Please see my blog with advice and tips you will need.
Make sure your contract has a home inspection contingency, then have a home inspection done by a very competent home inspector. Once you have the home inspection report you will be able to decide whether you want to go forward with the purchase considering the condition of the home. Try to negotiate credits for any items that are considered to be a safety hazard but be prepared to walk away if big ticket items such as a leaking under ground oil tank or a failed septic system are not fixed prior to closing.
You may also want to see if the bank will pay for a home warranty on the house. Many items that come up during home inspections, such as age of the water heater, can be addressed with a home warranty.
A short Sale can provide a very good deal, but there are pitfalls to be aware of and you are very smart to ask about those up front. You got some very good answers. Take them all into consideration and best of luck to you.
Buying a short sale is not like buying a property in a traditional way. A short sale may have some risk but it also can be very rewarding. When you are searching for a short sale you will want to make sure you are prepared. Here are some things you will need to consider.
First of all, you need to make sure that you have enough time. It takes anywhere from 30 days to 6 months or even more to get an answer on a short sale. It really depends on many factors. The bank may come back with a counteroffer or reject your offer completely. In some instances you may not even hear back from the bank at all.
Short sales take a long time because the bank has to review it and they are back logged with many short sales and don't have enough coverage to complete them in a timely manner. The bank typically is willing to work with the seller and buyer on short sales to help avoid foreclosure.
One of the benefits of buying a short sale is that the bank is typically willing to accept less money for the property because of the time and risk involved. So you generally are getting the home at below market value.
If you have the time to wait, a short sale is a good way to go. One thing to be sure to ask when purchasing a short sale is, "who is handling it?" Is the Realtor an experienced short sale expert? Or is the listing agent using a Short Sale company that strictly focuses on short sales? By having someone with knowledge and expertise in short sales, it will make the process go much smoother and faster.
Tammy Hayes, Realtor, Sandals Realty, Punta Gorda, FL firstname.lastname@example.org
Taxes and liens generally all need to be cleared for title to change hands. Utilities vary so check with the companies who provide electric, gas, phones, cable etc. In my state they follow the owner, but you'll have plenty of time while waiting for the lender to check this out.
I would also recommend a walk through once you have a closing date and again just before you sign papers. Make sure everything you expect to be in the home is still there. I've heard of frustrated homeowners stripping appliances, fixtures and any valuables. It's rare, but it pays to be sure.