Preparing Your Client For A Short Sale Purchase

Short sales are often misunderstood and can be confusing for both the buyer and the seller. Typically, the seller’s credit is not damaged quite as much as a foreclosure would inflict. However, sellers are still left without any earnings moving forward. Buyers may initially find a short sale home appealing due to the lower price range but need to be prepared for the potentially lengthy transaction.

Educate and Prepare Your Client

What is a short sale? A short sale is the sale of a house in which the proceeds are less than what the owner still owes on the mortgage. The lender agrees to a payoff for a lesser amount than what is actually owed, even on a current mortgage, in order to facilitate the sale of the property to a third party. Ensure your client is working with an experienced realtor when it comes to short sales, as a lack of understanding may damage any chances of the offer being accepted. To create the most promising offer, the buyer will need to submit a compelling offer that is close to the market value of the home. Research the property’s worth and investment potential – this is necessary in determining a plan of action. The seller and lender will need to be confident that the buyer is willing to wait, as short sales traditionally have a much longer approval period. The buyer has the ability to gain that confidence by putting down a strong earnest money deposit. While the approval process can feel like an eternity, it’s crucial for the buyer to have a sense of urgency when submitting all required paperwork. A small delay on the buyer’s side has the potential to further postpone the deal.

Fees Associated With Short Sales

Clients purchasing a property that is a short sale or pre-foreclosure may pay additional fees or payments in connection with acquiring the property that are typically the responsibility of the seller. Some examples of these fees include:

  • Short sale processing fees – these are also referred to as short sale negotiation fees, buyer discount fees or short sale buyer fees
  • Payment to a subordinate lien holder
  • Payment of delinquent taxes or HOA fees

Documentation Requirements

  • A written agreement signed by the buyer, seller and servicer that includes the final details of the transaction, including all additional fees or payments being made by the buyer.
  • The buyer must be provided with written details of the additional fees and payments, as well as any necessary funds needed to complete the transaction.
  • The servicer that is agreeing to the short sale must be provided with written details of the additional fees and payments, and has the option of renegotiating the payoff amount to release its lien.
  • The HUD-1/Closing Disclosure must include all fees and payments included in the transaction.