Why Are So Many Short Sale Houses Vacant?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827

A buyer asked me a common sense question: “Why are so many short sale houses vacant? Why doesn’t the bank encourage the seller to stay so the house will stay maintained and protected?”

He had just walked through a Louisville vacant house that the bank had neglected to winterize. He claimed the water pipes had burst and there were icicles inside the house.

The banks usually don’t expect the sellers to make payments while they continue to occupy the house during the short sale. Sellers can stay in the house during their time of dire financial need.

Sellers do not have to leave the house until closing, so why are so many short sale houses vacant?

1.      Sellers are spooked. When they get served foreclosure papers they don’t know the length of the process and they flee the house in fear. In my county of Jefferson County, Kentucky, there are usually 5 to 12 months from being served until auction.

2.      Sellers don’t believe or trust their lender. Too many broken promises from the bank. One department files foreclosure while other departments drag their feet on a loan modification or a short sale. We had a client get served with the foreclosure lawsuit even though the closing was set for the following day.

3.      The short sale process is so illogical and lengthy that the sellers can’t handle the stress and they leave. Coupled with the seller’s distrust of the banks, they have visions of coming home from work to find their kids crying on the porch locked out of the house with their stuff thrown on the sidewalk by the sheriff.

4.      Job relocation. The sellers can’t put their life on hold while the banks delay the short sale. The sellers and Realtors try to help the banks reduce their losses but the banks blow them off. Sellers and Realtors can only help the banks if the banks are willing to be helped.

5.      Divorce. Too many bad memories and/or court orders, and they’re gone.

6.      Sellers want to move on and situate their kids in a new home, new environment, and a new school district and cannot wait for the banks for an unpredictable number of months to approve a short sale.

7.      Sellers don’t want to live in the home that reflects broken financial dreams.

Banks Can Avoid Unnecessary Losses

If the banks would improve their short sale processing they could save themselves from massive losses resulting from hundreds of thousands of extended vacancies of short sale houses nationwide.  

Proper Guidance From A Short Sale Realtor Is Needed

Many of these sellers could have stayed longer in the house if they had expert guidance from their short sale Realtor. The proper guidance could reduce the seller’s stress level and improve their finances.


Posted by



Dave Halpern, Realtor

The Dave Halpern Real Estate Group

Keller Williams Realty Louisville East

Website David.DavidHalpernRealtor.com

(502) 664-7827



View Dave Halpern's profile on LinkedIndave_halpern twitterhalperndave_facebookDave Halpern QR CodeLouisville Foreclosure Realtors Dave Halpern


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Home Selling
Kentucky Jefferson County Louisville
Short Sales Specialists
The Ninety-ninth Percentile
Club Chaos
Diary of a Realtor
Voice of Reason
jefferson county
short sale
court order
loan modification
job relocation

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

I am sure the reasons you cite are common for many but none the less are foolish. There are far too many good reasons to stay until the sale is complete.

Feb 01, 2011 12:21 AM #1
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

  Our short sales are occupied almost all of the time....the need to relocate for employment is the only reason we have had sellers move...which should be a big heads up to lenders to mooove their processes of processing a bit more quickly.

Feb 01, 2011 12:21 AM #2
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists

We notice the same thing, but what we also notice is the poor condition that these are left in!

Feb 02, 2011 12:27 AM #3
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192
BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Good points, I've wondered about that too.  I see it in my local market.  Perhaps they rent before their credit is totally ruined?!?

Feb 03, 2011 06:26 PM #4
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert


Yes! I hear that too. Thanks for reminding me of that consideration.

Feb 04, 2011 12:57 AM #5
Bob Hertzog
Summit Home Consultants - Phoenix, AZ
Designated Broker

Dave, I think #6 pertains to most of my short sellers.  They are done, and want to move on!  The are tired of the stress, and many times they can find a rental that is a better alternative to the house there are living in currently.  Great post!

Feb 09, 2011 05:42 PM #6
Mark Peek
Roseville Rocklin Real Estate - Keller Williams - Roseville, CA
Peek Real Estate Group - Roseville CA Real Estate

Many sellers in my area want to cut their expenses and are down-sizing due to the economy.  In some cases the utility bills and maintenance alone can exceed the cost of renting a small house.

Feb 12, 2011 06:19 AM #7
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Dave Halpern

Louisville Short Sale Expert
Ask me a question
Spam prevention