Short Sale Discussion

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate


One point I'd like to add... while the bank might not be willing to talk to you until an offer is in hand, I would advise all clients considering a short sale option to get the information packet from the bank as to what the bank requires from them and submit to the bank ASAP.  I'm finding the banks take 30 days just to review a packet.  If it's submitted prior to an offer being received the bank is now reviewing them.  This process typically takes 30 days.  So if an offer is accepted close to the end of the initial 30 day period, you could have a prospective buyer only having to wait for an additional 30 days to get an approval from the loss mitigator.  You're correct in saying the bank won't give any answers til they have a contract to consider, but I don't want my sellers packet holding up the review process of the buyer's offer.


Original content by Kenzie Kipper 83866

As an expert on short sales in Washington, I have helped counsel many buyers and sellers through the process and have had many common asked questions about how it works. If you have further questions, please feel free to add them and I would be happy to answer.

Q: What is a short sale?

A. With real estate prices currently at the 2005 level, many homeowners find themselves needing to sell and owe more than they can sell for. If they have the money to pay the bank for the loss, they will not be considered for a short sale with debt forgiveness. Many sellers can no longer make their payments due to loss their job, recent divorce, failure of business or were a victim of the sub-prime market and need to sell. There is a possibility these distressed homeowners may qualify for debt forgiveness, but need to prove they do not have the money or will not have the money in the future to pay back the debt. The home is listed without any conversation with the lender and a short sale packed including the seller’s financials and hardship letter is prepared. Upon receipt of an offer, the seller signs off on terms, although most terms are not official without lender’s approval. The status becomes “Pending BU Requested” as the lender requires the listing agent to submit all offers until approval. The packet is submitted and is in line for the lender to review. This timeframe roughly takes between one and three months to get a response. The bank orders a BPO, which values the home and is assigned a negotiator to work with the investors and buyer to come to terms. Once the lender approves a price, they send an approval letter with an end date to close by. With Form 22SS, the timeframe for the inspection and financing contingencies begin upon lender approval although can be done prior.

Q: When does the bank become involved?

A: The bank does not talk to the seller or listing agent until there is an offer in hand. The listing price may be far less than the bank is willing to receive initially which commonly confuses the buyer. Once they have an offer, the BPO is done which in turn values the property for the bank. The BPO is current market value done by a local agent. Many times the first buyer walks away as they are not interested in paying the BPO amount. The longer the home sits on the market and the closer the foreclosure date, the lower the price the bank will accept. It is the BUYER'S agent's job to research the seller's financial situation to determine the likelihood of the bank accepting their desired price. I always sit my clients down and explain each scenario and set their expectations correctly so there is no last minute confusion. It is important to understand that the lender will always negotiate, so it is imperative to start your offer below what your walk away price is, similar to any negotiation. Currently, lenders are starting to realize they will make more money on a short sale than if they move forward to foreclosure. Banks have so many foreclosures on their books that they are more inclined to work with interested buyers before they foreclose.

Q: Do most short sale require the buyer to skip an inspection?

A: It is highly recommended to get an inspection on any home, especially a short sale as many times homeowners in distressed situations do not care for the home as they should. The inspection can be done upon mutual acceptance with the seller to avoid waiting up to three months for lender approval OR can be done upon lender's approval after waiting to avoid paying the $400-$500 inspection cost. The issue is when you find items that need repair. If the seller is in a distressed situation where they need debt forgiveness, the seller is not in a position to make repairs. It is possible to renegotiate with the bank, although sometimes they will not re-negotiate. Either way, the inspection is mainly for the buyer's information to know what condition the home is they are buying and what items will need to be addressed in the future.

Q: I did some Googling and read that only 10% of the short sales come to sale and the rest become bank owned. So sounds like a very depressing success ratio.

A: The statistics you read may look depressing, but want to remind you the buyer is unique for a short sale transaction... they are looking into other options while waiting on the lender response, and also looking for an extremely aggressive price. The amount of offers submitted and sales that occur are skewed because many buyers walk away if they find a home they like better, or if they do not get the price they want. I have sold many short sales as they are the majority of the market and have had a much higher success rate.

Posted by

Nancy Heisel, RE/MAX Gateway

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