Finding just short sales can be a little bit more difficult since there isn't anything that they have to file with the county saying they are trying to sell their home "short-sale." They best way to find them is to look at the property discriptions which should always disclose if it is a short sale. If you would like me to send you some short sale properties I would be glad too!
Like others on this board answering your question, I really believe, now that you have been prequalified for a loan, is to find a reputable Realtor, one you can be comfortable working with. I believe that your goals should be more based on finding a great property. This new home should meet or exceed all of your "must haves" and many of your needs and wants. Equally important, if I am reading your question correctly, is value. This, in my opinion, does not mean finding a $170K condo that you can "steal" for $150, but finding a great home, at a truly great price. Your agent will assist you in negotiating price and terms and, working toward a win-win for both you and the seller. Your agent just may be able to find you a terrific property in the $150 neighborhood, that looks and feels like a much more expensive home. They exist, and inventory levels are good now, so there are choices. My advice: call a Realtor.
Why is it you feel it is foolish to put 10% down, when everyone else on this board and others suggests putting as much money as possible down. Thanks for the advice, and i have already considered all the factors such as PMI, Insurance, and HOA in the factors for choosing the 'potential' condo for me. And I'm defnitely not in a huge hurry, i have all summer. I am not interested in 'bargain' condos, but rather something new, fresh updated and well mantained at a bargain price. Seems to me a lot of condos in the 160s-180s have been on the market upwards of 60days, and this summer would be the time to strike a deal. I do have a realtor in mind, but I am keeping my options open in case I don't feel like I can get what I want. Thanks in advance.
I've been following your other questions on "Trulia Voices" and it sound to me like you are getting too many opinions. I agree that using a real estate professional is your best route. Why not, as a buyer the services of this professional are free!
Just find one that you feel comfortable with and let him/her guide you through the transaction.
What I do for my buyers is check comps, determine a fair value, look at the listing history, try to determine what the seller owes (unless it's bank owned) and put together an offer in conjunction with the loan officer that best suits the need of my buyer.
Remember, there are other factors besided sales price that can motivate a seller to accept an offer (i.e., closing date, seller concessions, a strong lender letter).
Give me a call and I'll look up the particular property in which you are interested.
John Keene, EcoBroker
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If you don't care about etiquette - and ONLY are concerned about getting a deal at any cost - then call up the listing agent and do your best negotiating. Why waste any time finding a professional to represent your legal and financial needs - and offer you guidance, when all you're looking for is a great deal?
It looks to me like you're being more foolish putting 10% down on your loan - as personally, as I'd NEVER put that much down if it was me buying the same place! Why the massive sense of urgency to buy now - has someone explained how the PMI on your loan and how the monthly HOA fee might make some "bargain" condo deals turn into financial DISASTERS for you? Why not 'leverage' your money a bit wisely instead too - and hire a very successful Realtor to negotiate an excellent deal on a condo for you instead?
One of the main questions I would have to ask is how long has the condo been on the market?? And whether it is a bank-owned property vs. a traditional home seller. If the condo has been on the market for a while and it is bank owned than I would say that the possibility of getting the condo well below asking price might be a reality. However, if the comps in the area are near the asking price and it is a home seller than it might be a little more difficult. Also, if there is a lot of competition in the area and there are a lot available that compare to the one you are thinking of buying than that will put you in a better negotiation situation with the seller. The one thing that I always tell my clients is that it doesn't hurt to try and submit an offer. In this market an offer is better than no offers.
If I can be of service to you, I would love the opportunity to help you out!
On another note, you will Need to put at least 10% down if you are getting a conventional loan as loans on condos in Denver have gotten much stricter as of late. Your mortgage broker can tell you about the details of this.
Deep discount can be found but they will be at a price -- whether it's sweat equity or just time, time waiting for the 'steal' of a deal to come around. My clients have had the best success just being absolutely prepared and watching the neighborhoods of interest for the deals the moment they come on the market.
You need to find out how the condo/townhouse market is in the area you're looking at. Is it soft? Cool? Or active? That'll give you some idea of the likely price flexibility of sellers.
You'll also want to know the real values of the properties you're looking at. Just because it's priced at $179,000 doesn't mean that's an accurate value. Yes, most Realtors will recommend a price close to what they believe the value is. However, ultimately it's up to the seller to decide on the list price. And at this point, you don't know whether the listing agent recommended $169,000, $179,000, or $189,000. Further, you don't know whether the list price, regardless of the agent's recommendation, is a good deal or not. (I'm not being critical, just pointing out that there are some missing figures in the equation.)
I'd suggest interviewing agents, and choosing one that meets your needs. And in a way it's good that you haven't chosen one yet. Because one of the things you're looking for is "saving money at any cost" with little concern about "proper etiquette." And that's fine. Some agents will be very comfortable with that. (I'd be, if I were in Denver!) However, others are reluctant to make low offers, if that's what it'll take in your case. You should find a good, tough, experienced agent who's not shy about representing your interests.
Once you do, then get a CMA (competitive market analysis) on the property or properties you're interested in. But, beyond that, ask the agent's advice. Not just on what the property is "worth." But also on any clues that might indicate seller price flexibility. (An empty unit, for instance. Or one that's been on the market for awhile.) Get your agent's advice on strategy.
Then make an offer that works for you.
Hope that helps.