In very general terms, a real estate short sale occurs when a homeowner is not able to make the mortgage payments due to financial hardship. Rather than foreclosing on the property, the lender agrees that the property may be sold for less than the mortgage payoff amount.
Here are the 3 basic steps you should know about how a short sale works.
#1: The Homeowner Provides Information To The Bank
The first step in the short sale process is for the homeowner to submit an information package to the bank. The homeowner will provide information such as the reason for the short sale, an authorization letter allowing the real estate agent to talk to the bank, and a financial statement. In addition, the seller may need to provide an HUD-1 statement as well as a list of comparable homes in the area.
#2: The Buyer Makes An Offer
Once the house is put on the market, a buyer can make an offer just as he or she would on any other home. The seller will then have the opportunity to accept any offer that he or she receives from a prospective buyer.
#3: The Bank Makes A Decision About The Offer
Once the seller accepts an offer to buy the home on short sale, the seller is responsible for sending information about the sale to the bank. Before the sale is finalized, the bank must approve the buyer’s offer. It could take as little as two weeks or as long as 120 days for the bank to approve the offer.
However, not all short sales are immediately approved. The seller’s bank might decline the buyer’s offer for one reason or another. A bank may decline a short sale offer if the bank negotiator thinks the house is worth more than the buyer’s offer or if the seller violates a clause in the short sale agreement – such as moving out of the property and violating a clause that states only owner-occupied properties are eligible for short sale.
Buying a home that is being sold as a short sale requires patience and an ability to move at the bank’s pace. Working closely with an experienced mortgage broker may make it easier to get through the process.