Short sales are no longer a mystery to homebuyers and sellers these days. There is plenty of information about them on the internet now. You probably either know someone or know of someone who has completed a short sale in the past by now.
With that said, short sales tend to have the reputation to take months and months to get approved. Many buyers shy away from them as a result. Sellers get nervous about all the uncertainty throughout the process. In my experience in completing short sale transactions either as the buyer's agent or the listing agent, it really is a mixed bag when it comes to the timing. The good news is that lenders now have started streamlining their processes and have better staff on hand to deal with the increasing volume of short sales.
I recently have been working with three families who are all in the process of completing short sales of their homes. Just this week we were able to get written approval from Bank of America for one of these short sale listings -- we even were able to negotiate getting the deficiency judgment waived on the remaining balance (it wasn't offered to us at first, so that was an issue to work through). We listed the home less than three months ago and had a solid buyer in place who is now ready to continue moving forward with us. The sellers are relieved to have gotten this far, especially given the reputation from some who say that Bank of America is "horrible" to work with. So far I've only had positive experiences with Bank of America as well as otherlarger banks that I've worked with before for short sales.
As for the other two short sale listings, one is with two smaller lenders. The other is again with Bank of America, but this time we are pursuing the short sale through the HAFA program, which will allow the seller to receive a $3,000 relocation bonus and waiver of any deficiency judgments on the remaining loan balance (no uncertainty with that as with a traditional short sale). More to come regarding these short sales!
The bottom line is this: Short sales are not easy for anyone involved. Emotions run extra high during these transactions. But with enough preparation, communication, and properly set expectations, they don't have to be so lengthy or difficult.
For more information on short sales, the HAFA program, or other real estate items, please feel free to contact me. Thank you!