Real Estate Short Sales Can Be Confusing

March 25, 2012

Once your agent has spoken to the listing agent they should have a recommendation as to how to proceed. For example, if the reason for the delay is the fact the lender has not approved a short sale at this point, it may be that an offer could be written “subject to the approval of the short sale by the lender”. If the reason is the seller is trying to buy time to create an “auction” atmosphere, it may be more difficult to get ahead in line.

Reader Question: Monty, there is a short sale house I am interested in. They are not accepting bids until April 6. Why? And is there any way to circumvent the process to get your offer considered ahead of time?  – Annette M.  Glendale, AZ

Monty’s Answer: Hello Annette. There is a multitude of potential reasons they may not be accepting offers. The reasons could be seller directed, bank directed or both. It also could be the seller has agreed to agent advice.

Ask your agent to learn the reason and report back to you. Once your agent has spoken to the listing agent they should have a recommendation as to how to proceed. For example, if the reason for the delay is the fact the lender has not approved a short sale at this point, it may be that an offer could be written “subject to the approval of the short sale by the lender”. If the reason is the seller is trying to buy time to create an “auction” atmosphere, it may be more difficult to get ahead in line.

Short sales employed by lenders to work out of troubled loans in the nationwide marketplace are dynamic and changing constantly. The rules the regulators impose are changing for the lenders fairly often. Then, each lender have their own processes and tactics as well. The result is what worked to make a short sale possible last week may not be the same on a similar transaction this week. This atmosphere creates confusion in the market place.

Your question was silent on your agent. There are agents in the market place that are extremely skilled in this niche market, there are agents that profess to be skilled but are still learning how to navigate in the market, and there are agents that have chosen not to play in the short sale market. I recommend you review the web page on DearMonty.com entitled “Choosing your real estate agent”. The questions are important questions to ask. If you haven’t already, ask your agent “How many buyer side short sale transactions have you completed in the past 12 months?

There is nothing wrong with using an agent that is new or newer to short sales if you choose to do so, but as the customer you should understand their experience level.

Good luck on getting your offer in place.

I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have other questions.