Buying a property that is a short sale can feel like a dream come true. You are getting a house that you would likely otherwise not be able to afford and, if you have the time to wait for the transaction to complete, you probably will not face a lot of competition.
Despite what the name suggests, a short sale is typically quite the opposite. You might find that you face delays and come across unexpected complications. As a buyer, you should embark on the process fully aware of the potential difficulties and complexities that make a short sale unique.
In order to protect yourself from pitfalls, there are a few simple best practices to follow:
Work with a real estate agent who understands short sales
For any property purchase, you need to make sure you have a good relationship with your real estate agent. It’s important that you trust them to understand exactly what you’re looking for and to find you the best possible deals.
Not every real estate agent you interview will be familiar with the short sale process and its complications. Ask your agent about:
- Their experience with other buyers who have been in the same position as you
- How many short sales they have carried out
- If they know where to find short sale opportunities
Have an inspection carried out
You’re buying the house “as-is” which means it is going to be important to have an inspection carried out before you put in an offer. Even if the house seems like a good deal, if there is significant structural work that needs doing it might still not be worth what you are thinking of paying.
Patience is key
It might take a lender some time to approve a loan on your short sale even when the seller has accepted your offer. There are a lot of moving parts and additional third parties you’ll need to deal with throughout the process which can take some time. As difficult as it may be, staying patient will be necessary – having your dream home is going to be worth the wait.
Short sales are notoriously complex and have unusual nuances not found in typical house purchases. Working with a specialized real estate attorney who understands this area will help you to navigate the process as easily as possible.