Well here is the quick answer.
I get this question quite often these days. Homeowners have been led to believe that because foreclosure is so devastating to their credit scores, almost anything else is better.
This is not true — turns out there’s no significant difference in FICO score impact among foreclosures, short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure, said Bradley Graham, senior director of scores product management at FICO, which is the trademark credit scoring model created by Fair Isaac Corp. It’s the most widely used scoring system in the country.
If you apply for a loan in the future, certain lenders may look more favorably at a short sale than at a foreclosure, but the credit scoring system sees all these defaults as equally bad. Graham said that based on the analysis of the information that lenders share with credit bureaus about those forms of mortgage default, they have about the same weight when determining future risk.
There are two caveats in what lenders report to the credit bureaus, Graham said. The negative impact of a foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure can be slightly less if the lender does not report a deficiency balance. A deficiency balance is the amount one may owe the bank after a property is sold.
Here's an example in numbers.
Here’s something interesting: The FICO analysis found that the higher your original score, the greater the drop and the longer it will take for your credit to recover to the same level assuming all else held constant. A consumer who started with a 780 score and did a short sale with no deficiency balance could see his score drop to a range of 655 to 675. The FICO scale goes from a low of 300 to a high of 850. A consumer who started with a score of 680 could see a drop to a range of 610 to 630.
Read it allFor the consumer with the original 780 score, it could take seven years to get back to that level. But at 680, it could take just three years.