I'm interested in buying a short sale house, how long is the process before you can buy the house??

Asked by Scar72, Newark, DE Mon Dec 10, 2012

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Sophia Bilin…, Agent, Kennett Square, PA
Mon Dec 10, 2012
In a short sale process, there are many things that can derail a transaction. First and foremost, you need to be sure that all of the liens on the property have been identified and are negotiated. If there are multiple lien holders, the short sale negotiations are much more difficult.
Secondly even once everyone is on board with the short sale value, including the banks, the sellers could file for bankruptcy. This kills the short sale process. If you have already done buyer inspections and spent money on appraisals and loan apps, you could be out that money.
Lastly, the seller can also decide last minute to try for another loan modification. Even if you have an approved short sale, that kills the deal and, if the loan modification is denied, the process begins all over again if the sellers don't decide to file for bankruptcy.
Not only are you dealing with the vagaries of the various lenders that have liens on the property and trying to satisfy all of them, but you are dealing with the real lives of the sellers.
Sophia Bilinsky
Prudential Fox & Roach
Delaware and PA Agent
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Wayne Bartr…, Agent, Wilmington, DE
Mon Dec 10, 2012
What has not been said yet in a very few words is a short sale takes as long or short as the efforts prior to and during the sale were and are effectively handled by the seller and their legal group.
If the seller does all the preliminary title review and asset identification work in a correct and timely manner and is quick to resolve all title issues and other matters, it makes for a quick and efficient sale. If the seller can not handle these matters quickly and identify and resolve potential problems early then the sale can drag on while they get concluded.

If you want to pursue a short sale purchase your best bet is to keep your current housing as flexible as possible while you conclude the short sale purchase. I hope this helps. Call me if you need additional help.


Wayne Bartron
0 votes
John and Mary…, Agent, Hockessin, DE
Mon Dec 10, 2012

To help buyers with short sale purchases, I wrote up a summary of the Short Sale process http://www.teamluca.com/Short-Sales-How-they-work .

In addition to the information at the link above (which does give the time estimates you asked) you would want to work with an experienced agent. I am a full-time agent who currently handle 2-3 short sales a month.

If you have further questions or would just like to discuss the process and risks/benefits of purchasing a short sale, please feel free to call me at 302-740-5872.

Have a great day,
John Luca
0 votes
Mike Windish, Agent, Hockessin, DE
Mon Dec 10, 2012
The short sale process can depend on a lot of things. If it has already been approved by the bank, it can go relatively quickly. However, there's no guarantee. My most recent buyers found an approved short sale, and it took 3 months to settle. To be safe, I would say that you should be ready for it to take up to 6, maybe even 8 months, to settle. However, if you have a place to live in the meantime, it might be worth the wait. If you have any other questions, or need any clarification, please don't hesitate to contact me.
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Ashley Falko…, Agent, Wilmington, DE
Mon Dec 10, 2012
I agree with the answer below. If the short sale has already been approved it can be a much shorter process. However, I have also seen a bank withdraw approval for a previously approved short sale. I always tell my buyers to be prepared for a minimum 6 month process. If you're not in a hurry, a short sale can be a great option. Otherwise, a bank owned might be better.

When are you looking to purchase?
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Michelle Dee…, Agent, Fort Bragg, CA
Mon Dec 10, 2012
If the short sale bank has approved the home owner and sale price in advance, the short sale shouldn't take longer than 60 days. However, some listing agents will list a short sale before the homeowners have submitted their required documentation, and the bank has not approved the sale. This is where the short sale can drag out for months and months and there is no guarantee that at the end, the house will belong to the potential buyer! Always ask the question, "Has this short sale been approved by the lender?"
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