Making the right offer on a Seattle short sale property

by Holly Gray.

If you are in the market to purchase Seattle, Washington real estate right now, chances are you have seen a huge plethora of short sale properties on the market. Many buyers avoid short-sales altogether, especially buyers who have a deadline or a timeframe in which they need to buy. Short sales don’t have a normal closing schedule and can potentially take anywhere from 60 days- to almost a year, and in rare cases even more. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your agent before considering purchasing a specific short-sale property;

Question 1: Has the lien holder pre-approved the sales price? In many cases buyers don’t understand that if they make a full price offer, or even an over asking price offer on a short sale the lien holder could come back and counter your offer at a higher price. The reason for this comes down to the reason behind the sales price. Many listing agents take short-sales and price them low to get offers, so that they can start the process with the bank to get the deal done. The problem with this is that it benefits the seller but doesn’t protect the buyer from potentially wasting time. Making sure the sales price is approved by the bank already means that when you make an offer to the bank you have a starting point, and a frame of reference in understanding what the value of the home actually is.  

Question 2: Who is negotiating the short sale and what are their costs? Often times listing agents employee the assistance of attorneys and professional short-sale negotiators who help push the short-sale process along. Unless someone somewhere is helping with this process it could take a lot longer to get approved and accepted by the bank. If there is someone employed to push this process forward the costs to the buyer are often times between 1.0%- 1.5% of the purchase price.  This is cost factor you will need to keep in mind when making an offer on a home. If there isn’t a professional negotiator working on the sale, inquire on the listing agents experience in negotiating short sales. If its their first time, it will likely take longer then if they have been seasoned through multiple experiences with the various lending institutions.

These two questions will give you a real base understanding on what, who and how the particular short sale property you are interested in will flow in a sales transaction.
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Holly Gray helps Seattle real estate clients find Redmond, WA homes for sale and real estate in Bellevue, WA and surrounding areas.