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What Should I Expect When I Buy?

Short sales often look like other listings in the MLS, except they may have a lower asking price than comparable properties.

The term "short sale" is a bit of a misnomer, though, as this type of transaction can take much longer to complete than a standard home sale.

The buying process is similar to a standard purchase. You still apply for financing the same way, and order inspections the same way, for instance. But complications in the selling process aren't uncommon, and you'll need patience.

The good news, though, is that times have changed. Many banks have streamlined their processes for short sales, making it much simpler and less time consuming for buyers and sellers. Market data shows that the time it takes to close a short sale has steadily decreased over the past few years.

Possible short sale hurdles I can help you navigate:


Second mortgages: These can pose problems because a second lender may not agree to the terms set between the primary lender and the seller.

Mortgage insurance: If the seller has mortgage insurance on their loan, the mortgage insurance company will need to approve the short sale.

Other liens on the property: A lien is a claim by an outside person or company on a property for money owed. Liens pose hurdles whether the transaction is a short sale or not, and will have to be addressed before the property can be transferred to a new owner.

Government-backed loans: If the home seller's loan was a government-backed loan, such as an FHA loan, this can cause delays and hurdles because the government will need to be involved in approvals.

HOAs: HOAs can present complications because the lender might not pay fees associated with the HOA transfer from the seller to the new owner.


The Short Sale Buyer's Checklist


  •   Get prequalified for a mortgage.
  •  Get a home inspection, but understand that most lenders will sell only "as is." The inspection can help you decide whether the short sale price is reasonable, given the cost of repairs needed.
  •  Understand who is paying the agent's commission and whether you have to make up any differences to your agent.
  •  Submit documentation to the lender.
  •  Have plenty of patience, but balance it with persistence. Keep in mind that banks have grown much better at processing short sales, which is good news for you.

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Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent in The

Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent

The "Real" Estate Blog

I hear this one all the time from prospects looking to list their house. "Well, agent xyz told us that if we listed with her, she'd have it sold in a week." This would fall into the category of "If it sounds too good to be true, the probably is." The majority of agents are not going to make this claim, but rather will give you an honest market analysis, inform you as to how weak or strong the market is, especially the market in which your home resides, and present the objective facts. A good agent will then lay out an effective marketing plan, where the majority of the focus should be on "online marketing". Be careful to not get caught up in empty promises, reduced commissions, and being talked in to lowering your price below market value (unless you must have a quick sale). The key to choosing a good listing agent is to objectively determine who is going to provide you the best opportunity to sell your home. Will your listing agent also aggressively work to find buyers, or will they just list your home and wait for another agent to do the work.

Buyer and seller real estate app, right at your fingertips. in The

Buyer and seller real estate app, right at your fingertips.

The "Real" Estate Blog

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The Family Diner in Spirit Lake

The Family Diner

Spirit Lake

The Family Diner is Spirit Lake, IA is a local favorite! They offer up a large portion for small money, but whether you come early or late you may be in for a wait. With homemade bread and the largest sausage patty you have seen, The Family Diner is consistently delicious. They are open only for breakfast and lunch and closed two days a week. In my former career at Stylecraft, the family diner was definately a favorite when our friends would visit from North Carolina. They were always inpressed with the bread and rolls and corn beef hash.

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