Buying January 12, 2015

Why short sales are so terrible.

Today I'm in a mood. Not for myself, but for my clients. 

I am sad that they are being dragged around for months with no end in sight.

I am sad that we have little control in a tough situation.

I am sad that through everyone else's garbage, they are doing the right things and just trying to buy a great house for their family. But despite them being prepared, saving up, staying on top of the ball, they are the ones suffering. 

With all of this, you would think I'm a lawyer and my clients are going through a long legal battle. I suppose you could say there is somewhat of a legal battle, but this is different.

This is a short sale. 

When buying a home, a short sale can look like a great bargain on paper. All you have to do is wait a few months to get that price, right? Wrong. BEST CASE scenario….the lien holder (who really has all the power in these situations) only haggles you up in price a little, and you only spend 2-3 months waiting. This is not typically the case. 

We've been working on this going on 10 months now, and it's been a nightmare for all parties. Without going into specifics, we've been in negotiations twice, it took a month to schedule an inspection with a very non-cooperative tenant, after waiting months, the bank decided they wanted almost $100,000 more for the home. That gap was way too large to fill (and over valued), so they put the home back on the market, and after dropping it a few times, we got back in there. Since then, we've waited 5 months.

The problem is, there are a bunch of morons people doing their job at the banks. Each file passes through numerous hands, it gets stacked in the corner, and they simply don't care that there are real people – who have put their lives on hold – on the other end. 

If you (as a buyer) break contract or are late on a deadline, they take notice and could even cancel the file! However if they are late, or they don't carry though on things that were promised…it's your fault. You are SOL. That is a tough pill to swallow, but it's true. 

Don't they just want to get the house sold? We find ourselves asking. Yes, in theory. But some button pusher at the bank probably has a quota to fill and must try his darndest to get the most money for the house…even if it means putting it back on the market and waiting for a new buyer. So this is why if you don't bend over backwards at times, they can take it away. And that's not fair, or right, but that's the way it is. 

There are times that short sales can go smoother. But if you are considering buying a short sale, think hard about not only the time its going to take and the deals and homes you might miss out on while waiting, but the enormous emotional struggle you may face. 

Another sad part about short sales is while they are a great way for people under water to get out of their home, the banks are stringing them along as well. They simply want to get out of the home with as little damage on their credit, and with the most ease possible, but the banks are making this process long and arduous for them as well.

As a Realtor, I am glad to pursue short sales for my clients. In this case, it is 100% the right house for this family, no questions about that. And because of that, the struggles may be worth it. But ask your Realtor to talk to you about their experience with a short sale and decide if that really is a route you want to take. 

Questions? Have your own experiences to add? Please do comment below.