Should You Buy A Short Sale Listing?

It depends. There are definite advantages to buying a short sale listing. There are also definite disadvantages. And there are some possible additional disadvantages – depending on which agent you have.

We will take these up – one at a time.

Advantages: Price and Condition. If the transaction is handled correctly, you can usually get much more home for the money than you could get otherwise. For about the same price as a lender owned home, you can buy a short sale home in MUCH better condition.

Disadvantages: Time and Certainty. You don’t have to talk to a lot of people to find some who will tell you to NEVER BUY A SHORT SALE. It takes forever and you don’t know if the bank will ever get back to you. That can be a true statement. It can also be a false statement. This “disadvantage” is largely dependant on the point below.

Possible Additional Disadvantage: Incompetent listing agent. This is probably the single biggest variable currently. If the listing agent knows what they are doing (and many listing agents do a wonderful job in this area) communication to the bank is effective and efficient. If they don’t have experience, pricing is at a level no bank will approve, communications with the bank breakdown, and the file may straggle on for 6 or more months only to be denied.

How does a buyer combat this final disadvantage? Know your agent and make sure they have an interview sheet for the listing agent so they can determine the probability of a successful close. While this is no guarantee, it is possible to significantly jump your odds of obtaining the short sale home of your dreams.