How to deal with the situation that the 'short' sale takes too 'long'?

Asked by Yingbrooke, 01609 Thu May 12, 2011

It's been 5 months, we get nothing from either the bank or the agent except for 'it's under control'. How can we make some effort to make them speed up, or even cancel the deal. We already gave them 1000 deposit, are we destined to loss the money? I think there must some maximum months, it could not take forever right? Thanks for your help, any suggestion is helpful since we are new to this business and want to learn.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Kevin Vitali, Agent, Tewksbury, MA
Tue Aug 23, 2011
Short sales can take a long time. As a Massachusetts Short Sale Real Estate agent, I have closed many short sales. My average response time from the bank is about 2.5 to 3 months then usually anothe month or two to close. Sometimes its less and sometimes its longer. There are questions you can ask up front to see how mopthly the transaction will go, but it is a little late for that. Some things to consider are who are the lien holders, how many liens are on the property, who is negotiating the short sale, do the sellers have a complete file on record with the bank or ready to go to the bank, and so on. Unfortunately I do run inot agents that try to handle them themselves and do not know what they are doing.

If you are working with a buyers agent they should be able to sort through all of the information. At the very least the agent handling the short sale should be able to tell you, a negotiator has been assigned, a BPO or an appraisal has been ordered, etc.....

In order for a contract to be valid in Massachusetts it needs to have an end date. Meaning the seller should have short sale approval by a certain date or you would close by a certain date. If it is open ended the contract may not be valid. If you would like to pul out of the deal contact a real estate attorney. Your deposit money should not be at risk if the contract was written properly. Good luck.
0 votes
Heidi Zizza, Agent, Framingham, MA
Fri May 13, 2011
Yes it can take what seems like an eternity. Ask if the package is complete and ask if the Seller has an attorney talking to the bank or a professional negotiator.
0 votes
David Kerr, Agent, Sonoma, CA
Thu May 12, 2011
Hi Yingbrooke,

The best advice is to go back and read your contract then talk to your agent. The answers are always in what you have agreed to in writing. Most contracts I have seen the buyer the right to cancel a contract if contingencies have not been removed. If you cancel under your cancellation rights during the contingency period you should get your deposit back as long as you have not agree to anything different in writing. What you have agreed to will be in the contract you signed. In California if you are using the RPA (Residential Purchase Agreement and the Short Sale Addendum) The Buyer has the right to cancel the contract after the specified period (generally 45 days) and get the deposit back if the seller has not provided a copy of the letter from the lender giving consent for the short sale. As for the length of time on a short sale it depends upon the bank giving consent. My longest short sale was over a year with B of A and the buyer hung in there till the end and got a great deal. My shortest short sale was with Wachovia 29 days… Short sales require a great deal of patience and waiting.

Bottom line, review what you have agree to then talk to your agent.

All the best!
0 votes
Joyce Lin, Agent, Leominster, MA
Thu May 12, 2011

Did the Seller's Agent represent you? If so, did they disclose Dual Agency?

Or did you have your own Buyer Agent?

Was the Offer subject to Satisfactory Home Inspection? Did you have a Home Inspection?

Depending on how the Offer was written, you should have some options to get out of the transaction, if that is what you want to do, without losing your $1,000.00.

If you didn't have a Buyer Agent for this transaction and it falls through, please get yourself a good Buyer Agent that will look out for your best interest!

0 votes
Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Thu May 12, 2011
No you have not lost you deposit, you can ask for you deposit back right now and tell the agent that you have lost interest in the property due to the amount of time that has been involved without an answer. Then shop for a nice price regular resale, you will find plenty that are better priced than a short sale!
0 votes
Judy Boyle, Agent, Marlborough, MA
Thu May 12, 2011
Hi Yingbrooke,

There are new rules governing how long the "servicer" of the seller's mortgage can take to respond. The question you absolutely need to have your agent ask the listing agent is:

"Has he or she sent in a COMPLETE short sale package?"

There is a long list of items the servicer needs to even CONSIDER a short sale. If the servicer did not receive EVERYTHING, then I can guarantee you that your offer is sitting at the bottom of very large stack of files.

Good luck!
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more