BUYER ARTICLES

Investors & Short Sales

Is it a winning combination?

Investors _Short Sales _LG

What's the best way for real estate investors to buy short sales?
 
At the start of 2013 short sales continue to be a very large part of the marketplace. According to the National Association of REALTORS® short sales represented 10 percent of all November transactions and with good reason: the typical short sale was priced at a 16-percent discount when compared with similar properties which sold at fair market prices.
 
In some cases short sales are available at discount not because the property is physically damaged, but because the finances of the owner have eroded over time or the owner simply wants to move. As a result, it's possible to find short sales which appear indistinguishable from other homes on the block and yet destined to sell at discount.
 
But what's the best way to find short sales? Work with an experienced real estate sales professional that understands the process. Here's why: There is no requirement for a lender to agree to any short sale offer. None. The result is that lenders must be sold on the idea and that takes an experienced agent.
 
The discounts associated with short sales do not come instantly or automatically. Those lower prices paid by savvy buyers are often the result of complex negotiations not just with owners but with lenders as well.
 
In the case of a short sale the borrower wants to sell the property for less than the sum of the existing mortgage debt. As an example, imagine that a property has an existing mortgage balance of $200,000 and the owner can only get $170,000 from a buyer. There is a $30,000 difference between the mortgage debt and the gross amount the purchaser is willing to pay, meaning that the transaction must be subject to approval by the lender because it is the lender who will take the loss.
 
In the old days before the mortgage meltdown lenders would rarely agree to accept any loss from a transaction, but with home values still 15 percent below where they were in 2007 lender views have changed. A loss from a short sale might be acceptable under five conditions:

  • First, the short sale loss is less than what the lender might expect from a full-blown foreclosure auction on the courthouse steps.
  • Second, a short sale must be faster than a foreclosure, a process which can drag on for months and even years in some jurisdictions.
  • Third, the short sale must be an arms-length transaction and not a secret deal to return ownership to the borrower, an arrangement which can be prosecuted as fraud if discovered.
  • Fourth, the lender will want to know if the seller has other assets which can be used to satisfy the debt.
  • Fifth, the lender will check the market to assure that the proposed contract represents the highest and best available offer.

Speak with your nearest Carrington Real Estate Services sales professional for additional information, listings and market trends. After all, there could be a short-sale discount out there for you.

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