While much of the Bay Area has seen a large increase in the number of homes being sold as short sales there have not been very many Menlo Park homes or Palo Alto homes that are being sold this way. However, as long the housing market has not appreciated back to the peak levels, and there are still people who need to sell homes that are worth less than the mortgages on them, short sales will be here, and possibly in increasing numbers. So what happens when you find a home you really want to buy but it is priced higher than the market value and you can not get the seller to budge?
At this point it is time to get your realtor to do some investigation. Find out when the home was purchased or refinanced, and for how much. Add in the transfer taxes, closing costs, and commissions, and if that number is above the list price then what you have is possible ostrich seller. This seller has his/her heard buried in the ground and will not look at the realty of what is going on. Maybe your agent can help, if your agent is an experienced short sale agent.
If your agent can convince the seller's agent to attempt a short sale you may be able to get the house. Since it is unrealistic to expect that the seller will make any money on the house, if they have to sell you may be in luck. If they do not have to sell there is nothing you can do about it, but it is worth a try to see if they are in the former category.
It is very likely that if the house is in a more expensive city, like Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Atherton, Los Altos, the listing agent has never done a short sale and may need some coaching. They may not know that many short sales are being approved in 30 days or less, that hardships can include running out of savings or moving away. Ask your agent to have a sit down with the seller's agent and explain how a short sale works and why it might be worth a try.
Maybe you can help turn an ostrich into something more appropriate, like a flamingo.
If you have nay questions about Short Sales, please feel free to ask.
Keller Williams Realty