What's the typical process when buying a short sale?

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Mon Mar 5, 2012

How long does it take? What are some pitfalls?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


kenmjohnson2, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Mon Mar 5, 2012
There are many different elements that need to be factored in when considering the decisions of buying a home short sale. From the sellers side it really does depend on the listing agent. If he has already done his due diligence and prepared the bank on the possibility of what steps we will take when the offers come in. Then the process of the purchase will go a lot smoother. The listing agent should have the bank on high alert should a great offer come in.

As far as the buying side is concern; make sure you are pre-approved and make sure you offer looks the best, chances are your offer will not be the only one.

The banks are obviously just a little more cautious now when it come to accepting offers. You are looking at around 45 days to get it done. I like to use the scenario of relationships. If you were previously in a bad relationship and you have a bad break-up...you will be a little more cautious when you meet that next person. Its going to take a little more time to establish that trust.
3 votes
Beatrice M.…, Agent, Sherman Oaks, CA
Tue Mar 6, 2012
Short Sales, love them or hate them. That premise starts with the Short Sale qualification and experience of the listing agent . Buyer's agent has to understand and know a Short Sale's ins and outs to educate the Buyer, however the listing agent is in the driver's seat to maneuver the transaction from pricing it accurately, accepting the best offer from the most willing and qualified Buyer(s), communicating with the lender(s), to closing or failure.

To successfully purchase a Short Sale the following are a must :

-Be prepared to wait from 45 to 120 days fro the entire Short Sale process to go through
-Be pre approved for a loan and have closing costs
-If your offer is accepted by the Seller, the listing agent will submit it to the lender(s) with his/her market evaluation to justify the purchase price, and a HUD statement (closing statement) that reflects the net proceeds to the Bank after closing, this starts the Short Sale
-Escrow is opened, a 3% good faith deposit is required
-Lender(s) will review the offer and all other documents, within 1-2 weeks will order one or two a BPOs (Broker Price Opinion) and possibly an appraisal to verify listing agent's market value of the property. This process can take about 10 business days. With the information from the BPOs and appraisal the lender will decide if Buyer's offer will be accepted or counter offered on price and terms (most likely the closing date and some of Seller's closing cost which Buyer may have to pay for)
-If lender(s) accepts the offer as is,a written letter of approval is sent to Seller which includes the final terms.If Seller accepts approved terms the letter is forwarded to Buyer and his/her agent for acceptance. If acceptable Buyer proceeds with inspection contingency and loan contingency.
-Inspection contingency can vary from 7 to 14 days, if any issues are discovered at inspection and Buyer does not wish to accept the property with the discovered defect can either submit a request for repairs or cancel contract.
- In a Short Sale properties are sold "AS IS" no repairs, because Seller , who is in financial distress, does not have the funds to make said repairs or give credit to Buyer to cover for their expense. The Banks may allow very limited repairs ,if at all, such as termite, retrofitting and regional disclosure reports.
-Buyer's lender will order an appraisal as well, if this appraisal comes in lower in value than the approved purchase contract, Buyer can either cancel or submit a request to Seller's lender to adjust the purchase price based on the most recent appraisal. Seller's lender(s) can take 3-10 days to review the new request.
-Seller's lender(s) can either accept the new purchase price or decline.
-Buyer can either pay the difference in order to close or cancel contract and request the 3% good faith deposit back.

No Short Sales are alike , approval or rejection of an offer weigh on listing agent's ability to negotiate a good offer and Buyer's flexibility of what is acceptable if the house is not in "perfect" condition.

0 votes
Katherine Jo…, Agent, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Tue Mar 6, 2012
Hello buyer when purchasing a short sale the time frame is different with all banks. I have 3 banks that give me the approvals within 30 days,some within 15 and some over 90 days. What you must understand is that it is a process and are you willing to waite. A of agents now open escrow once we get a signed contract which also requires your earnest money to go to escrow. Once we have approval your closing can be anywhere from 20 to 40 days depending on your lender. Also have your agent make sure the listing agent is experience and knows what they are doing. With all those factors being done it should be just find. I am a short sale expert and has closed many short sales. So if you are in need of more answers feel free to call me..

Katherine Johnson
Prudential California Realty
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more