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One of the most complicated real estate transactions involves what is called a 'short sale.' A short sale is simply when a seller of a home owes more than their home is currently worth but they are trying to sell it anyway as a way to avoid foreclosure which is much more detrimental to their credit.
For buyers, short sales can often provide a discount to a home that they would otherwise not be able to find and purchase on the market (everything else equal).
However, because the sale of the home is contingent on the bank's final approval of the price and other terms agreed to in the purchase contract; the buyer is often waiting anywhere for 60-120 days or more. Because the seller does not want to lose the buyer after so many days have passed, it is becoming increasinly more common in Arizona Real Estate for the seller to require that half of the buyer's earnest money to be deposited immediately after the seller accepts the offer and become 'non-refundable' for 60 or 90 days.
Earnest money is monies (usually a check) written out to the Title Company to be applied towards the purchase of the home at the close of escrow and is typically 1-2% of the purchase price of the home. What is common is usually a $1000-$2000 earnest money check, and so half of that ($500-$1000) typically becomes non-refundable for the 60 or 90 day period while the seller seeks approval from the bank during a short sale.
So the question then becomes...will I lose my earnest money if the bank counters in a short sale?
No. If the bank counters your initial offer to the seller (who initially accepted the offer before it went to the bank), you will have an opportunity to either accept, reject, or renogotiate your offer if the bank counters your offer at a higher price. Should you decide not to counter the offer from the bank, you can withdraw your offer immediately without losing any of your earnest money even if the counter from the bank occurred before the 60 or 90 day period expired.
This Q & A was just a brief portion of a short sale and these transactions require an expert to represent both the buyer and seller. Please consult a qualified real estate professional to represent you if you are considering either the purchase or sale of a home.
If you have any other short sale questions, please contact me today and I would love the opportunity to work with you.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.