We all know that short sale homes are in the news. Every one is talking about it at work. But really, honestly...what does that mean to me? I don't see that many foreclosures or short sales in Hawaii compared to the national news which covers mainland states such as Florida, Nevada, California, Ohio and Arizona. How do I find them?
The easiest way to remember what a "short sale" means is that when you sell or buy a property at a specific price, the seller is short of funds that he owes the lender(s) and or lien holders Or, the sales price is not high enough to cover the balance owed to lenders, taxes, homeowners associations, conveyance fees, marketing fees or commissions and other costs associated with a sale or purchase. If the listing agent or seller says that the property is a short sale, then what they mean is that even if you brought in a full price offer at the listed price, the seller is still short of funds to repay all lien holders and other selling costs at close of escrow.
A short sale is often dreaded by agents or buyers because a "short sale" transaction typically requires lender or lienholder approval if the seller does not want to or cannot come to closing with extra funds out of pocket (usually a short sale is only approved if the seller has no to little available funds). Lender approval can be as quick as 30-60 days, in most cases 6-8 months, or in some cases over a year. The time frame that it takes depends on the lender, the investors of the purchased mortgage(s) and the purchase transaction itself (the current value of the property, the amounts owed to the lender, the deficiency based on the purchase offer(s), the actual hardship of the seller, the ability of the buyer to perform (remember, if the lender takes time to negotiate and approve a short sale, the buyer needs to qualify for the loan at whatever the going interest rate is)), as well as, the skills of the real estate agent and negotiator.
If you are a buyer and looking for a bargain property, you might think you want to buy a "short sale" since it is almost proof to you that you found something priced less than what the current owner bought it. However, be prepared to wait for the lender to approve or let alone look at your transaction (some lenders have a 60 day wait to even look at the offer) because of their overwhelming work load. If you are hard pressed to qualify at the lowest rate or at today's rate and can't wait or get stressed waiting for the seller's lender communication or approval, a short sale transaction may not be for you. However, if you can be flexible, you may find that you can purchase something "under" market value because the lender may indeed approve your offer since they do not want to absorb more costs such as attorney fees and foreclosure costs. Let your agent know that you're looking for the best buy and I'm sure that agent will line up just what you're looking for. The ratio of short sales and REOs in certain neighborhoods is growing...