You’re browsing through home listings, and you see one marked as a “short sale.”
What does that mean?
A short sale occurs when the proceeds of the home sale would be less than what is owed on the property. Short sale transactions can be complicated, and they move slower than a traditional home sale.
First, the seller has to prove to the lender that there is enough hardship to warrant a short sale. And, the lender – as well as any other entity to whom money is owed on the home – must agree to the terms of the short sale. Listing the property as a short sale does not guarantee that the lender will agree to it.
As the buyer, there are some things you can do to help yourself in a short sale. Look for a real estate agent who has experience with short sale transactions, and do some research on the property before you make your offer. Know that you will be asked to purchase the property as is, and it is recommended that you still do a home inspection. You might have to pay for the inspection yourself; chances are good the lender won’t let the seller pay for it.
Be aware that short sale transactions move slower than traditional home sales, and they fall through more often.