When short sale, do you need to have inspection and appraisal before the seller's lender approval?

Asked by Sherilin, Evanston, IL Thu Aug 13, 2009

When you have short sale and dealing wiht short sale rider 20B, do you need to have an inspection and appraisal AFTER the seller's signs the contartc but BEFORE the seller's lender approval? That means that you may loose earnest money, cost for the inspection and appraisal if the seller's lender doesn't approve the contract. Any suggestions? Thanks much.

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Jennifer Ames, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Aug 13, 2009
Dear Sherilin,

Your purchase contract is not firm until you have the lender's sign off. So there is no point in spending money on the cost of an inspection and appraisal until the contract has been approved. Your contract should say attorney and inspection contingency are 5 business days (or something similar) following bank approval. That way you are clear that the meter on those contingencies does not start running until your contract is solid.

Regarding earnest money, most lenders want to see earnest money with their offer as a sign that you are a serious buyer and not randomly making offers all over town. Typically $1,000 should suffice. Your initial earnest money should be immediately returned to you after both the buyer and the seller sign a release in the event the bank does not approve the sale.

The earnest money is customarily increased after your have completed the attorney and inspection contingency period, which should follow bank approval. In Chicago, total earnest money is typically of 5% – 10% of the purchase price, and serves as the seller (or in this case the bank’s) insurance that you will indeed close on the property.

Best of luck,

Jenny Ames
Web Reference:  http://www.jenniferames.com
4 votes
Cherrie Cata…, , Chicago, IL
Thu Aug 13, 2009
I recommend ordering an inspection/appraisal after everything else is approved. In my experience, the buyers do not even put any earnest money into the transaction until its approved with the lender. The lender is the only one who can guarantee the purchase price. Don't waste your money until you obtain a written approval from the lender. This process can take up to 90 days, so be patient.

Good luck with everything and hope this helps.
2 votes
John Walin, Agent, Libertyville, IL
Wed Jan 23, 2013
oooppps this is way old, should have read first. trulia should pull 3.5 year old postings...
0 votes
John Walin, Agent, Libertyville, IL
Wed Jan 23, 2013
first thing to wring out of short sale seller is what is their hardship and did they comply with the lender loss mitigation dept requests for a completed short sale packet. If seller is faking a hardship its a strategic default thing and will hold up bank approval, seller is trying to get out of the shortage. If the seller isnt cooperating every time the bank wants something, they want to live there until they get kicked out and live for there 18 months free.

As for your question, worth it to see what repairs are necessary before the bank approves even if it costs you money. As for appraisal, that wouldnt come until you get bank OK. Typically I seen bank come back higher than agreed to to keep the deal together bring more to closing, be prepared for that. You cannot rate lock on a short sale so must float for 4-6 months. I like bank owned REO's way, way better.

if you like my answer, best answer and thumbs up me, thanks!
0 votes
Ann George, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Tue Jan 22, 2013
I would suggest having an inspection just for your own information and do it after the seller accepts your offer. Have it done during the inspection period so you can back out if you find there is too much work to do.
0 votes
Jack Lewitz, Agent, Lincolnwood, IL
Mon Nov 19, 2012
I see a lot of people are advising you to do your inspection after the lender approves the short sale. I think it should be done before because you are buying in "as is" condition and wouldn't you want to know if there are serious issues before the lender approves the price you are offering. So it costs you a little money up front .
0 votes
Cindy Finner…, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Nov 15, 2012
The bank will need to do a BPO or appraisal before a contract is accepted. The buyer would be doing their inspection, usually after the bank has approved and accepted the contract.
0 votes
Todd Fike, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Nov 15, 2012

When you are purchasing a short sale property you do not need to do the inspection before the lender approval. But if you believe there is or could be a potential problem with the property that you would like to negotiate have considered during the lenders negotiations with the seller. I would highly recommend getting an inspection done and then when it is complete get at least three appraisals on to the cost of repairs. You and your agent should then take the front page of your contract and resubmit it to the listing agent and their attorney with an adjusted purchase price. The reason for this is because the lenders do not negotiate the contract after they accept the contract and all the terms. You want to get ahead of the bank and not waste your time on a property that might be in disrepair.

I list many short sales and as a listing agent I recommend that to every buyer and their agent, to many buyers I hear the same thing as these agents have said, "I don't want to spend the $300-$600 for an inspection.", the flip-side is, if you find something it could mean a $5,000-$20,000 reduction in purchase price. I have gone down both roads many times and after the acceptance from the lender I have lost many buyers because they didn't want to have an inspection and found things and were upset that they could not renegotiate with the bank and wasted 3-6 months waiting to receive an answer.

On earnest money, it is treated just like any other deal. You submit an initial amount and it normally goes up after attorney review period, somewhere between 2% to 10% of purchase price. When I preform my short sales I ask for initial earnest money to be the whole amount, so I am willing to accept anywhere from 2% on up. The reason for that is because Illinois is an attorney state, the attorneys will extend the review date out so far that it runs right up to the closing date at times. So if I receive earnest money at that point we will need to jump though hoops to get receipts and bank statements to the lender to prove where the money went, so underwriting can approve the funding and know where all monies are. My way just simplifies the process and everyone knows where everything is at and we are all upfront. If something goes wrong with the inspection or attorney review, just like in a normal sale you can cancel and request your money back.

Good luck on purchasing your next short sale,

Todd K. Fike
0 votes
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