Financially troubled borrowers may think that foreclosure or a short sale of their home means their mortgage woes are over.

Not necessarily.

Some homeowners are finding that when they sell their homes for less than the outstanding mortgages — a so-called short sale — their mortgage companies are going after them for some or all of the difference. Mortgage companies are also sometimes taking legal action to recover unpaid amounts after a foreclosure is completed.

In a growing number of cases, holders of mortgages or home-equity loans are requiring borrowers in short sales to sign a promissory note, which is a written promise to pay back a loan or debt. Real-estate agents and attorneys say they have seen an increase in requests for promissory notes as mortgage companies look to short sales as an alternative to foreclosure

The Wall Street Journal

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