Buying a Short Sale Home Buyers who can find a short-sale can get a good deal. The advantages of buying a property through a short sale include buying at a discounted price and buying a house where the sellers are still motivated to sell the home and may take care of it until it is sold.
Some buyers think they can get a better deal by waiting to buy a house when it goes into foreclosure, but buying a house through foreclosure is risky business and not for first-time buyers or inexperienced real estate investors. You should get advice from an experienced professional. Hire a lawyer to help you with the eviction process if the home is occupied. Sometimes, tenants who are sued for eviction can retaliate. When sellers realize they will lose their home to foreclosure, they often stop caring for it. Many states require buyers to make certain disclosures to the owners, and failure to do so on the proper forms and in the required timeframes can result in fines, lawsuits, and even cancellation of the sale and loss of your money.
It's typically advised to work with a realtor with experience in short sales, because they can help you research the market to find the properties where foreclosure notices have been filed as well as how much is owed by the lender. Typically, this can be done at the county registrar of deeds. They can also approach these homeowners for you to let them know that they are aware that the foreclosure notice has been filed and that, if the owner is interested, there is a buyer who could work with them to complete a short sale.
Even if you find a home where the owner is willing to work out a short sale, don't assume the lender will go along with it. Once the seller agrees to your offer, your agent will need to send it to the lender for approval, and you will not have a deal until the lender OKs it.
Expect a lender to negotiate a higher price; they will want to know they are getting paid the most they can get for the house. Since the lender is paying the realtor's commission, it will likely ask your agent to lower his commission, or you to pay some of it. Typically, the lender will not bear the cost of items that are typically paid for by sellers, such as inspections, and the lender will agree only to sell the property if the buyer agrees to buy it in "as is" condition. This makes it all the more important for a buyer of a property through a short sale to make an offer contingent upon approving a through home inspection.
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Rob Alley, Realtor at Keller Williams Charlottesville 434-975-9000