Buying A Short Sale? Be prepared for a Long Haul.
If you’re eyeing a home that’s a potential short sale, be prepared to be in the home buying market for the long haul. Short sales can be more time consuming than traditional home sales, but if you’re in a position where you can be flexible with your close date, your patience could well be worth the wait. Home buyers may find the opportunity to potentially buy a home at a reduced price appealing.
A short sale means that the seller has negotiated – or intends to negotiate – with their lender to pay off their existing mortgage for less than what they owe on the home. This is different from a foreclosed home, where the homebuyer has defaulted on the loan and the lender already owns the property. With a short sale, you are negotiating with not just the seller but also the lender; even if the seller accepts your offer, the lender may not.
Keep in mind that it’s important to work with a real estate professional that is experienced in short sale transactions.
An experienced real estate agent with City Trends Realty can help expedite the process and protect your interests as a home buyer. In addition, remember to:
1. Do Your Homework. Before you put in a bid on a short sale home, find out how much the home was purchased for, what the tax assessed value is, and how much comparable homes in the area sold for. You could also learn whether a foreclosure notice has been filed, how much is owed to the lender and whether there’s a second mortgage on the home. All of this is important because it will help you determine how much to offer on the home.
Keep in mind that if the property is priced below market value, it’s likely there will be multiple offers. In addition to putting in your best and highest offer, make your overall bid as attractive as possible. Include a pre-approval letter from your own lender, don’t ask for the seller to pay closing costs and it should go unsaid that the offer cannot be contingent upon the sale of your home.
2. Be Prepared for a Long Wait. Once the seller has accepted your offer, you then need to wait for the ‘real’ approval from the lender. It could take a while – anywhere from two weeks to six months or even longer to get a response from the lender.
You could make your offer contingent on the lender’s response by a certain date after which you rescind the offer. But keep in mind that the lender will accept the best offer, so even after you submit your bid, another buyer could outbid you while you’re waiting for a response.
3. Remember the Inspection! Remember that with a short sale, you’re buying a home “as-is,” so it’s very important to make the sale contingent upon a home inspection. But even if the inspection points out things that are wrong with the house, lenders typically won’t pay for suggested repairs, deferred maintenance or home protection plans.
Patience is the name of the game when buying a short sale, but good homes will come to those who can wait.