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Buying a Short Sale in Today's Real Estate Market

Sep 10, 2008
Are you a buyer in today's real estate market? Do you have time on your side?

As a home buyer in today's market, "short sales" have really turned into two buzz words you almost cannot get away from. If you do have time to work with, short sales may be great option for you to find a nice property at a great price. If you do not have time, they probably are not your best bet. Let's take a look at some options in regards short sales in today's real estate market.

First of all, what is a short sale? A short sale takes place when a seller needs to sell their home, however, the price at which he or she is selling does not cover the mortgage balance due. A seller in this position needing to do a short sale, also must have some sort of financial strain that is causing him or her to have to sell short. In other words, a person cannot just arbitrarily decide to sell via short sale. It has to be a last case resort that a lender will entertain, versus the lender getting the home back on their books via a foreclosure.

As a buyer, there are some important items to consider. Even if you find a property where the seller will accept your offer, do not consider it a "done deal." The seller of that home still needs to get final approval from their lender in order to move on with the transaction. And this approval can take a considerable amount of time. Often times it can take up to four to six months to hear back from the lender. And it should also be noted, just because you hear back from the lender, this does not mean that you will automatically get the home.

A bank generally speaking loses the most amount of money in a foreclosure. Often times they lose a considerable amount however in a short sale as well. Before they approve any sort of short sale, they need to know this is an absolute last resort. In other words, the seller is close to letting the home go into foreclosure, or perhaps the seller is in the foreclosure process already.

Long story short: a short sale can be an outstanding buying opportunity. Remember however, the bank will respond on their own time line. And this can often times means months, not weeks.
About the Author
As a licensed agent with RE/MAX Advantage Plus, Ryan and the team help clients buy and sell Minneapolis Real Estate and Minneapolis Homes for Sale .
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