Home Selling in 23185>Question Details

Jon Wilson, Other/Just Looking in 23693

What do I need to do to buy a house that is a short sale? What should I watch out for?

Asked by Jon Wilson, 23693 Fri Jan 22, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:


john womeldorf’s answer
Where do I begin if I want to purchase a short sale?
The first thing I advise a client to do is to look at your time frame and be really honest with yourself. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have the patience to allow this sale to work through the system, knowing that it may take months?
Do I have an alternative place to live if it takes longer than 90 days?
Will I be able to accept a house in "as is" condition?

After you have answered yes to these questions, then you need to talk with an agent who is experienced in short sale transactions. They understand the time frames involved, they know the right questions to ask the listing agent, and they are aware of the pitfalls so that they can guide you through the process to avoid them.

Because short sales can be tricky, I would advise selecting an agent who has successfully closed at least a few short sale deals. There are also classes agents can take to educate them on the short sale process. So first ask yourself the above questions ( be brutally hones with yourself ), and then ask your agent; “When was your last sold short sale?” Have you taken classes on Short Sales? Are they on any team or in any group that focuses on Short Sales?

Additionally, it's wise to select a settlement company that also has short sale experience. If your agent has completed more than one short sale, they probably have a relationship with an attorney who knows the system. I know, I have a close relationship with my closing title company. This is important because they have to prepare the HUD before the bank will accept the offer. I will be happy to give you recommendations for a closing company should you need one.

John Womeldorf/ Realtor
Liz Moore and Associates
Williamsburg, Virginia
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
There are handful of great lenders/loan servicers that move the short sale process along. Yes that is a shock I am sure however we have lenders that have approved a short sale in less than 30 days. Just like any deal, generalizations are dangerous as every deal/lender is different. In the South Florida market, short sales are a large portion of the homes available. Find a great agent that is EXPERIENCED in short sales and they will guide you to the right situation. Also it is ok to ask for their track record in writing as it seems everyone is an expert. Our team LOVES short sales and we have closed 98% of them. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
Frank, I appreciate your correction... this was info provided by an individual company that works exclusively with short sales and foreclosures and is based upon statistics that show a bank generally gets 20 cents/dollar more (on average) with a short sale. Your advice and experience is much appreciated and exemplifies just how varied and complicated the process can be. The somewhat good news, however, is that the process should become more manageable as each player involved becomes more adept and educated at handling this ever-growing segment of the market... from the banks, to the lenders, to the agents involved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
Hi Jon,

If you are a first time homebuyer, I suggest you stay away from short sales, especially when there are so many other opportunities available, such as a bank owned (the proeprties already foreclosed upon), HUD's, or a VA owned properties. These types of properties can offer you the same savings in a purchase, yet have a more "guaranteed" closing date. With short sales, you're at the mercy of the bank, and I've seen banks take up to 6 months just to say "NO" to your offer. Last year, most of my buyers purchased either a bank owned home or a VA owned property, and still purchased the property for $30,000 to $80,000 under tax assessed value! The closing dates are firm, and the savings are great.

I also have to disagree with Jamie's reply stating "...banks would much rather negotiate a short sale than a foreclosure..." because in my experience, this couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, sometimes a bank will sell short, but the situation has to be just right. But here's just two of many reasons why most of the time, a bank would rather foreclose over selling short: (a) selling "short" can cause more damage to a bank’s portfolio over a foreclosure; (b) why would a bank take a $100,000 loss when they can foreclose on the property, re-list, sell for a profit, and more importantly, keep their investors happy.

There’s honestly way too many variables to state in this posting regarding the pros and cons of a short sale, but please feel free to call me and I'll be happy to discuss short sales and other housing opportunities available to you - no cost or obligation.

Best regards,

Frank Biganski, Realtor
Reliance Realty at Port Warwick
240 Nat Turner Blvd., Newport News, VA 23602
(757) 303-0517
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 23, 2010
Hello Jon

You can visit my website it has information on Short Sales Mike2VA.yourkwagent.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010

All good advice, but having just attended a seminar on the subject, thought I'd add more to the "mix". First and foremost, definitely work with an agent and company you trust, regardless of # of short sales, etc., 'cause just as every sale is different and complex, so too with short sales, but tenfold!

Long & Foster has a wonderful new program available to it's agents and clients, through "The Platinum Group" http://(www.platinumgroupservices.com) that deals/ assists your L&F agent AND you directly, FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF A SHORT SALE TRANSACTION, identifying every aspect/red flag/issue with a specific property and what is specifically involved in that particular property, including identifying issues with title, what the specific lender will require, etc. It is ALL they do, so they are extremely knowledgeable about changes, different requirements, and issues to consider involving a particular short sale transaction.

The good news is that banks would much rather negotiate a short sale than a foreclosure, so they are much more interested in brokering a deal before a foreclosure becomes iminent. This is simply because the loss and risk is generally lower in comparison.

So, there is no simple answer. If you work closely with an agent that you feel is working on your behalf, asking all of the right questions, AND directing you to do the same, you should be fine. I would say that this is your best bet... watch out for any unforeseen problems and get an agent on your side.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
All good anwers below. The only thing I might add is that you select an agent that has completed advanced education both on Short Sales and Buyer Agency. That would be a CDPE and an ABR combo. Here's why:

An ABR, Accredited Buyers Agent, has met educational and experience requirements for Buyer agency. We also receive updates and continuing ed on issues relating to representing Buyers in a RE transaction- no brainer., right?

The CDPE- this is not an OFFICIAL Association of Realtors desination- yet, but like the ABR when it started, it is a powerful advanced education that will soon be recognized as an industry standard for dealing with distressed property. NAR started a new program,, the Short Sale and Foreclosure certificate program (SFR)-- I have taken both and the NAR program is NOTHING compared to the CDPE.

Anyway-- many folks will tell you that the CDPE is good for representing distressed Sellers-- but the knowledge gained in that program works GREAT for Buyers, too. Many RE agents are not experienced in Short Sales, so if you have a listing brokered by an inexperienced SS agent, it can be very painful for the Buyer. As a CDPE, I have been very successful in "guiding" a less experienced agent thru the process with better results for all.

LIke Sellers, you might want to consider interviewing an agent to help you. Good Luck! Buying a SS should get easier come April too
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010

You've probably noticed the pattern of advice-have patience,be thick skinned,be persistent,hire an experienced agent not only with short sales, but with "normal" ones too! Listen to your agent, and be willing to follow their advice-especially if they have a track record of success. Success comes from failure-you can benefit from that more than you can imagine. Be willing to walk away when the bank or listing agent don't play nice-which is probably inevitable. And don't deal only with the lsting agent-you need your own agent for a short sale for many reasons.
Web Reference: http://www.JimMellen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
My best suggestion is to find a Buyer's Agent who has experience with short sales in your area to answer your questions & help you through the process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010

Like all homes purchases, you want to be approved for a loan before you start looking. Secondly, be sure to tell your REALTOR if you are on a hard deadline. If you need to relocate before the beginning of the school year, move out by the end of your lease, your REALTOR needs to know that information. If the lender has approved the homeowner for a short-sale, the process should go faster than a transaction that has not been evaluated by the lender.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
First and foremost you need patience. The second thing you need is an approval letter from a local lender that shows you are qualified to purchase. Then you need a Realtor® who is experienced in working with short sales and can help guide you through the process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
In the fall, I did a series of posts on short sales in my blog. I think you'll find it's pretty comprehensive. But, you really, really, need to make sure you have a good agent who is giving you advise based on YOUR situation and YOUR transaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
A short sale is a very complicated home purchase process and will require the approval of the bank. I will recommend you work with a Realtor.
Web Reference: http://www.WmbgRE.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer