Thinking of buying a short sale home in California? Here are some tips that can make your purchase as smooth as possible.
Knowing about Short Sale:
You need to know more about short sale and difference between short sale and other sales (regular sale & reo sale). Whether it’s the right buy for you or not. If you want to buy as soon as possible and cannot wait couple of months then short sale is not the right choice to write an offer. But if you can wait couple of month then look for short sale homes also in your search criteria and ask your agent to show short sale listings also.
This is important whether you are writing offer to short sale or other type of listings. Pre-approval will make your offer stronger and gets higher priority than others who are submitting without pre-approval. So, make sure you are pre approved with a good lender before your home search.
It takes time to know the final approval from the seller’s lender after you submit your offer, may be 1 month, 3 months or more. You need to have patience to wait that long for your dream home.
Even though, seller accepts your offer, doesn’t mean that your offer has accepted and you can move forward with that offer. Once you submit the offer, the seller’s agent forwards to the seller’s lender for final approval. The lender may accept it, reject or counter back to you with their price based on their own appraisal price.
If other liens like HOA, tax liens and others where the seller owes to those lien holders, could also be a hindrance to the final approval of the sale. Most of the time, bank approves to pay all the liens but sometime they don’t, in that case either the seller or buyer or both needs to contribute to get that good deal.
Write a good offer based on the market value, don’t think that it’s a short sale, you can write a ridiculously low offer and bank will accept it. No, once you submit the offer, bank will also do their part by ordering appraisal to check the market value. They compare the appraisal value with your offer price. If you really like the house then write your best offer so that you can have higher chance of getting that house. Now, write only for those houses which you really like and not all short sale listings.
Check Listing Agent:
Check whether the agent representing the seller has experience in short sale or trained /certified agent in short sale, this shows that the agent can handle the short sale correctly from the beginning itself from submitting the package to getting approval from the lender. If the buyer side agent is also experienced is short sale then that would be a plus point to the buyer. You can find a licensed California real estate agent at Realtor.com or by going to any of the major real estate firms in your area to interview an agent. Find an agent with a diverse marketing plan who has a proven track record of success.
You need patience, once you submit your offer, don’t call your agent every other day for the status. The lender takes time depends on their work load to order appraisal or BPO (Broker Price Opinion) to determine the market value. This process itself sometime takes 30 days and another 30 or more days for final approval. But make sure, you ask your agent to follow up with the listing agent every other week or so for the latest update if any.
If you really like the house and somebody already wrote an offer, then ask your agent to submit a backup offer, if they are accepting the backup offers because sometimes the first buyer may walk away from the deal due to long waiting period or due to some other personal reasons.
Terms & Condition:
All the short sale listings are “As-is” sale, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy a house without any inspections. You have the right to do all the inspections but the seller will not fix anything if there’s any repair. It depends on you whether you are satisfied with the inspection reports and repairs(if any).
After getting the approval letter from the lender then work on to remove your contingencies(inspections, loan approval) and submit your initial deposit to the title within the specified time so that you can close the escrow on time and move to your home. Buyers, you can get a deal with a short sale, but it comes at a price. If you have the time and the patience you could be rewarded handsomely.