A Seattle Short Sale Tale Happily Ever After…

This week I’m thrilled to share some positive news after a 6 month roller coaster ride with its fair share of highs and lows! My dear clients, Kyle and Christine, finally became first-time homeowners! I recently reconnected with Christine via Facebook. We were Kindergarten classmates! So, you can say we go way back…

Kyle and Christine kicked off their Seattle real estate search in the Fall of  2010 and as first-time home buyers they were just getting their feet wet by perusing the ZipRealty.com website to get a feel for what was really important to them. It’s amazing how this list evolves as the search progresses; price, location, size, style, etc… All these variables start to sort themselves out in sequential order of importance as we navigate through the home buying process. Early on in the search, they felt the heartbreaking moments that are commonly part of the process….

We found an immaculate 1910 Craftsman, which was absolutely turn-key! Unfortunately, after only days on the market, we were not alone! Could this be… a bidding war in 2010? All we could do was submit our highest and best offer and hope for a positive outcome, which we did. We offered 108% of the list price and the home sold for 117%! To say this took some wind out of their sails would be an understatement, but to their credit, they dusted themselves off, and the hunt continued… House number two came along which was in a great location and had some amazing potential with some minor TLC. The catch: it was a Short Sale. They had every intention of steering clear of Short Sales due to their troubling reputation, and I can’t say I blamed them. After multiple rounds of negotiations, we just could not reach mutual acceptance, so we walked. After this setback, Kyle & Christine opted to take a break and reevaluate their home search. Fast forward 12 months to the end of 2012, and the search continued…

We found another beautiful craftsman bungalow in a great location, but it wasn’t quite love at first sight, so we continued looking. After a few weeks they wanted to go back for a second look and this is when they starting imagining the potential. They started to realize the value in the home. It turned out that this home was also a Short Sale, but there was one key difference. There was a previous Buyer that walked just before the Bank responded with their approval. In the Short Sale world, a pre-approved deal is huge because now we have a firm idea of what the bank is willing to take.

The Seller accepted our offer and the offer was submitted into “the system”. Now the waiting begins… It was crucial that I set the expectations with them; if hadn’t, the deal would have crumbled weeks into the process. With all Short Sales, there are hurdles that must be overcome and we set out do such that.

After 3 months, we finally received some positive news that the first-lien holder accepted. The downside was that we had less then 4 weeks to proceed to closing! We had to move forward expeditiously and handle the obstacles to come. The second lien-holder, who can easily kill the deal, wanted more money. Kyle and Christine agreed to increase the price to satisfy them and we inspected the home to our satisfaction.

Fortunately, the home appraised 5k above list price, however the Appraiser called for some repairs prior to closing. We all came too far to let the deal fall apart at this stage, so the Listing Agent stepped up by taking care of roof and drywall repairs while my amazing clients spent 10+ hours on Mother’s Day Weekend scraping old paint and repainting the entire exterior trim!

After a team effort, the Appraiser was satisfied, and the loan was submitted for final underwriting. We could finally see light at the end of the tunnel! Lastly, the Underwriter had a few of their own conditions (sigh!) They wanted a roof certification and pest inspection, and we were literally 1 week from closing! Again, the team stepped up… Our mortgage advisor was able to get them to waive the roof certification request, and I frantically coordinated and submitted our pest inspection. All conditions met and loan fully approved! Both parties signed, funded, and recorded!

I must say, this transaction was one of the most challenging in my 5+ years with Zip, which makes it the most rewarding. I was thrilled to meet Kyle and Christine at their home last Friday evening to hand over the keys and toast to the proud new homeowners and celebrate their resolve throughout the entire process. Kudos, Kyle and Christine!

Bottom-line; Short Sales are not impossible, but, it’s imperative to set your expectations because it’s much more complicated than merely a Buyer wanting to buy and a Seller wanting to sell.  


Andrew Saldana helps clients find homes for sale in Seattle and surrounding communities.