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Karie Gorgone
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How to make an offer on a short sale property

A short sale can be the best option for some home sellers: If they can sell their property, they’ll avoid foreclosure.


If you’re the buyer, your prospective may be different. Making an offer on a short sale is different from making a standard offer, and there are a few pitfalls you’ll have to navigate.


While you can get a great deal, you’ll increase your odds of getting an approval if you know what to expect.


How Short Sales Differ

Short sale properties are different from traditional home sales and foreclosure sales. With a traditional home, you only need to work with the buyer and the buyer’s real estate agent. With a foreclosure, the lender has already bought the property—and you’re making an offer directly to the lender, without the buyer involved.


With a short sale, the buyer is selling the property but the lender also has final approval on any offers made.


Get Financing for Your Short Sale

Paying in cash will greatly increase your chances of the seller and lender approving your offer. However, many people can’t afford to buy a home in cash.


If you’re using financing, make sure you have your pre-approval lined up before you make an offer on a short sale and plan to put as much down as possible. If you offer a pre-approval letter and a large down payment, the lender will take you more seriously.


Be Ready to Wait for Approval

Short sales take longer to approve than typical home sales. With a short sale, the seller first has to approve your offer. Once the seller approves, the lender also has to agree to accept your offer.


This process could take weeks, if not months in some cases.


Don’t Expect Contingencies

In a typical home sale, you can negotiate with the seller to reduce closing costs, cover fees or make repairs before you finalize the deal. Since you’re working with both a seller and a lender, asking for contingencies with your offer could result in a rejection. The lender is likely already taking a loss on the property and won’t want to lower their profits any further.


Make a Strategic Offer

The first offer you make may be the only chance you have to woo the lender. If your offer is way below the market value of the home, the lender may reject it and move on to another buyer. Meanwhile, you may have waited weeks or even months to get a response, only to be shut out of buying the property.


In some cases, the lender will supply a counteroffer but that will delay closing even longer.


Get Help With a Short Sale

A REALTOR® can help guide you through the process. Look for a REALTOR® with short sale experience. Once you find a home you’d like to make an offer on, it may also help to order a title search to learn more about the property before you start the buying process.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/05/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/05/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Stellar MLS (last updated Mon 12/05/2022 12:02:59 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Wagner Realty may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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