The landscape of short sales has changed DRAMATICALLY in the past 6 to 18 months. While all of the complaints you have heard about short sale taking a long time may have, at one time, been true, things are different now.
Why? There are several factors that have impacted the short sale market.
1. Lenders are now fully staffed. Loss mitigation departments that were overwhelmed when this market changed now have trained staff in place to handle the number of files they are accommodating. Lenders are also better able to predict what properties will become short sales, based on offerings of loan modifications and better market information.
2. Training is at a much higher level, both with lenders and with listing agents. One caveat: there are still buyer agents who refuse to acknowledge this segment of the market, bury their heads in the sand, and get information and training for short sales. How well prepared the agents are has a direct impact on how smoothly and quickly the file goes.
3. Most lenders now have STREAMLINED SHORT SALE PROCEDURES, meaning that files which used to take 6 months are approved in 45 days. I had a short sale with Wells Fargo approved in 19 days last month. In addition, lenders such as Wachovia are now giving incentives such as up to $5000 moving bonus to the seller and 30 day approvals. Gone are the days of months and months with no answer.
4. Second and third trust deeds are willing to take much less on their liens, allowing short sales that were held up in the past to proceed.
That being said, every transaction is different, and every lender is different. How cooperative is the seller? How quickly do they get the required documents in to the bank? How motivated are they?
4 months is a L-O-N-G time in this environment. I have put together a list on questions that the buyer's agent can ask of the short sale listing agent, to ascertain how long the file will take, and how able the agent is to deal with it. If you'd like a copy, let me know by contacting me below.
Best of luck.
Certified Short Sale Professional
Certified Home Retention Specialist
Blogging at: http://TheBremnerGroup.com/blog