How much should a home buyer offer on a short sale?

Asked by Marie, Richmond, VA Wed Jun 4, 2008

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Ryan Sanford, Agent, Midlothian, VA
Tue Nov 23, 2010
Hi Marie- That is a great question. The short sale is an art and very few agents are well versed on them in our area. I would first recommend finding a good buyer's agent that has the CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) designation and a track record of successful completed short sales. Your offer on a short sale should be based on comparable properties that have sold in the last three months. A bank typically is not going to accept an offer of $200K on a home that comps show a value of $300K. However, a good short sale agent knows how to get more favorable results for a low offer. When I represent a buyer on a short sale, I will quiz the listing agent of their experience along with look up past solds on MLS if I am not already familiar with the agent and their short sale experience. In the event the agent has little experience in a short sale, I will try to work closely with that agent and offer to teach the agent through the process so the sale is successful. Short sales are a great way to get a great price on a home if you have the patience and flexibility to wait possibly three to four months to close and a lot longer if the listing agent does not know what they are doing.

Ryan C. Sanford
Supervising Broker
Vice President, Richmond Branch
RE/MAX Allegiance
13204 Hull St Rd
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Tom Fleming, , Midlothian, Richmond, VA
Tue Aug 17, 2010
Have you had any luck finding one to bid on? I just listed on in area 22. Brick Cape that is subject to short sale acceptance. It is well priced at 160k. The home next door just sold for that. We didnt leave any fat in the price just put it out there for fair market value. I hope that helps give you some insight into some Sellers mindset.

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Jeff and Gin…, Agent, Vero Beach, FL
Sun Jul 27, 2008
We concur and want to support the opinion that you need the support of a good Realtor for a short sale purchase. Individual properties must be evaluated individually. Some are a bit overpriced but most are not. In fact the majority of short sales we have worked with have sold over the asking price. Sometimes the bank will set the asking price a little high, but other times the price will be an enticement for multiple bids. They purposely wait from 50 to 90 days or even more to collect multiple bids and then often want to negotiate a little from there. There might also be outstanding liens to contend with. Sometimes the bank will pay and other times, they expect the buyer to pay. Be sure to get title insurance.

Inspections are key. Be certain that you have a professional inspection with the utilities turned on. That is almost always a buyer expense also, but your Realtor has to obtain the written authorization from the real estate agent representing the bank to allow you the privilege of doing so.

Buying a home is always a complicated process. Banks nearly always use a Realtor to represent them, and you should obviously do the same. Good luck.
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Barbara Boso…, , 23230
Fri Jun 6, 2008
I have to agree with some of the other professionals about this one. Low-balling is not the way to go. Can you get a short sale property for less than the asking price? Yes and No. Depends on the comps, the location, the condition, and the days on the market. Do your DD - [Due Diligence is the way to go]. Then ask yourself these questions: how badly, how much do I want this property? Is my offer a realistic one? And while your agent cannot make your decision for you re: how much to offer....your agent should be able to provide you with information that will help you decide! If you need more information or don't already have an agent, give me a call @ 804-439-2272- I would love the opportunity to work with you.
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Wythe Shockl…, Agent, Richmond, VA
Thu Jun 5, 2008
All the previous answers are correct! Great advice from everyone. Just remember you will be dealing with the mortgage company and it will require patience and work. A realtor will help alot! So get one for this sort of deal. Call if I can help. 804-935-5936
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Danilo Bogda…, Agent, Reston, VA
Thu Jun 5, 2008
Cindy and Pacita both gave excellent advice. As they mentioned, "short-sale" doesn't mean "low-ball" and the banks will look at all of the comps to see whether your offer is realistic or not. If it's not realistic based on comps and the condition of the home, you will have your offer rejected or countered.

I'm not saying not to try and get it for less. But just be smart about it - don't offer $300K on a $450K asking price when the asking price is already below fair market value for the property.
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Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Thu Jun 5, 2008
A short sale does not mean "low ball". Most short sales are listed at close to market value for the property. The bank will not accept an offer that is not realistic. Work with an agent who is familiar with short sales who can help you decide what is the best offer and guide you through the process.
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Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Wed Jun 4, 2008
Get educated about the market, the comps, the background of the home itself, how much is owed, how long the property has been for sale and for how much, and it the property is priced aggressively to sell. Your realtor can provide guidance to you in these areas.

A short sale listing doesn't and shouldn' t automatically mean you should submit a lower offer than list price. Those who insist on lowball offers may encounter rejections more often than those who are realistic about market value.

Last week, I advised my client to write a higher offer than list because the value of the property, even as a short sale, seemed substantially higher. It's a good thing we did, because it received multiple offers, and we managed to squeak by a very tiny margin.

At times like this, it helps to have a professional on your side, looking out for you.
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The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Wed Jun 4, 2008
Your Realtor should be able to guide you in your specific area. If you're not working with a Realtor, you should seriously consider you one. The seller pays the fees. Short sales can often be long, grueling transactions...get help! By the way....even if you offer the full listing price, the is a chance that the bank will counter higher. Good luck!
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