What you should know before Buying a Short Sale (Pre-Foreclosure)

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Western Realty

Buying a Short Sale property is a great way to score a good deal, however, there are a few things you should know before submitting an offer.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is when the seller's lender will accept less than what's owed in order to sell the property and cut their losses.  A short sale will be much cheaper to the bank than a foreclosure.  

When a seller is selling their home subject to a short sale it is the bank that will make the deciding factor on what price they will sell the property. 

Check the Public Records/Assessor's Site

Do your research before making an offer to purchase.  Your Bellingham Real estate agent pull comprables from the MLS (similar properties that recently sold in the vicinity). This is important because it will help you to determine how much to offer on your Bellingham Short Sale Properties.

Hire an Agent with Short Sale Experience

It can make for a timely and difficult transaction if your listing agent has never handled a short sale, but it's even worse if the buyer's agent has no experience in that arena. You need an experienced short sale agent on both sides of the transaction.

An agent with short sale experience will help ensure that all the necessary documentation has been gathered and submitted to the bank.  The bank will need this paperwork before they even consider a short sale. You don't want to miss any important detail due to inexperience or find out your transaction is not going to close on time because no one has followed up in a timely manner.

Submit Documentation & Purchase Offer to Lender

Any offer that you submit to the bank will be on a "AS IS" basis, however, you can still obtain an inspection and complete any/all your due diligence as with any transaction.

Once the seller has accepted your offer, the listing agent will send it to the lender for approval along with your earnest money deposit and Pre-approval letter.

Write your offer contingent upon the lender's acceptance,  giving the lender a deadline.  This will allow you to cancel after a certain amount of time and will also expedite the process. 

Please contact me if I can be of service to you or anyone you know.  I am experienced with both sides of the Short Sale transaction and would love to assist you in your Bellingham Real Estate needs.


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Mark Hall
Elite Realty NW - Keller Williams, Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Homes for Sale Vancouver Washington

Thanks you so much for the post. I am especially happy to see the section regarding "Agents experienced with Short Sales." I am often disappointed to have to deal with agents (on both sides, selling and buying) who are diving into short sales with no background or experience. Buyers and sellers should know that they are putting any deal in serious jeopardy if they aren't choosy about their agent. A few weeks back, we received a crazy offer in which the buyer's agent not only made an offer that was $75,000 below the list price ($125,000 below market) but also asked for closing costs, $9,000 to replace carpet, and wanted the fridge, washer, and dryer! When I questioned the agent about her thoughts on the offer, she said that she had never done a short sale and figured that the first rule of negotiation was to ask for everything and negotiate the rest! We countered and she went away!

Jul 14, 2008 09:43 AM #1
Kathy Torline
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog 719-287-1049

Tara:  Nice post, very easy to understand.   I'm always amazed how many agents don't understand the process or what is involved in it.


Aug 03, 2008 02:22 PM #2
Michael Wayne Jackson
Coldwell Banker - Novato, CA
Realtor - Senior Real Estate Specialist

Great post Tara. This is a great definition of what you should know before buying a short sale.

Aug 04, 2008 05:45 AM #3
Ilyce Glink
Think Glink Media - Chicago, IL
Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host.

Clear and easy to understand. Great post.

Aug 05, 2008 03:06 AM #4
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