We would like to put an offer on a short-sale home. How low should we offer?

Asked by y, Appleton, WI Thu Jul 24, 2008

The house is suppose to go into foreclosure in the next 30 days or less. There is a lot of cosmetic work that we will need to do such as repaint, new carpets, yard work, refurnish the basement since it was not done well or professionally and various other things. The house is currently priced at $250k. We've been told that they will be dropping the price another $10k in the next couple days if they do not get an offer. Comparable homes in the neighborhood are being sold for $250k but are in move-in condition. This home is not. How low can we offer?

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Sally K. Han…, Agent, Elm Grove, WI
Sun Aug 9, 2009
We list and sell short sales and there IS a difference...or should be...between a home listed as a short sale and a traditional listing.....there is an inexperienced listing agent if there is not. Listing agent is the key here...if the agent listing the property is not experienced, that brings into question whether or not the property would close regardless of the price you offer. The price is part of it...but another huge part is also the package that the listing agent presents to the lender or lenders...if this is not well done and the listing agent does not have the time OR the team to do the necessary follow up and negotiation, you have wasted your time. First find out if the listing agent has SUCCESSFUL short sale experience....if not...don't go there...If he/she does....it should be priced to sell, not to sit. If you are interested in purchasing a short sale in Green Bay, we can refer you to agents with experience with short sales in your area. Lots of agents SAY they have it...not every agent DOES have it.
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Shane O'Gorm…, , Eau Claire, WI
Fri Jul 25, 2008
The question is not how low can you offer. The question should be if we offer $________ are we confident that we have put our best offer forward and are ok with possibly losing the offer if someone else offers higher.

Just because it is a short sale has nothing to do with the price. The short sale just means that the person selling it is selling it for less than what they owe on it. Potentially a short sale could have a higher price than comps in the area simply for the above reason.
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Robbeaux, , Lafayette, LA
Thu Jul 24, 2008
The $64,000 question:
The first step is to make sure that the agent representing you is an expert in short sale contracts . The majority of all short sale offers fail to close because the agents on either side of the deal lacked the training and the experience to successfully negotiate the deal. It also fair for you to have your agent inquire about the listing agents training and experience in this area.

Most of the time lending institutions will hire real estate agents to perform a BPO ( Broker Priced Opinion) to determine the value of a property. The problem is that most of the time these are drive by BPOs. The agent is paid between 50 and 100 dollars to drive by take a couple of pictures the compare it to other sold properties and competitive properties ( homes currently for sale). The secret is to control the BPO. An experienced Short Sale agent will complete their own BPO that includes an inspection of the interior and an estimated list of repairs that are needed and come up with a estimated value in the current market.
It is my experience that most lenders are looking to get 90% of the BPO. After costs and realtor fees this means the bank is taking between 18 and 20 % loss on the current market value.

Lastly make sure that you can prove to the lender you are ready to move fast and have the ability (money) to close this deal before they lose any more of their investors money. Another way to grab their attention is use the current lender for your financing. This makes it a win win for the bank.
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