kidding me," Zurback said.

Upset with the news, she cancelled the sale. Zurback was told the money was bypassing her hands and going towards past HOA dues.

"I just said then that's it. No one's getting any money. I was shocked," Zurback said.

She contacted Impact 5 to see if it was legal.

"When you do a short sale you'll generally get what's called a short sale agreement from the bank," real estate attorney Shari Olefson said.

Olefson told NewsChannel 5 not only is it legal, it's common.

"It's really important that you read the terms of that agreement carefully as soon as you get it because hidden in that fine print is going to be a disclosure that says that the money may be used to pay off lien holders and that you'll be required to give good title to the property," Olefson said.

"It was a crushing blow believe me. I had the place picked out," Zurback said.

Even though she won't be getting the cash and new start she was hoping for, she still plans to short sell her home and hopes others learn from what she's going through.

Everybody knows you don't spend the money before you get it, but I couldn't imagine not getting it," Zurback said.

Why offer incentives in the first place?  Olefson said it's cheaper than a foreclosure for banks and often ensures the property isn't trashed.

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