What is Reasonable to Negotiate When You Buying a Northern Virginia Short Sale?

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

What is Reasonable to Negotiate When You Buying a Northern Virginia Short Sale?

The question above can bring to mind many aspects of a real estate transaction.  Price is first and foremost, followed a close second by closing cost help.  Then there's condition.  And last, but not least, conveyances.

PRICE:  Forget what you've heard about bagging a Northern Virginia Short Sale for 50% of it's market value.  Banks are losing money hand over fist.  If you think a seller in a traditional sale can be a pain when it comes to getting their price, you haven't worked with a Short Sale Bank.  Treat making an offer on a Northern Virginia Short Sale like you would making an offer on any other home when it comes to price.  What matters most when comparing it to the other sales in the neighborhood is condition and similarity to those that have sold.

CLOSING COST HELP:  Just because a seller of a Northern Virginia Short Sale is not making a profit on the sale of their home, there can be tax consequences on the forgiven mortgage debt.  So the more money that goes to the bank, the better.  Remember, it's not the bank paying those closing costs, it's actually the seller.  So don't be surprised with a seller of a Northern Virginia Short Sale counters your 20% financed offer, asking for 3% in closing cost help, with no closing cost help.  Don't ask for anything you don't NEED.

CONDITION:  If you are lucky, you will have found a Short Sale that has been well maintained.  However, it is common sense that if a seller is in enough financial hardship to have to sell their Northern Virginia home in a Short Sale, that there may be outstanding maintenance issues.  Deferred maintenance can lead to problems in a home, and a home inspection should uncover any that are not immediately obvious when you view the home.  And because those who are selling in a Short Sale are in financial distress, the requests you may make of a seller in a traditional sale may be going overboard.  For instance, requesting that all holes in the wall from pictures and curtain rods be patched and painted is going too far.  You are truly buying a home in As-Is condition.  That means what it means.  If the carpets are stained, they'll be stained when you purchase the home.  If there are nail holes in the wall, they'll be there when you move in.  Just thank your lucky stars if those are the biggest condition issues you face.

CONVEYANCES:  Items that stay with the home are usually the appliances and anything attached to the home via plumbing or wiring.  However, you may find that some appliances will not convey with the home.  Sometimes you can find a seller who is having a very hard time emotionally detaching from the home.  Asking for items like custom drapes, while seemingly reasonable to a buyer, can send the seller of a Northern Virginia Short Sale into an emotional tailspin.  Whatever stays will be negotiated when you make your offer.  Don't expect big ticket items to convey.  If there is a flat screen TV mounted on a wall, you can ask for it, but don't be shocked when the seller says no.  Items a seller paid for out of pocket are not staying in a home they are not making money on...unless they were made specifically for the home, like blinds.  Even then, a seller may decide to take them.

Purchasing a Northern Virginia Short Sale really boils down to being aware of the financial hardship on the other side of the transaction.  Asking for the sun, the moon and the stars is not a good way to go about getting a Northern Virginia Short Sale.  Be reasonable and try to appreciate the strain that has lead the sellers to sell their home.  You don't need to know specifics to know that there is a reason they are selling their home without making a dime.



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Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent

Happy New Year Chris Ann!  Anyone considering purchasing a Short Sale property needs an experienced Realtor to help them through the process.  Your post shares good information so that the buyer can be prepared for the process.

Jan 01, 2012 12:22 PM #1
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Chris Ann - It's all about market value, regardless if it's a tradtional sale or short sale, yet so many buyers think they can steal a short sale, not happening.

Jan 01, 2012 01:14 PM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Donna:  Buyers.  Sellers.  I'll help either side.  Short Sales get a bad name, but they really shouldn't.

Michelle:  No kidding.  It's the same thing as walking up and asking the bank to just GIVE you money.  Not happening.

Jan 01, 2012 01:20 PM #3
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Good morning and Happy new Year Chris Ann, Short sales are gioing to be the challenge of the year. This is a great view of what a buyer needs to do. Northern Virginia buyers can gain a BIG advantage using you to help them buy a short sale. Have a great Monday

Jan 02, 2012 02:46 AM #4
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Chris Ann.  Short Sales are always such a challenge for me.  I don't list them, but boy do I show my fair share.  I Always hope to find a short sale expert on the listing side like you.

Jan 02, 2012 10:09 AM #5
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Chris Ann--Yes, short sales are a challenge, but we need to ask ourselves if we are up to the challenge.  Isn't that why we are in this business? to help other?  Thanks for sharing your expertise.

Jan 02, 2012 11:51 AM #6
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Scott:  Buyer or Sellers.  I can help either.  And having the Short Sale background helps me with traditional sellers too.  Got to know your competition.

Belinda:  And I'm sure I'd love working with a Buyer's Agent like you.

Mary:  That's why I'm in it.  Here to help my clients, and if that means talking to their banks, that's part of the job.

Jan 03, 2012 09:21 AM #7
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Chris Ann

My experience it is better to ask up front for buyer closing cost credits. I find more than 50%, probably a little higher, of the reos here will allow the 3%. If they don't, they generally state so in the MLS.

I agree with you on your price comment. The vast majority of buyers who are making offers for the first and still most of my investors think they can get "the deal". Many are surprised when there are often 3+ offers and at least one is cash.

cheers in 2012 cvc

Jan 04, 2012 04:41 AM #8
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Curtis:  The difference between the REO and a Short Sale in closing costs can mean more money in taxes on the unpaid mortgage balance.  After all, in a Short Sale, the bank is not the one paying the commissions and credits.  It's the sellers.  It's coming off the top and the net goes to the bank.  So if a Seller can negotiate those credits down, the better off they are.

Jan 05, 2012 04:19 AM #9
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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