So you’ve found your dream home only to find out it is a short sale. Nuts. Now what?
A short sale is a pre-foreclosure property. Perhaps the seller has stopped paying their mortgage and are in default, or perhaps the seller is on top of paying their mortgage, but are forced to sell when the market is down. Either way it comes down to one thing – the seller owes more than the home is worth and in order to sell the property free and clear of any liens the seller must ask the bank to take less than they are owed – thus the term short sale.
For a seller to qualify for a short sale they must be in financial distress and prove this to the bank.
For a buyer in requires great patience while the offer package and seller financial documents are reviewed by many many many investors.
Because of the tedious review process – a buyer must be wise when writing their initial offer.
How to write a good offer on a short sale home…
To be frank, when writing an offer on a short sale property you only get one shot. Once and if the bank accepts the short sale offer – that price is firm. During the buyers contingency period – if they find out there is an expensive issue – there is no going back to the bank and re-negotiating. The buyer can either walk away from the deal due to the new information – or the buyer can take a look at their other options on the market and decide what is best for them. Of course, as your Realtors – the Caton Team will try to renegotiate the price and if an appraisal comes in low – that’s ammo.
The good news – since generally the owners still occupy the home, it is not in too bad of shape and disclosures can be provided up front.
So, how do we write a good offer? Buyers and their agent will take into consideration the pro’s and con’s of the home and write their best offer after taking a look at comparable properties on the market. The short sale bank will conduct one or more appraisals of the home and if the buyers offer price is in line with market price – generally the bank will move forward with that offer.
Price is important but sometimes it is not everything. When writing any offer, a buyer will need to have a bank pre-approval letter, copy of their bank statements and pay checks to show their financial security. The short sale bank wants to be sure the purchaser is strong.
The terms of the contract are equally important. Time is always of the essence in Real Estate – it is even a term in the contract. When dealing with a short sale bank – a buyer and their Realtor have got to think like a bank – that means moving fast when the bank is ready. Close of Escrow should be a 30 window – shorter if possible. Longer than 30 days tends to turn the bank away. As for as contingency periods (time for the buyer to conduct their inspections and appraisal) the short sale bank will give the buyer the standard window of time – generally 10-17 days after acceptance. Having a tight contingency period will make the short sale bank a bit more happy. Also, the bank doesn’t move at anyone’s pace except their own – so giving the bank at least 3 months to review the short sale package is acceptable, longer is better if a buyer doesn’t mind.
Now on my end, as the Realtor – I want to make sure I send the bank your offer and all the paperwork by mail instead of fax so the bank has everything it needs and hopefully cutting down on the back and forth.
In the end, a buyer must write THEIR best offer, and whether they get the house or not, be comfortable with their purchase.
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