This is a question I hear frequently:
"How long will my Atlanta short sale take?
The easy answer is, not as long as it used to. But the harder fact is that it probably won't happen as quickly as you'd like. That is, of course, unless you've already done your homework and set your expectations based on research and readiness.
You can expect a longer time line from offer to close than would be expected for most ordinary real estate transactions. That’s because the short sale process is so much more complex. In our experience, the fastest short sale approvals occur when all the parties to the sale know what to submit to the short selling lenders, and when.
Why do short sales take so long?
In a normal real estate transaction, the seller has the right and the will to sell, the buyer has the ability and the will to purchase, and it is a fairly straightforward process once the deal is struck between them. A cash buyer can close on a property within days of signing the contract. And when any outside approval is required, it is -- usually -- only if the buyer is using a mortgage loan to purchase. In this case, the buyer’s lender must approve the new mortgage in order for the sale to close escrow.
In a short sale, the seller cannot transfer the property to a new owner until his lender agrees to take a loss on the outstanding mortgage debt. As you can imagine, making the seller’s case for a short payoff that takes some persuading, and making a seller’s case for shorting takes more time. Although short sales aren’t taking as long as they did a few years ago, the average time to close on a short sale is still around 90 days on the fast side to 120 days on the slow side. Most short sale transactions fall somewhere in between. And with an inexperienced agent, it can take even longer.
And in spite of a seller’s best efforts, a lengthy short sale period may be drawn out even longer when the bank has internal processing problems. Sometimes lenders are so swamped with short sale submissions that its employees can't respond in timely manner. Sometimes a lack of trained staff is the problem. Short sale departments seem to suffer tremendous employee turnover as compared to other bank departments. Or (the most galling but often encountered delaying factor), it could be that someone in the processing chain has lost certain portions of the paperwork or sometimes the entire file, requiring previously submitted documentation to be resubmitted. This is something short sellers should be aware of and prepared for.
How can I get my short sale approved faster?
Be ready. Have your lender’s completed short sale package in hand as soon as possible after you put the home on the market. Once an offer is accepted, your Atlanta short sale agent can simply add the contract and buyer’s information and proof of funds and submit it all to your lender. This should help speed the entire process.
Because, many of the factors that can slow a short sale are within the seller’s control.
For instance, any delay on the part of the seller in providing the lender’s required paperwork and other requested documents will definitely slow the process. Sellers can easily avoid this snare by being proactive in gathering and submitting all requested documentation.
Bank negotiators are often swamped with requests, and will not process a file if the sellers' short sale package is incomplete. The file that is missing paperwork or has submitted incorrect paperwork will go back to the bottom of the pile. Don't let that happen to your file.
Atlanta short sale best practices:
Start your short sale right for faster results:
- Submit a complete package with a fair offer.
- Provide clear and convincing documentation.
- Review and itemize recurring expenses from bank and credit card statements for the last three months.
- Submit additional documentation as promptly as possible when the lender requests.
- Follow-up frequently with your short sale processors and negotiator at the bank to make sure the file is moving through the process in a timely manner.
- Engage the services of an experienced short sale agent to minimize delays and maximize chances for short sale success.
This is a quick list of steps you can take to speed your short sale. Visit our website to get more in-depth information on how to complete your Atlanta short sale faster.
Every short sale is different and as much depends on the lender as it does on the seller and his or her agent. But the best way to expedite a short sale approval and get your transaction closed is to be certain the seller’s real estate agent has a track record of success specifically with short sales. Because short sale truly are different.
They are harder.
They are longer.
They are fraught with more potential landmines than almost any other type of real estate sale.
Expert assistance from a licensed and certified short sale specialist who knows your market is an important first step toward short sale success.
For more tips and strategies to ensure the success of your short sale transaction, get the Sellers Short Sale Success Checklist from BestAtlantaShortSales.com to help you stay in control of your sale and keep every step of the process on track and on schedule.