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Short Sales - Advantages and Pitfalls!

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Short Sales - Advantages & Pitfalls!
By: Myrl Jeffcoat - March 5th 2008

Looking back a few years, when the over-exuberance of the housing boom was being partially fed by the first ingredients of the sub-prime debacle, it was difficult to foresee in this present day, we would be ramping ourselves up to speed on “short-sales.”

As many GreatWest GMAC Real Estate Professionals understand, “short-sales” can be anything but short in the process of negotiation with Banks, Mortgage Insurers, Sellers, Buyers, and ALL entities prevalent and present in a hoped for sale.

“If” a mortgage lender has agreed to allow “short-sale” on a property, and the home does become available to the market, it CAN BE an advantage for all. T. Sami Siddiqui, Broker-Owner of Great West GMAC, states, “Owners usually need to sell quickly, and though there will be no profit to the Seller, there is hope of salvaging some of their credit rating from such a transaction.”

The Buyer is hoping to get a steal. The Bank is hoping to avoid being forced to foreclose, because the foreclosure process can be very expensive for the bank to endure. Some estimates have put the figure at approximately $40,000 per foreclosed property. However, the bank must get fair price.

However, among the entities with interest in the property, from one perspective or another, it often isn’t as easy to get a short sale pushed through the lender (and others) as most folks would think – or hope!

To provide an example - A GreatWest GMAC Real Estate Professional recently spoke with a client, who came from another part of the state, and had failed in the process of trying to acquire a “short-sale” property there. The client had became understandably overwhelmed and frustrated from trying to get his offer accepted to facilitate the purchase, and had failed in the attempt. The process, culminating in ultimate failure, had taken 12 weeks.

The Seller was glad to have the Buyer’s offer, because the Seller needed to move across country - but owed more on the home than it was now worth. However, the Seller continued to be current on mortgage payments.


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The Buyer made a full price offer for the “short-sale” property.
The Seller immediately signed acceptance of the offer, without countering. The Seller’s acceptance was subject to Bank approval; and that is when the clock began ticking for the next 12 weeks, with numerous roadblocks along the way.

The bank “sat” on the “seller accepted offer” for what seemed to be an unusually long time before agreeing to the sale itself.

During this time, the property continued to remain on the market, and other offers did come in. The Buyer, who by now had become emotionally attached to the house, more than once found himself in re-negotiation and experiencing increases of price for the property, while a small bidding war ensued.

Once the Bank accepted, the acceptance was still subject to an appraisal. The property was appraised $4,000 above the price of the accepted offer.

There can be this little dance that ensues with all the entities involved in the “short-sale” property.

If the Seller is current on payments, the Bank isn’t too motivated to act quickly to take a hit on the value of the existing mortgage balance. This becomes more critical if there is Mortgage Insurance (PMI or MIP), which insures the Bank against default of the mortgage by the Seller.

However, if the Seller becomes delinquent in payments, the Bank may be more interested in negotiating actively in the short-sale process, because they likely hope to dodge the bullet of foreclosure.
However, if there is PMI or MIP on the property, this may lengthen negotiating the “short-sale” among the interested parties, and the PMI or MIP Company, will often become a participant in negotiations.

Once ALL parties are engaged in negotiation, each party is hoping to come to an equitable solution, where they aren’t required to eat more of the decline in value of the property, than need be, in order to facilitate a successful transaction on the property.

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There are advantages and distinct pitfalls in negotiating short-sales. GreatWest GMAC Real Estate Professionals are trained and experienced in this process. If you have further questions not addressed in this article, please allow us to assist you with your interest in this topic.

If you are a Homeowner, considering marketing your home through the “short-sale” process, please contact us. Also there are income tax consequences with “short sales” and Sellers are encouraged to consult their accountant about the ramifications of the “short-sale” process.

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If you are currently considering selling or marketing a home, please feel free to call or contact me. I can provide a free, no-obligation Comparative Market Analysis of your property. . .Or if you are thinking of buying a home, I would be pleased to be given the opportunity to sit and explore with you the opportunities that await homebuyers at the present time.


Service is always
a priority

Myrl Jeffcoat

Local Realtor since 1981

Phone: 916.635.0420

E-Mail Myrl

Sacramento - El Dorado -  Placer Counties

Date: March 5th 2008