All about Short Sales
Final in a series of Cold, Hard Facts in Real Estate, here I tackle the Short Sale.
If you’re a regular reader you may have already read about the Cold, Hard Facts in Home Selling and the Cold, Hard Facts in Home Buying. Today, I’m talking the truth about selling a home as a Short Sale. Honest. Brutal. No sugar coated tales. Just facts, 20 Cold, Hard Facts about Real Estate Short Sales.
Updated 2nd quarter 2020. Even though Short Sales have been been basically non-existent from their peak years back in 2007-2010, concerns are now on everyone’s mind with the recent hit the economy has taken from the Covid-19 virus. Will the devastating results of mass unemployment continue where many homeowners are now faced with the inability to pay their mortgage here Southeast Florida market and nationwide?
What are the 20 cold, hard facts about Real Estate Short Sales?
1. Don’t let the name fool you – Who knew that when the Short Sale was named it would be anything but short when it comes to the length of time to complete a Short Sale. However, the name did come from the fact that a Lender is agreeing to a homeowners sale of their home while being “short” on the amount of money to cover their outstanding mortgage balance once closed. It’s not short in time to complete.
2. Hire a Real Estate Agent who knows Short Sales – A Short Sale is different. It is not a traditional Real Estate Sale. A Short Sale involves approval by a Third Party; the Seller’s Lender(s). There are certain ways in which a Short Sale must be handled. Financials that must be gathered. Persistence, determination, commitment, and success at closing Short Sales must be ingrained in the Real Estate Agent being hired if you plan on having any type of success in selling a home as a Short Sale and being relieved of any mortgage balance deficiency and avoiding foreclosure. Hire right; a Real Estate Agent who knows Short Sales.
3. Know the local distressed Real Estate Market – Whether a home is a Short Sale or traditional sale, Real Estate is always local. You may not know your local distressed market, but make sure your hired Real Estate Agent does. It’s critical to know how to position a home for sale in a local market, more so than ever, with a Short Sale. Time is not on your side with a Short Sale and you must get the home sold. A Short Sale should never expire. There must always be a strategy for getting it sold. What happens if no offers come after a few weeks? A Real Estate Agent better know what to do.
4. Gather all Financials before Listing a home for sale – Lenders will want to see such things as: pay stubs, bank statements, Tax Returns, financial statements, hardship letter, etc that prove a hardship. These financials should all be gathered and reviewed before a home is listed for sale as a Short Sale. For example, a later discovery of a substantial savings balance can certainly throw a Short Sale off course if the homeowner’s situation doesn’t showcase a true hardship. Get it all up front.
5. A clean, uncluttered home sells – A home sold as a Short Sale doesn’t mean it has to be dirty and cluttered. Unless the distressed Seller is physically unable to clean, a bit of elbow grease is all that is needed. Get cleaning. Plus, a bit of exercise will likely boost one’s Serotonin levels while stimulating one’s mood to make them feel better. Now that’s a good idea!
6. Homes priced right sell – Short Sale or not. Pricing a home matters. Getting a Short Sale approved is going to depend upon how close to market value the home sale occurs and then how far from fair market value will the homeowner’s Lender(s) be willing to go and ultimately approve.
7. Selling a home is inconvenient – Whether a distressed home Seller or a traditional home Seller, selling a home is a pain when your life seems to be turned upside down from Buyers visiting your home. Always having to have a home “show ready”. Add to that the turmoil of financial stress, and the inconvenience is likely amplified. Plan for it and it will be easier to handle.
8. Repair a home as can be afforded – While often a homeowner selling a home as a Short Sale, likely means they’re having financial difficulty and may not have the monies to make any needed repairs. However, keep in mind that any repairs that are in the budget, it’s advisable to make the repairs, as you’ll always want the most that you can sell your home for in order to get Short Sale approval from your Lender(s).
9. Underpricing a home drastically jeopardizes Short Sale Approval – Simply because a home is being sold as a Short Sale does not mean the home has to be priced as a fire sale. The Seller’s Lender(s) will still be looking for a sales price that isn’t too far off of market value. After all, they are trying to lessen their losses.
10. The net dollar amount from the home sale matters to Seller – Buyer’s will think that the Seller could care less about how much money the home sale will net them, as why do they care, they’re not getting any money from the sale anyways. Wrong. Seller’s need to get the most money that they can for the sale of their home in hopes of obtaining a Short Sale approval from their Lender(s) and they want any deficiency mortgage balance(s) to be relieved of having to pay it back. It’s not okay for Buyer’s to assume that the Sellers can pay for everything now that it’s a Short Sale, particularly when the cost/fee is customary to be paid by the Buyers. Not going to happen.
11. Buyer’s will always love to negotiate for further price reductions after an inspection – This isn’t any different than that of a traditional non-distressed home sale. Be prepared. Avoid negotiating mistakes. Make sure you hire a Real Estate Agent skilled at negotiations.
12. It’s the offering price that matters, not necessarily the method of funding – In a Short Sale it’s all about the money. Money talks. Whether it’s cash or financing, it’s the number that matters. If the offering price is not fair and acceptable to the Seller’s Lender(s), the likelihood of Short Sale approval is lessened. Short Sales are all about lessening losses. Thinking that Cash will win over financing, will often get a Short Sale denied if it’s not within range of fair market value.
13. Now is not the time to stop caring for a home – A home should continued to be cared for and maintained even though it’s being sold as a Short Sale. Remember, it’s all about doing everything just right in order to gain Short Sale approval to avoid foreclosure. Caring for a home will only increase it’s value. Not caring for a home will decrease it’s value, jeopardizing Short Sale approval when a Buyer’s offer comes in below what is needed for a Lender(s) to approve the sale..
14. Communication is key when selling a home as a Short Sale – This can be critical with each passing month and with any missed mortgage payments or even when the mortgage is current. Time is lapsing as the delinquency may be increasing. Time may not be on the side of a Short Sale Seller with a foreclosure sale date nearing. To avoid losing precious time as a home Seller, calls must be returned and documents must be gathered in a timely manner when the Real Estate Agent and/or Lender requests such. It must be done promptly. Today, not tomorrow. As each day passes by, delinquency rises. Get it done when asked.
15. Patience is a must – Anticipate 90 days to gain approval and be pleasantly surprised when it takes less time. And it can take less time easily, just plan for more. The average Short Sale shouldn’t be taking 5-6 months and more.
16. Marketing still matters with a Short Sale too – A home should always be presented in its best light. Quality photographs and videos are a must. Online exposure is a must. A Short Sale doesn’t signal a shoddy presentation, especially when a homeowner is likely in desperate need to get their home sold. The better it’s presented, the more prospective Buyers will see the home and the faster it will sell. A fast sale is a ultimate goal of anyone one looking to sell a home as a Short sale when time is not on their side.
17. Make sure the home Buyer is financially able to buy the home – Demand a true Pre Approval letter if they’re financing and a most recent bank statement with the Buyer’s name on it if they’re paying cash. You certainly don’t want to have spend several months on the Short Sale approval process only to later find out the Buyer can’t get a loan or doesn’t have the cash to fork out.
18. A Short Sale does not equate to a less than desirable home – It’s true. I’ve sold many Short Sale homes that were lovely, well cared for homes. As I’ve repeated numerous times and I can’t say it enough, there are many ways in which selling a home as a Short Sale is like selling a home in a traditional manner. The main difference is the processing of the Short Sale transaction itself.
19. They can provide substantial relief to a distressed homeowner – Just say ahh. Relief. No more “pop, pop, fizz fizz needed”; In case you’re younger and are not aware of the jingle, it’s from a 60’s TV commercial and the relief Alka Seltzer provides when stress and food can do a number on your system!
A ton of bricks have been lifted from you. Better days are ahead. Yes they are! Believe it and it will come true!
Short Sales are character builders.
20. Short Sales are not impossible if you adhere to points 1-19!
Additional Short Sale resources:
Low Ball offers on PreApproved Short Sales by Elizabeth Weintraub
Short Sales by Paul Sian
Tips for Closing a Short Sale by Melissa Zavala
Common mistakes made in a Short Sale by Karen Highland
Mystery solved in completing a Short Sale by Kyle Hiscock
Book an appointment now to learn more about Short Sales in your local Real Estate Market in Southeast Florida. Call/Text Lynn at 954-464-1100 or email Lynn at LynnP@ImagineYourHouse.com
Today’s article “20 Cold, Hard Facts about Real Estate Short Sales” written by Lynn Pineda. You’ll find Lynn selling homes in Southeast Florida in the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek, Parkland, Margate, Tamarac, Sunrise and nearby areas within Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Lynn Pineda, a licensed Southeast Florida Real Estate Agent serving Coral Springs Florida, Boca Raton and surrounding Southeast Florida. eXp Realty LLC. Real Estate Promises Delivered. You can speak with Lynn by calling/texting her at 954-464-1100 or you can email her at: LynnP@ImagineYourHouse.com if you need to buy or sell a Southeast Florida home. Your local, trusted professional when it’s time to buy or sell a home. Real Estate promises delivered.
Great checklist you have shared here. IT will be helpful for real estate developers.
Thanks & Regards!
Thanks Nita, I’m glad you like it!
This article does a wonderful job of shedding light on different aspects of short sales. There are a lot of people that might not be too familiar with short sales and this checklist will be sure to help. Great post Lynn!
Thanks a lot Nick! You’re right, as Short Sales can really leave people in the dark not knowing what to expect from one.