Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Five Tips to Buying a Short Sale Home

Buyers are throwing up their hands in frustration. "Don't show me any more short sales!" Buying a short sale home is not for the faint of heart.

When short sales first started, people would ask if a short sale was short in time. No, actually if you have ever heard the word Oxymoron and wondered what it means, Short Sales are the perfect example of it (combined words that are contradictory).

However, with realistic expectations patient buyers are getting homes up to 10% lower than the comparable homes. Keys to successful short sales include:

1. Realistic Expectations. Expect lengthy escrows 3-6 months on average. Once the buyers and sellers agree on a price and terms, then the home should either be placed in the "Contingent" or "Pending" status on the multiple listings. This will signify that there is an accepted offer awaiting the bank's approval. The bank must approve the short sale as well as all the terms of the offer. If the seller refuses to choose one offer, and sends all offers to the bank, then it is best to continue to shop because someone else may outbid you. Remember, while most of the time, the banks will approve the short sales, there is no guarantee.

2. Short Sales in Progress. Seek out homes that have already started the process. In the past, if the home had been on the market a long time, everyone always wondered what was wrong with it. However, while short sales wait a long time for the bank to approve the offer, this question goes out the window. Those homes that have been on the market a long time may be just what the buyer is looking for. If a previous buyer changes his mind and the approval has been started, a new buyer may be able to slip into their place, shortening their approval times to 2-3 months.

3. One Loan Homes. Seek out homes with only one lender to get approval from. The more liens a home has on its title, the more complicated and time consuming the process is.

4. Closing Cost Credits. Buyers should ask for the seller to pay up to 3% of their closing costs. In return, the buyers should expect to pay for items that many short sale banks are refusing to pay for including: Termite work, Home Warranties, Repairs, costly second liens and HOA dues in the rear.

5. Vision. When shopping for a home, buyers need to have vision. They need to see the potential in a home. Finding a run-down home in a good neighborhood, can make a lot of sense. There is less competition for the home and the buyer can remodel it to their liking. If the work is more than carpet and paint, a renovation loan can be used to purchase the home. While these loans have a higher interest rate, the lower price can offset that.

So don't give up hope on short sales, they take longer but under the mess is the potential for a beautiful home.

--Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (619)258-8585 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


  1. Thanks for providing those tips. It really gives insight to the home buyers. Keep on posting!
    condo in Philippines

  2. Buying a home is really hard especially if you didn't plan it very well. This information is really help. Thanks for sharing this with us.^_^