Buying Short Sales: What You Need to Know
As the real estate market remains volatile, one of the best options for many new homebuyers is purchasing a short sale home. But, what does short sale mean? A short sale is when lenders have the opportunity to sell a property before the bank forecloses on the home rather than after. While buying short sales creates the opportunity for real estate investors to pay well-below-average housing prices for properties within ideal locations, there are still drawbacks.
If you’re interested in buying short sales, here are a few things you need to be aware of:
Why Banks Short Sale Pre-Foreclosure Homes
The last thing a bank wants to do is own a property secured by the bank’s loans. When a property owner is in default and owes more than what the home is currently worth, the bank will work with the seller to offer the property for less than they owe on the mortgage loan.
How much money will banks take off? When buying short sales, how much should I expect prices to fluctuate? On average, banks estimate that holding on to the property after foreclosure will cost up to 18 percent of the home value to complete the inspection, appraisals, repair and maintenance. Instead, it is a much easier and financially sound decision for banks to sell the home “as is” to avoid any third-party inspection process.
The Negative Side of Buying Short Sales
Buying short sales might seem like a good deal for the buyer, but that’s not always the case. Here are three major conflicts buyers and sellers face when a short sale, pre-foreclosed home is on the market:
- Time: Don’t let the name fool you. Buying short sales takes a very long time. There’s a whole gambit of scenarios of why a short sale might be delayed, but many of the hurdles buyers have to overcome have to deal with secondary financing on the homeowner’s original mortgage, bank processing delays and private mortgage insurance policy breakdowns. Buying short sales is a very complex process, which can leave the short sell buyer in housing limbo for up to six months.
- Condition: Short sale homes often need additional maintenance and repairs. When the current property owner is unable to pay the mortgage on the home, more often than not the condition of the property diminishes over time. Additionally, short sale homebuyers should take into account that the property will have had more than one previous owner, which adds to the wear and tear.
- Lender Restrictions: Banks can renegotiate a short sale at the last second. If a new law passes, the market begins to change or the bank finds out more information about the property, they reserve the right to change the terms of the contract at any point in the process. Banks will also refuse to pay for extra services like seller closing costs or inspections. If you want something specific inspected on the property, you’re probably going to pay for it yourself.
Short sale homes are the real estate market’s diamond in the rough. It’s true that buying short sales can be a very tricky process, but for the flexible and patient homebuyer, the short sale home can be the dream house they’ve been searching for.