2nd Trimester

Any realtor mommies out there?

DH and I have been in the process of looking for a new home for a few months now.  We've been looking mostly at short sale or foreclosure homes because that's what we can afford in the area we currently live (we don't want to move too far away because I work from home and if I move too far, I'd lose my clients).  The first home we found we lost because someone outbid us.  We found two short sale homes this weekend that we are very interested in, but I have a question.  We only have 2 months left on our current lease (with the option to extend one month with a $300 increase...yikes!).  Is there any way we can put a contingency on our offer that says the seller MUST move out by a certain date?  We're willing to pay what they're listed (and possibly a little more to motivate).  We're also cash buyers.

 I'm just getting worried because we know people that have tried to get a short sale before and ended up being strung along for months and we just don't have that kind of time.  :(

 Thanks for any advice!!

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Re: Any realtor mommies out there?

  • I don't know which state you live in but in FL short sales can take 6 months easy. You are not dealing wih the owners, you are dealing with the bank. It is up to the bank whether they accept your offer or not. That makes it harder to put any contingencies because you are taking the "person" out of it. If I were you I would NOT offer asking price (unless you really feel that it's a steal) that way you will have the extra money to pay for the increase in rent. 

    Are you working with a broker to find a place? They should be able to pull recent comps, short sales, foreclosures and regular sales in the same area to guide you as to what to pay. Bear in mind that it can cost a bank $75,000 for the legal fees involved in short sales/foreclosures so they are too wanting to make as much money as possible. 

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  • We're currently working with a realtor (we've been bombarding them with questions...I feel a little bad for them!).  They've told us that a cash offer would certainly speed up the process, so at this point, we're just going to have to cross fingers.  I read that once the lender approves the sale, the occupant is forced to move, which was our concern.  We don't want to buy a home and then go through an eviction process.
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  • I'm not a realtor but just went rough the house buying process.. Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong..

    But the way I understand a short sale to work is first your offer would be accepted/denied by the home owner. If the owner accepts it still has to go to third party (their lender) who has to approve the sale price. This is because the owner is selling the house for less than they owe on the mortgage due to a hardship that they must prove. The reason the short sale can take so long is waiting on the third party lenders approval.

    I was told this process could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 months and there's no way of knowing how long it could take.  Just the way it was all explained to me hope that helps! 

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  • Yep in FL, you are looking at many many months, I would not want to have to wait on a bank.
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  • We just went through this and ended up going with a traditional sale vs a short sale. 

    Is the short-sale a bank approved price? In my experience that makes a huge difference in how long/fast a short sale goes through. Being a cash buyer will also help speed things up, but the bank approved short sale amount is key if you are working with a deadline. 

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  • When we bought our house we had a 5 month timeline. Our agent told us point blank that we shouldn't even look at short sales unless we were flexible by a few extra months for the reasons the PP have given. We did look at some but we bought a foreclosed house and closed in 30 days. Any motivated seller in your area will price their home to compete with foreclosures and short sales. Good luck!
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  • Thanks ladies!  I emailed our realtor and asked her a few more questions based on your responses.  Hopefully, with your help and her information, we can make a decision soon!
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  • I agree with what PP's said.  We are currently looking at houses too, while waiting for ours to sell and our realtor told us that with a short sale, we should plan on it taking 3-5 months.  We had previously put in an offer on a piece of land a few years ago, and it took like 4 months for the bank to come back and refuse our offer.  Good luck with the house hunt!
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  • My mom lives in Philly suburbs and buys short sales for income property.  She has put a contingency on the offers before saying that she needs an answer in, say, 2 weeks or something.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  However, she's not as invested in the whole process because she's not looking to move into it.  I guess you can always have a move out date attached to the offer, and they can always say no.  Hope your realtor can help better than I can.  And I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!


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  • Yes- I'm a realtor and have dealt with short sales. Unfortunately, you are waiting on the bank and things can definitely get messy with sellers if they are being "forced" into the situation. All cash offers certainly do speed up the process, but I wouldn't count on two months! Can you move in with any family during the process? I just had a settlement two weeks ago on a short sale and didn't have official bank approval until we were at the table.
  • Thanks again for all the advice!  Luckily, we found an unfinished property (no flooring, but pretty much everything else) yesterday, took a look and put a bid on it today.  Someone else put a bid in this morning just before us, but we bid the price they were asking, so we're hoping the people before us put in a lower bid.  Keeping fingers crossed because if we get it, we can close in 2 weeks and we'll have a month and a half to carpet or put in hardwood and paint before we need to move!
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