Considering offer on a short sale in FL. Sellers moving out now--we won't close for 90 humid days.I want AC left on, they don't. What are?

Asked by Brianne, 33716 Sun May 1, 2011

my options? Any cases of buyer taking keys to maintain home until close? What about reimbursement of expense at closing?
Thanks!

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15
Caroline York, Agent, St Petersburg, FL
Wed May 4, 2011
Brianne,
The key word you used is "considering." Do you know if any other offers have been made on this property or is yours the first? Is this an "approved" short sale? That means that a former offer along with all of the seller's application for hardship and all their financial paperwork was submitted to the bank and the bank approved the seller as a hardship case and a sale price was set by the bank. Yes, it is that complicated for the seller.

Don't count on the seller ever checking in on the house once they leave. Don't expect them to leave the utilities on - it won't happen. It shouldn't happen. I would never recommend a seller allow the utilties be paid by anyone else. Sellers in short sale situations already have financial problems. They can't afford more complications. The house is going to be vacant until someone else moves in. Period. No electricity. No air conditioning. If you make an offer and get an effective contract just expect the house will remain vacant until you go to settlement - 60, 90, 120 days. Humidity yes, air conditioning no. Think about it.
1 vote
Pamela Cohn, Agent, Clearwater, FL
Mon May 2, 2011
Brianne,

Short Sales are still very much the "wild west", with different lenders having different rules. If you don't have a time line that you HAVE to move by it may be an option for you...BUT...find a professional Realtor to walk you through it. Basics you need to find out from the listing agent, even if this is your agent also:
1. Does the Seller qualify as a hardship case for a short sale and have they filled out their financial package?( If they have not don't get involved. If they are not willing to provide the information up front it only gets worse later.)
2. How many loans are on the property? More than one greatly reduces your chances of closing. More than 2 serioulsy consider running.
3. Have lis pendems been filed and by who? HOA's and PMI companies can be some of the most difficult to work with. They have lost money too and have to sign off to approve the deal. They are all going to look at what method loses them the least.
As far as TIME...it is a guess on Short Sales...90 days is good. Most lenders want to see the Buyer commit to at least 90 days for them to even look at the package. This does not mean closing in 90 days. Remember each lien holder will go through the process.
4. Is there an attorney negotiating for the Seller with the lender? Some agents will disagree with me. I will not list a short sale without the Seller having an attorney. The legal liabilities are too great. If I am working with a Buyer I explain how this effects them. Only an attorney or a licensed mortgage broker can negotiate a loan amount legally in Florida. Watch for the next wave of lawsuits from Sellers who got legal advice from those other than lawyers. For a Buyer this can mean a Seller backs out at the 11th hour. Releasing the mortgage does not in itself remove the note. The debt of the note must be negotiated.
5. How does the Comparative Market Analysis of other like homes compare to this one? If it is priced too low the lender will not accept it. I use to hear they were looking for 83-92% of market value. Now they are getting stricter and I am hearing 92% to market value. You want to make sure the realtor is not just looking to get any offer to get the bank to talk to them...aka wasting your time, knowing it will not sell at this price..

As for your question regarding the AC, the Seller still owns the property, so lenders will not pay for the AC to be left on. It is not their asset yet. If the Seller has already vacated the property there is little to no motivation to do so, and they may truly be unable to afford it. You could check with the agents to see if it could be put in your name from contract to close. The financial liability would be yours. This may not be allowed because if the deal does not close and you leave a bill unpaid, the owner has additional liens to worry about from the utility company. As for keys to maintain the property before closing....big NO NO in the real estate world, due to insurance and other legal liabilities. You might be able to have an attorney draw up a rental contract where you pay all utilities and any rent money above the utilities cost would go directly to paying HOA fees (if any), which may also be in arrears or rent goes to the lender. This could require you to get insurance also. Present these questions to your Realtor. Only you can decide if these additional expenses still make it a good deal.


Sometimes the best deal is just a motivated Seller that has to move. Keep all your otions open. Good luck.

Sincerely,

Pam Cohn
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761
pcohn@prutropical.com
727-204-7155
1 vote
Antonio Vega…, Agent, Saint Cloud, FL
Mon May 2, 2011
If you offer to pay it I cannot imagine the seller being against it. If they fear you will stop paying and damage their credit, you can always give a credit to the title company handling the SS and have them disburse to the electric Co., that should set the seller at ease.

Tony Vega
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sun May 1, 2011
Brianne,

Your scenario sounds similar to that of a rental situation. Why wouldn't you offer to pay the utilities? End of problem....

Bill
Web Reference:  http://michaelsaunders.com
1 vote
Liane Jamason, Agent, Saint Petersburg, FL
Sun May 1, 2011
There's nothing that requires the Seller to leave the A/C on in most contracts. If you want it on, you could offer to pay for the electric bill, but short of that you may be out of options. The bank will not reimburse for that type of expense.

Liane Jamason, REALTOR
Keller Williams Realty
Serving Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties
813-486-4997
Web Reference:  http://www.lianejamason.com
1 vote
Budd Morris, Agent, saint petersburg, FL
Thu Mar 26, 2015
Make sure you put it into the contract and they accept it.
0 votes
Matthew Masc…, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Thu Mar 19, 2015
Put it in the contract!!!
0 votes
Budd Morris, Agent, saint petersburg, FL
Thu Mar 19, 2015
Not much you can do until the bank gets involved
0 votes
Terri Medici…, Agent, Manorville, NY
Tue Mar 17, 2015
what about putting a humidifier on that is hooked up to a hose for drainage. You have to check it frequently to make sure that the water is emptied. You can also offer to pay for the electric while the air condition is on. Unfortunately the short sales are sold as is unless there is something else written in your contract. Any expenses that you incur will probably be out of pocket that is why I would speak to your agent or attorney to see if there is something that you can do.
0 votes
Terry Hooker, Agent, Palm Coast, FL
Tue May 31, 2011
Hi Brianne, Due to the home being sold as a short sale, the seller has no motivation to keep the AC on as he or she is losing money on the home. If you have a real estate agent the agent may choose to place the electric in his or her name in order to keep the AC running for you. Where is the home located in Florida? You can email me at terry@argtoday.com. Please fell free to visit our web site by going to http://www.argtoday.com
Thanks for the questions.
0 votes
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Wed May 4, 2011
Brianne,

Have you considered taking a chance and breaking your lease and renting this home before closing?

It's risky because the bank may come back with a much higher price than you're willing to pay and then you will have to move out again.

Also if the seller never gets approved for a short sale he may just let it foreclose and it wouldn't be fun having the sheriff show up to escort you out.

Good luck!
Alma
0 votes
Terry Hooker, Agent, Palm Coast, FL
Mon May 2, 2011
I can't agree with the last agent about short sales. You should be working with an agent. Have that agent do a market analysis on the home you want to buy and that should give you a good idea if the home is priced right. Not all agents price the home low. And typically banks will come down from the current market value by as much as 15%.. As far as having the AC kept on, the seller isn't likely to do that as they are losing money on the home anyway. Your agent could put the power in his or her name possibly and keep it on for you. However the power company in your area may not allow them to do that. You'll have to check on that. I really don't think having the power down for the next 60 days will hurt anything though. Good Luck.
0 votes
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Mon May 2, 2011
Brianne,

Remember that a short sale often has an unrealistically low list price so unless your offer is near full market value, don't expect the lender and PMI companies to accept the price set by the seller and listing agent. Also many sellers, if not forgiven the loss will refuse to close and just keep it as a rental property. Many PMI companies are also forcing sellers to sign a Promissory Note to repay the loss and sellers will backout on that, too.

I would recommend that you not waste time with a Short Sale unless it has been previously approved and can expect to close within a month or two. A lot of damage can occur from the time you see a short sale and when it eventually gets approved (many never get approved so your utility costs may be a pure waste of money). The owner also could rent it out to a negligent tenant with large dogs that damage the cabinets and urinate/defecate in the house, etc.

As a Short Seller, they will simply sell to another buyer if you attempt to make any demands. Also even though the appliances, light fixtures, window treatments, etc are included in the contract, you may find that on the day before closing all of these things have been sold by the seller on Craigslist.

The best situation is if the seller is qualifying under the HAFA short sale program because they will have an incentive to close because they will get a check for $3,000 at closing. The worst scenario is a sleazy owner or investor flip where they will not only drag out the process for as long as possible to collect rents but also will try to "flip" it for full market value to the next buyer!

Caveat Emptor!
0 votes
Darla Schroe…, Agent, Madeira Beach, FL
Sun May 1, 2011
Hi Brianne. Closing in 90 days on a short sale transaction could be an optimistic guess unless it is a pre-approved short sale. If there is a Realtor/s representing the seller and/or representing you as a buyer, the best bet is to have the real estate professionals work out a solution that is acceptable to you and the current owner. Perhaps the owner can be persuaded that leaving the A/C on at even a relatively high degree would be minimal cost compared to the damage that could result from heat and possible mold. This damage could cause result in a lower sales price and, therefore, a higher amount of deficiency owed the lien holder in the possible event of a deficiency judgment. Otherwise, please be assured that there are plenty of other well priced homes on the market in Pinellas County that are well maintained and present less risk. Good luck, and let me know if I can help.

Darla Schroeder, Realtor, CIPS, GRI, e-PRO
Century 21 Real Estate Champions
Madeira Beach, FL
0 votes
Marge Bennett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sun May 1, 2011
if it weren't a short sale, you would have more options. any way you could move up the closing? Sending a few dollars to the power company each month would be the easiest solution.
0 votes
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