Buyers Prepare For Short Sale- Hurry Up And Wait!

HIBERNATE…is the word that comes to my mind when a Buyer is looking for a short sale. The process of a short sale is long. There is a LOT of waiting for the Buyer. The Seller is supplying endless documents.

Sure there are some good deals out there but you MUST be prepared to wait for a minimum of 90 days and some can take  a year to close. I like to inform Buyers that you have to be patient and be fair to the Seller. The Seller is taking their property off the open market and nobody else is viewing this home while the process of the short sale is moving at a snails pace. If the Buyer backs out though no fault of the Seller, that is hurtful to the Seller. If you can not wait and must move in 60 days or less don’t look at short sales. Buyers Agents should be very clear in explaining this to their customers.

It is not the Seller or the Agents that are creating such long wait times. Imagine a living room with files stacked from floor to ceiling and not a space to even turn around…that’s how many short sale files these banks/lenders are working with on a daily basis. It is not a fast process.

Once a Buyer makes an offer the lender now will begin the process. The bank/lender will begin to request documents from the Seller like 2 years of Tax Returns, recent bank statements, pay stubs, letters as to why they have not been paying the mortgage, financial statements, and more! This must all be gathered then uploaded into a software program that the bank/lender uses – they don’t all use the same system. None of the information is simply sent as an Email attachment. You are not allowed to send information before it is requested….even though we know the lender will be wanting  specific documents  we can only send the documents as they are requested.

The lender will review the paperwork, and keep in mind they have stacks and stacks of files they are working through. Sometimes the Seller can’t find information being requested and some banks requires documents be sent within a certain number of days…if that Seller is out of town or can’t locate the papers being requested that file can and is sent to the bottom of the stack. Meanwhile the Buyer is thinking “What’s taking so long?” Sometimes the lender will ask for the same documents over and over again. Different people in different departments are looking at the various documents.

Eventually the lender will send a real estate professional to the house to inspect it and appraise the house.  They continue to request new documentation from the Seller. And the Buyer is now getting antsy….thinking “what’s going on”. Remember I mentioned “hibernate” that’s what the Buyers MUST do.

Eventually, there will be a request for the Buyers Offer and eventually a Counter Offer or “Approval Letter” will appear from the lender. Then there is the request for a HUD Settlement paper. This Settlement Document is sent to the Buyer and Seller to review. This shows what each party is paying for like the property taxes, realtor fees, insurance, survey, etc. Once approved you get to come out of hibernation and close the deal.

When you begin your search if you want to purchase a house that is being sold as a short sale…remember the only thing short is the amount of money the bank/lender receives from that seller- everything else about this type of transaction is LONG.

Zelda Greenberg, Realtor

Jacksonville and Surrounding Communities


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