Short Sales 101 – Part 4: Buyers, Do Not Be Afraid

“I want to stay away from short sales.”

“I have heard that short sales are bad.”

“My real estate agent says that we shouldn’t bother with short sales.”

No need to be afraid of short sales.

I’ve heard all of these statements about short sales from Buyers. Short sales are also just as popular with my colleagues in the real estate industry. Of course no one likes to wait for a response on an offer – especially one that takes months! But these days, with the slim pickins that are available in some areas, Buyers just aren’t finding what they want in the non-short-sale arena. In fact, many Buyers who were completely opposed to short sales a few months ago are opening up to them now, since they could have possibly been in a home by now if they would have put an offer on a short sale when they first began looking.

The funny thing is this opposition to short sales can provide some great opportunities for those patient folks. Many Buyers will prefer to go for the “low hanging fruit” – standard and bank owned sales. That’s fine, but there isn’t much of that fruit for all of the people looking for it. So the pool of Buyers that are open to short sales is much smaller, and can equate to less competition. And when we hear of multiple-offer situations all over the nation, it can be refreshing to not have that not be as much of a problem with the short sales.

The other thing that Buyers need to realize is that while they are waiting for approval on an offer on a short sale, they can continue to look at other properties. It is not uncommon for the Buyer that made the offer that was submitted to the bank, to walk. And usually this is because while they were waiting, they kept looking and found something else. So Buyers do have options while they are awaiting a response on a short sale offer.

This presents another opportunity for Buyers – backup offers. In a large number of short sales, the first Buyer changes their mind about buying the property, so the Seller needs to find someone else to sell the home to. If a patient Buyer has a fairly priced backup offer in on a home, they would be rewarded for their patience in this situation.

The final point I want to make to Buyers is that as of now, Buyers of short sales typically get better deals than Buyers of standard sales or bank owned properties. The reason is that all the negative aspects of the short sale process can make the home less desirable, typically translating to a discounted sales price. However, as the real estate market continues to change, and banks begin to streamline their short sale approval processes (like Wachovia), this price break may disappear as the negative aspects of the short sale disappear.

So Buyers need not be afraid of short sales. Instead, if they approach them in a thoughtful, planned manner, they can end up winners.

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