Why Short Sales Take So Long

This is a question that many home buyers regularly ask their real estate agent when they are involved in purchasing a short sale.  Despite the improvement in the real estate market, we will continue to see foreclosure listings and short sales for some time to come.  Many homeowners are still faced with the problem of being underwater on their homes, and these owners may be faced with the hard decision of trying to hold onto the property or list it as a short sale before it is foreclosed on. 


Short sales are often the result of homeowners being underwater on their mortgage.  As a result of this, many homeowners ask their lenders if they can sell their home as a short sale.  In order for this to be approved, the lender must agree to accept less than what the homeowner currently owes on the home.  With lenders faced with so many overdue payments and foreclosed properties already in their possession, they may agree to the terms of a short sale simply so that they are not stuck with another property. 


Once an interested buyer submits an offer on a home and the seller has accepted it, the process is not over.  The bank that holds the mortgage on the home must approve the sale before it can proceed to closing.  This is usually the stage in which many short sales become delayed and the process drags on.  Although a lender may have given the homeowner permission to proceed with a short sale, they must still take into consideration how much money they will be losing on the deal. 


If you are a homebuyer involved in a short sale, it is important that you remember that it is not the homeowner or their agent that is holding up the deal.  They typically have no control over the amount of time that it takes to close on a short sale.  Successfully closing a short sale and the amount of time that it takes, relies on the listing agent.  If an agent isn’t experienced with the process of short sales, the process will take even longer.  If you are interested in pursuing a short sale, it is highly recommended that you choose an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with the process and all that it entails.  However, you should still expect that the process will take longer than you originally anticipated.  With some patience and an experienced agent, short sales can result in happy homebuyers.

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