Monday, October 6, 2008

Short Sales - Can't live with them, can't live without them

In this current market, we simply cannot avoid short sales or bank owned properties. In fact, they comprise nearly 60 percent off all listings in some markets in San Diego. Initially, buyers were drawn to these type of listings. The words short sale, foreclosure and REO meant "WOW, a great deal, under market value, you better act now!" Well, this may still hold true, especially with bank owned properties, but many buyers see the words short sale and start running for the hills.

As a Realtor in this market, I have seen both sides of the short sale experience. I represent buyers in need of selling their home in which they owe more to their lender than what the market will pay them. I have successfully helped many sellers get "out from under their home" so they can move on with their lives and not have the stress of paying for an asset they cannot afford. I also represent buyers who are pounding the pavement looking for a deal and also a home that they can close on in a normal time frame. As a buyer's agent, this can be a challenge because you only have so much control over the seller's lender and sometimes have to wait 60-120 days for approval. That is 2 to 4 months just find out if your offer is accepted or not! This can feel like a lifetime for those anxious buyers who are waiting on the edge of their seats to find out where they will be living. This can be a challenging and stressful time for everyone involved.

What is the solution? Well, we can't do so much about the short sale solution, but simply wait until the market eventually works through them. What we can do is change our perspective and approach to how we view short sales. My business coach taught me about the "spray and pray" approach. This may sound a little odd, but it is actually a great plan. What you do is go out and house hunt. You spray the homes you like with offers and you pray that one is accepted. In this market, you can't expect a deal and also a quick closing. You have got to pull out all of the stops and keep looking and "spraying" until something sticks. And eventually it will with the right amount of perseverance and patience.

This is a great market to get into, especially for first time home buyers. The best thing to do is first talk with a lender and find out what you can afford and what amount you are qualified for. This is crucial since the lender requirements have changed. But don't let this stop you from trying. Buying a home in this market may take a little bit more effort, but if you can get in now, I am sure you won't regret it later!

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