How long does the short sale process take? If a house is a short sale and listed as pending, can I still make an offer?

Asked by Kay, Mesa Grande, Mesa, AZ Tue Sep 15, 2009

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John, , Newburyport, MA
Tue Mar 1, 2011
You can make an offer as far as I know in Nh and MA any way, but; I would not sugest making it without a backout clause so you can keep looking...
I’ve talked to agents who experienced 12+ months, and others who have seen less than 40 days, another agent explained that the bank who said they would not accept a full price offer that came "too quick" they raised the price and it didn’t get an offer for 90+ days.. But then they got an offer… actually 3, only after dropping "BELOW" the original price... Now they have an offer in, with a back out clause! It’s been 30 days with NO word at all! I’ve also seen them take a cash offer with agreement to close in 28 days... of course the inspection brought it to a sudden halt. How long? Go figure?! And yet to give definite time frames? Well, I guess it’s all depending on your experience with short sales... but; I would have to say “you never know” but that’s one of the reasons that short sales are not as great a deal as the price might suggest. Unless you’re not in need of moving in right away…
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Maria Galvan…, , Mesa, AZ
Tue Mar 1, 2011
Yes, but usually a short sale take minimum 3 moths, if you work fast to get a loan and a mortgage process.
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The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Tue Sep 15, 2009
the site below is a great resource for short sale questions
Web Reference:
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Carlos Ramir…, Agent, Mesa, AZ
Tue Sep 15, 2009

A short sale usually take between 2 and 6 months, most of them towards the higher (longer) end. Some can even take longer than 6 months, and many never even get an approval.

If a property is listed as pending the seller is not collecting back up offers, so you will not be able to place an offer. Under the same circumstances if a seller with an "accepted" contract wishes to collect more offers/bids his agent would have placed the property as AWC, not pending.

Carlos J. Ramirez, PC, ABR, CNE
Associate Broker/Realtor, HomeSmart -
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Tammy Coleman, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Tue Sep 15, 2009
A short sale process will depend on the bank and the listing agent. Ask the listing agent:

What is the mortgage company?
How many mortages are on the properyt? This will let you know if you have to get approval from one bank, two or manybe three.
Where are they in the process of the short sale? Update
Has the BPO/Appraisal been ordered?

This will let you know how knowledgable the listing agent is....also will give you an idea if you are wasting your buyers time.

If this is the perfect house for your clients and they are willing to wait....I would write a back up offer. Maytimes the buyers will get tired of waiting and withdrawl their offer and then you can be next in line.
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Patrick Thies, Agent, Anytown, IL
Tue Sep 15, 2009
Plan on short sales taking 3 to 6 months. If the house is a short sale and it's showing up as pending, then what has most likely happened is that the seller has accepted an offer. That offer is contingent pending bank approval. The bank must approve the offer accepted by the seller. The bank can deny the offer on the table which would make the offer null and void.

Can you still make an offer on this property? It can be argued that since any offer is subject to bank approval, that would make the offer a contingent offer. With any contingent offer, if a better offer comes in there should be notice to the first offer to better their offer. Many short sale addendum's state that the house can continue to be shown. The banks are in this financially they are looking for highest and best offers.
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Susan Ellis, , Phoenix, AZ
Tue Sep 15, 2009
Hello Kay,

That is a very good question without an easy answer. Short sales can take from 2 months to 10 months. Every one of them have different characteristics that influence the process, i.e. bank, how many loans, listing agent, and the sellers, etc.

If the listing is actually showing as "pending" then there is a good chance that the bank has already accepted the offer and they are proceeding under normal contract terms. If the bank has not accepted the offer yet, it will generally be listed as AWC (active with a contigency). The best thing to do to get an accurate answer is to have your agent contact the listing agent and check the actual status. Not every agent updates the MLS correctly and timely.

With all that being said, most short sales that do not have an accepted offer by the bank will take "back up" offers. These are generally held from the bank and will only be presented if and when the pending offer is declined. If you submit an offer before the first one is presented to the bank, the agent may submit both (several), or ask for "best and final" of all interested parties and then submit the highest offer.

I know this may not have directly answered your question, but I help it hopes a little.

Feel free to contact me for any additional questions at

Susan Ellis
Web Reference:
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CCC, Home Owner, San Diego, CA
Tue Sep 15, 2009
I had got approvals between 21 days to 90 to never.
You might be able to write an offer but it will be a backup offer, meaning that only if the first offer, and the second and any others before you (if any) do not close, then you are in the game. Maybe you would not even be able to do it since you mention it is pending wich means off the market.
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