Sean Dunham, Home Buyer in Tampa, FL

Short Sale or Not to Short Sale?

Asked by Sean Dunham, Tampa, FL Thu Dec 27, 2012

It seems as though 9 out of 10 houses that I find are short sale or short sale "under contract" and I have been having a hard time finding a place that meets my needs and is not a short sale or foreclosure. I have been told by friends and realtors to avoid them like the plague, but I have also read that in Florida especially, banks are trying to move them faster now and that you might get an awesome deal pretty quickly these days. My question is, do I keep looking, or attempt a short sale home? (I am not in a huge rush to get into a new place and have 3-6 months if needed)

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I sure would like to know where anyone is buying a short sale and is able to close in 45 days. It is January and my husband and I put a deposit on a short sale with a "motivated to move seller and bank" in mid-March 2012 and we're still awaiting approval. Everything's been signed and re-signed and if we didn't love the house so much or we didn't have somewhere to stay in the interim that's reasonable, I would NEVER recommend this experience to anyone. We hesitantly agreed initially because at first we didn't want to subject ourselves to the horror stories we had heard. But, we allowed ourselves to get "sucked into the process". It is an FHA loan we are approved for but that in and of itself only took about 30-40 days to get approval on after answering stupid questions like "what's this address on your credit report" regarding an address where I lived at over 2 decades ago..and, every question has to be responded to separately and in writing. I wish you luck but, truly, steer clear if at all possible!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 8, 2013
There is more than one flavor of short sale. NONE OF WHICH will prove suitable for your goals!
There can be NO time constraints for a potential short sale buyer. You write you are in no rush and have 3 to 6 months if needed. THE MOST IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT OF A QUALIFIED SHORT SALE BUYER IS - "NO TIME CONSTRAINTS."
Some shorties close in 30 days, most take MUCH longer, some have endured for over 2 years. All will eventually put a time crunch on the buyer who thinks they have 6 months to burn.
Your situation must be paired with the correct short sale property. Otherwise you will become part of a sequence of calamity that is predictable. Work with a pro who understands the process, can assess your goals and suggest the best options for you. The "P" version of a short sale may suite you perfectly. However, there are still many other conditions that a buyer should meet to get a offer accepted on a short sale in order to avoid the chain of calamity.
The agent with whom you work must know how to get the right data from the listing agent. Be aware, this is not a buyer/seller negotiation but a buyer partnering with the LISTING agents negotiation team to get the best deal for YOU, the buyer, from the bank.
Now, how convoluted is that!
You, as the buyer, become the least significant, most isolated element in the process. It will prove frustrating.
You have options. You will need to chat with a pro to determine what works best for you. The right pro will create or find the best solution. Being a butterfly floating from one listing agent to the next will not prove beneficial.
Find an agent, commit, and go get a house.
Next year, they will cost more.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 28, 2012
Hi Sean, this condo is being sold by the seller. It is not a short sale or distressed sale. The owner has tastefully remodeled and decorated this condo in neutral colors. There are no needed repairs and it in move-in condition. It also includes a detached 1 car garage with lots of storage. Call me with further questions or if you are interested in seeing the inside of this spectacular condo.

Kathy Snead
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 9, 2013
Sean Dunham,

When buying either a conventional sale or distressed property, you will need a pre approval letter or proof of funds letter.

Although a basic question, it deserves comment. There was a flurry or push to get homes on the market as short sales to take advantage of the debt forgiveness act which has now been extended through 2014. Thus, a lot of nice homes were listed as short sales.

Given that inflation is present home prices (an immediate product impacted by inflation) home prices are beginning to rise. This may allow for homes slightly underwater to be sold as conventional transactions.

The cleanest "deal" that you can experience is a conventional sale. You select the home, submit an offer, negotiate the offer, inspect the property, negotiate repairs get financing and go to closing. Typically a 45 day process.

A short sale, you select the home, submit an offer, obtain agreement with the owner and submit the offer to the lender. Now the wait begins. Dependin upon the transaction, you might wait 30-45 days til the paperwork has been submitted and uploaded at the lender. Then the file is assigned to the negotiator. It is the negotiator that either accepts or counters your offer. Until then you are in the contract.

If you have a time line and a limited budget, try and find a conventional sale first and a short sale second. If there is one lender that is better.

Your time line is not the lender's time line. He who controls the money controls the deal. The lender in a short sale controls the deal. You pay, you stay, you don't you go. Sign here.

The longer you wait the shorter your time becomes.

Best regards,
Lynn Brock
Brock Realty Inc.

If you would like to search the MLS like an agent, visit our website and sign up for your free Listing Book account. This powerful search program allows you to set up your personal homefinder criteria and save your favorite homes, follow recent solds all in real time! Find the home you’re searching for quickly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 5, 2013
Absolutely pursue a short sale--especially if you have all cash. If you need to get an FHA with only 3.5% down then you may have significantly fewer options on short sales. A Seller may not want to take a risk with an FHA buyer because it's often difficult to get the sale closed within 45 days with an FHA. A cash buyer can close immediately and a conventional loan (5% down) may be able to close as quickly as 2 weeks http://( . Also if the house is not in good functional condition an FHA buyer cannot buy it unless they get a 203K mortgage to include the repairs. 203k are highly unlikely to be able to close within the 45 maximum allowable time period for a Short Sale closing so a seller would be foolish to go with this type of buyer because they would risk ending up getting foreclosed upon and a significantly worse credit hit with a foreclosure versus a short sale.

To make your offer more valuable in this highly competitive market, find a lender who can give you a full committment letter that is only contingent on the appraisal and clear title. A broker that doesn't actually lend money may not be the right choice because their approval letter is pretty much worthless and most experienced Realtors know this. Try a credit union, too.

Here's a helpful website about how to shop for a mortgage:

All the best,
Alma Rose Kee, PA
Future Home Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 4, 2013
Sean, if you have the 3-6 months I would certainly keep the option open for a short sale. You rule out a large % of the market if you don't.
You are correct banks are more willing to go the short sale route over taking the home back. Most agents do not like them since about 30% of all short sale contracts fall thru. The trick is as the buyer need to take control of the process as much as possiable. They are a few ways you can do that.
fell free to contact me if you have any questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 2, 2013
Hi Sean,
Many areas of Tampa are experiencing a lack of sellers willing to sell that also have enough equity in their home's value to clear the obligations and expenses of selling. The under contract homes represent buyers and sellers coming to terms to execute the sale of the home, and show that homes are selling in the areas you are looking. With the time frame of 6 months, I agree with other answers regarding short sales: they are subject to 3rd party approval and not all come to a close. That leaves bank owned property and sellers willing to sell. As we move out of the holidays, we may see more homes come onto the market, and while short sales will be part of the mix there will be some owners who are recognizing the health of the market and are readying their home for sale now.

Work with someone who can be responsive to the market, and if you are not local, will preview the most interesting property for you.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 2, 2013
It takes a long time to wait for a short sale approval, and the bank may not always approve your offer, so its a risk of both time and money. Here's a bit more on the subject:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 28, 2012
Hello Sean,

Currently our local housing inventory is extremely low. It also does not help there are a lot of cash investors to seem to be buying up a lot of the properties we do have available. I personally would not let a short sale deter you for buying a specific property. Yes, they do take a little longer then a foreclosure or traditional resale. However, short sales are not as bad now as they were in the past. If you find the right home and it is a short sale I would give it a shot. You seems to have enough time to get a short sale completed.

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions you may have.

Andrew Schmitt
Yellowfin Realty
Sales Associate / Property Manager
Cell: 813-857-1543
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 28, 2012
You are experiencing what other buyers are which is a shortage of homes for sale in some areas. First thing is foreclosures are the best deal as they can close sooner than a short sale. A short sale can take longer and the savings are not great. The more work a home needs the better the deal you may get. The key is finfding a short sale listed by a well experienced agent that has already started the process which cuts down on waiting,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2012
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