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Five Valuable Steps That Will Get You Through the Short Sale Buying Process

by: Jeff Quintin, on April 25, 2011 - Uncategorized

Most of the time short sales are a seller-centric phenomena that comes up as an option one step better than a foreclosure. But not too much attention is often paid to the other end of the transaction – the buying end. When a buyer is interested in a short sale property, there is much to be aware of a lot that they must consider, heading into it. Literally, the process of buying a short sale property can be a long, drawn out journey. By keeping in mind these five key aspects, the process will be smoother and easier throughout.

Put Your Strongest Virtue Into Play: Patience

Short sales run on anything but a short time frame. The single most valuable trait you can have as a buyer of a short sale property is patience. The level of ups and downs experienced in a typical short sale journey can be harrowing for anyone but the patience required can make all the difference. From start to finish, the entire process can take several months and sometimes even longer. Agents often expect homebuyers to commit to 120 days for the entire negotiation and deal process. The opportunity is an incredible one and if you’re one of the lucky ones, the deal you will secure will be worth all the extra time and frustration that ensues.

Expectations And Predictability; Strangers In A Short Sale

A very normal expectation would be to know each and every stage of a home buying process. To understand exactly what is going on at what time and to be able to get regular updates. With short sales, things are so unpredictable that often none of these normal expectations are fulfilled. Repeated calls to your agent will prove counterproductive and end up in frustration on all sides. Keep in mind that at any given time a loss mitigation officer or loan negotiator will have up to several hundred applications on their desk at one time. In a nutshell, things take time.

Knowledge Is More Than Power; It’s Leverage

A listing agent often represents sellers and it is essential that the agent understands the short sale process entirely. With the plethora of applications on the negotiator’s desks, the need for sellers’ listing agents to be fully aware of all that is entailed in the transaction is very important. When something is needed to be submitted, it is the listing agent’s job to make sure the sellers provide that information on time and in its entirety. Having a listing agent who does not have enough experience can be detrimental to your experience.

There Are No Guarantees, But Often Worth The Wait

Yes, short sales can be a great opportunity to pick up a property for less than the market value. But this is not a simple feat. You must remain patient and willing to accept that it is not a surefire guarantee that the price you end up getting is the best deal possible. Keep in mind that the very nature of this process is volatile. One day a price might be agreed on with the seller, but the next day you both are unable to see it through after the lender reviews it and comes back with a different answer. The way it works is that the application is made to the lender, after which they have an appraisal done and depending on what the Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO) is they come back with an answer. The frustrating part is how long this can take. It has happened that a buyer is let down at the last minute after hearing back from the lender that the price is unacceptable.

Lenders Have Their Own Way Of Thinking

In this time of many homes risking going under, and after a period of many foreclosures, banks are very cautious. Now, more than ever, they have very stringent and careful loan approval processes. The thing that remains most challenging for buyers and sellers in a short sale transaction is that lenders do not operate in a way that makes logical and practical sense to the rest of us. In looking out for their own interests, they often appear removed from the human and emotional aspects of the deal. The best way to handle this is to fulfill all requirements as quickly as possible, including lending inspections, securing funds for the deposit, etc. As soon as the lender issues an approval, they want the money fast – anywhere from two weeks to one month from the approval date.
All in all, you stand to get a great deal! Just be sure to follow our guidelines and keep your eye on the prize. Be prepared for blips in the system and if things don’t turn out the way you’d expected them to, know in advance that there is a chance for that to happen. No one more than your trusted real estate agent knows how frustrating this process can be, that’s why it’s important to maintain a solid relationship with