If our lease ends in November(can go month to month afterwards), is it too early to look for homes, particularly short sales?

Asked by Jeff, West Chester, PA Wed Aug 1, 2012

We need to give 60 days notice we are leaving after the 1 year is up, but we would like to move into a home as soon as possible. It looks like there are a lot of short sales in the area, which tend to be a longer process. Will a realtor focus on short sales with us, because a normal sale might be too soon for us. Trying to decide when to start physically looking, rather than perusing Trulia.

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Jim Simms’ answer
Jim Simms, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Louisville, KY
Thu Aug 2, 2012
I would ask your Realtor how many short sales they have actually closed. We are the largest mortgage lender in Kentucky and we do not finance that many purchases that are short sales. I hear a lot of talk about them but have only closed one myself, couple of my co-workers told me they haven’t closed any, most have closed only one or two. Urban legends - like that $100 Corvette.

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Thu Aug 2, 2012
if you are looking for short sales it may be too late, not too soon.... Short Sales are not guaranteed to even be approved so you could wait 3-6 months and find yourself having to start your search over. If you are pressed for time, a bank owned home may be a better option. You should start by hiring a well exerienced Buyer Broker.
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Jeff, Home Buyer, West Chester, PA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
Thanks that is what I figured if they want my business :)

I was looking around and saw PHFA has some new loans out. Does anyone know anything more about this: http://www.phfa.org/forms/press_releases/current/SpecialHOPr…

There isn't too much info out there, and most of the lenders sites I go to don't show that as an option.
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Nick & Trudy…, Agent, Devon, PA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
Jeff any good mortgage provider should give you advice to get the strongest application. always remember though that having a good reserve is important and you will need cash for closing and for buying things after settlement and as a reserve for any post settlement emergencies that crop up, so don't leave yourself short.

My recommendation is to use one of any local mortgage providers, I can send you a list, who will be at settlement. Good luck and let me know if you need any other help.

Nick Vandekar
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc
92 Lancaster Ave, Devon, PA 19333
Cell 610-203-4543
Office 610-225-7400

Check out my contact details: http://www.nickvandekar.com

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R. Eric Axel…, Agent, Cherry Hill, NJ
Thu Aug 2, 2012
Jeff, you understand correctly. Yes, a mortage professional will guide you with all that. If you think you may have items to pay off, it's even more important that you begin those discussions now. I recommend and trust Mike McKeown, Sr Loan Rep with Allied Mortgge in Bala Cynwyd. His number is 609.206.1973 and his email is mike.mckeown@mindspring.com

Let me know when the time comes if you want to chat to see if you want to work with me. Good luck!

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Jeff, Home Buyer, West Chester, PA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
Thanks for all the answers. Our lease "ends" November 3rd, so it is early November, but our landlords are awesome and I am sure they would work with us with the home buying process. The guy that lived there before us had bought a home too, so I am sure he had a similar situation with them.

We will be looking for a realtor and to get pre-approved soon. When getting a pre approval, are the lenders generally helpful with financial advice for qualifying for a higher loan(like paying off car loans to decrease monthly obligations)?
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Andrew Wulk, Agent, Downingtown, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012

You should get yourself PRE-APPROVED first to make sure that you can definitely buy something. Most realtors will require you to get pre-approved to ensure that you can purchase a property and get an idea of what price you should be looking in. Give me a call if you want to get pre approved.

Andrew Wulk
Senior Loan Officer
1st Trust Financial, LLC
(610) 280-3335 Office
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Daniel J. Br…, Agent, Exton, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012

Great question and as an Accredited Buyers Representative I have worked w/many First Time Home Buyers and there is no bad time to get out and see homes in areas that are of interest. This way you can narrow and elimminate areas for yourself.

I have also successfully worked w/Buyers needing time to settle on homes not a short sale situation.

Let me ask you..... Why limit your pool of potential homes? Lets talk about what timeframe works for you and allow me to negotiate an Agreement of Sale that will allow you to meet that timeframe.

Best of luck to you,


"I appreciate all your referrals, this is the highest compliment you can provide me and my services!"

Daniel J. Brudnok
REALTOR®, ABR,CSP,e-PRO, GREEN - PA License #: RS-225179-L

Keller Williams Real Estate
Direct: (610) 256-7258
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0 votes
Todd Reed, Agent, Exton, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
I neglected to answer the short sale reference. As other agents mentioned,
that can be a long process. Since you can go month to month you would have that covered.
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Todd Reed, Agent, Exton, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Jeff,
Not really too early. Remember that when you find the home that you agree to buy there will be a 45-60 day time period until you actually complete settlement (own it). So if you have a home under Agreement of Sale in September you would have a November settlement. I say start looking. Please contact me if I can help. Have been helping folks like you for over 29 years. Thanks
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Jeannette Ba…, Agent, Brooklyn, NY
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Short sales in some cases can take about a year and I'm not kidding it really all depends on the banks. But a realtor can definitley help you with a shortsale even a regular sale. you have to remember that when buying a house on the market it could take anywhere from 60 days to 120 days it all depends on the banks how fast they move, the title company and of course the lawyers... I hope my answer was helpful. Jeannette Batsikas
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R. Eric Axel…, Agent, Cherry Hill, NJ
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Jeff, I am working with a couple other couples in similar situations. One couple are renting until February and another couple have a home to sell first.

If you would like to get together to lay out a battle plan, please reach out to me over email.

Eric Axelson, Associate Broker
Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty
267.507.2287 direct
856.617.1212 mobile
Web Reference:  http://kurfiss.com
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Howard Urbine, Agent, West Grove, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
I always tell clients to start looking early because it gives them a better feel for the market and lets them hone what they are really looking for. The best listings still sell fast, 1 day, 1 week and if you just start looking when you are ready, you stand to miss a really good one delaying the decision, not knowing if it is the "right one". As for short sales, they are all over the board. Some can move as fast as a regular sale and some can be delayed for quite a while. Banks are far better at it than they were in the past. Some have third party facilitators in place and they move quite efficiently.

Typically when you put an offer in and it gets accepted/approved, settlement takes placed in 30-60 days. Most buyers financing the home like to settle at the end of a month to pay less interest at closing and that means the end of the month following the current month as less than 30 days is difficult for a financed purchase.

As for renting, you have 4 months left. If you look for 2 months to get a good feel you could easily give notice anytime after that when you find a home and have very little if any overlap between settlement and the end of November. Even if you find a home after 1 month, perhaps you could afford to rent for one extra month to enjoy a gradual move. In my experience short sales once approved must move fast to settlement so offering a delayed settlement may not work well with short sales. I have seen banks stipulate it must settle by XX/XX

Hope that helps,

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Rachel Carro…, Agent, West Chester, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Jeff. Keeping in mind that you may have to look at a lot of homes before you find the best fit for you, it might not be too soon to start looking - certainly by early Fall you should be narrowing down your choices. If you are interested in short sales, or any other specific property criteria, any reputable Realtor should be able to focus a search on whatever you choose. If I can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me!
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Kelly Steyn, Agent, Blue Bell, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Hi Jeff,
If you are looking to move November 30th I believe now is a good time to start the process. It can often take 2-3 months to find the home you want. Then, once you find a home and have an Agreement of Sale, settlement typically occurs within 30-60 days.
If you are wanting strictly short sales, that process can take 6+ months and it usually never set in stone. So being able to go month to month with your lease is a bonus.

If you want more details on how to begin the process, please contact me.
Kelly Kneeland
Long and Foster
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Nick & Trudy…, Agent, Devon, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Jeff it is never to early in your situation to start looking, first to educate yourself on what you are going to get with a short sale and to start to understand the process. It can still take a lot of patience to see a short sale or bank owned properties through to settlement. A first step might be to get your mortgage pre approval sorted so you can make an offer if you see something you like.
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Kimberly Col…, Agent, Limerick, PA
Wed Aug 1, 2012
Right now is when you want to start looking for a house especially if you are going to buy a short sale. Short sales can take anywhere from 3-12 months to close depending on how many banks are involved and if the listing agent has dealt with short sales before or if a short sale negation company is involved in negotiate the short sale with the bank or banks.
The first thing I would recommend is that you get approved with a very good mortgage lender. I would be more than happy to assist you with finding a short sale to buy!
Give me a call or send me an email so we can set up a time for us to meet to go over your criteria.
Best regards,

Kimberly Collins, Realtor, ABR, GREEN, SFR
Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council for 2011 & 2012
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