Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five Valuable Steps That Will Get You Through the Short Sale Buying Process

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Most of the time short sales are a seller-centric phenomena that comes up as an option one step better than a foreclosure. But not too much attention is often paid to the other end of the transaction – the buying end. When a buyer is interested in a short sale property, there is much to be aware of a lot that they must consider, heading into it. Literally, the process of buying a short sale property can be a long, drawn out journey. By keeping in mind these five key aspects, the process will be smoother and easier throughout.

Put Your Strongest Virtue Into Play: Patience

Short sales run on anything but a short time frame. The single most valuable trait you can have as a buyer of a short sale property is patience. The level of ups and downs experienced in a typical short sale journey can be harrowing for anyone but the patience required can make all the difference. From start to finish, the entire process can take several months and sometimes even longer. Agents often expect homebuyers to commit to 120 days for the entire negotiation and deal process. The opportunity is an incredible one and if you’re one of the lucky ones, the deal you will secure will be worth all the extra time and frustration that ensues.

Expectations And Predictability; Strangers In A Short Sale

A very normal expectation would be to know each and every stage of a home buying process. To understand exactly what is going on at what time and to be able to get regular updates. With short sales, things are so unpredictable that often none of these normal expectations are fulfilled. Repeated calls to your agent will prove counterproductive and end up in frustration on all sides. Keep in mind that at any given time a loss mitigation officer or loan negotiator will have up to several hundred applications on their desk at one time. In a nutshell, things take time.

Knowledge Is More Than Power; It’s Leverage

A listing agent often represents sellers and it is essential that the agent understands the short sale process entirely. With the plethora of applications on the negotiator’s desks, the need for sellers’ listing agents to be fully aware of all that is entailed in the transaction is very important. When something is needed to be submitted, it is the listing agent’s job to make sure the sellers provide that information on time and in its entirety. Having a listing agent who does not have enough experience can be detrimental to your experience.

There Are No Guarantees, But Often Worth The Wait

Yes, short sales can be a great opportunity to pick up a property for less than the market value. But this is not a simple feat. You must remain patient and willing to accept that it is not a surefire guarantee that the price you end up getting is the best deal possible. Keep in mind that the very nature of this process is volatile. One day a price might be agreed on with the seller, but the next day you both are unable to see it through after the lender reviews it and comes back with a different answer. The way it works is that the application is made to the lender, after which they have an appraisal done and depending on what the Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO) is they come back with an answer. The frustrating part is how long this can take. It has happened that a buyer is let down at the last minute after hearing back from the lender that the price is unacceptable.

Lenders Have Their Own Way Of Thinking

In this time of many homes risking going under, and after a period of many foreclosures, banks are very cautious. Now, more than ever, they have very stringent and careful loan approval processes. The thing that remains most challenging for buyers and sellers in a short sale transaction is that lenders do not operate in a way that makes logical and practical sense to the rest of us. In looking out for their own interests, they often appear removed from the human and emotional aspects of the deal. The best way to handle this is to fulfill all requirements as quickly as possible, including lending inspections, securing funds for the deposit, etc. As soon as the lender issues an approval, they want the money fast – anywhere from two weeks to one month from the approval date.
All in all, you stand to get a great deal! Just be sure to follow our guidelines and keep your eye on the prize. Be prepared for blips in the system and if things don’t turn out the way you’d expected them to, know in advance that there is a chance for that to happen. No one more than your trusted real estate agent knows how frustrating this process can be, that’s why it’s important to maintain a solid relationship with

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Understanding the Difference Between Online Resources and a Realtor When Pricing Your Home

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The Internet can be a great resource for a host of things centered on buying or selling your home but in some cases, the most you can expect to gain is a basic understanding of things. For something as serious and important as pricing your home to either value it or sell it, relying on the Internet can only go so far. Here we’ve outlined some key differences between the figures you will yield from online sources versus those that have been compiled by your local Realtor.


In today’s market especially, accurately pricing your home to sell is essential. With it being a buyers’ market, you will have to gain a solid understanding of all factors that contribute toward your property’s value. There can be negative repercussions of pricing a home either too low or too high. One such scenario is if there was a seasoned buyer who had taken the time to research in advance of searching for homes. That buyer’s knowing what to expect in the local market seeing your overpriced home could result in a turn-off and you could lose the sale. By the same token, you stand to get the shorter end of the stick in case of not knowing what you could have charged. Spending a little more time and/or expense can make a huge difference in the end outcome.


There are more than several websites where anyone can log on, put in their zip code and be given an instant “analysis” of their real estate value. The figures that appear as results from searches made through online resources stem from a conglomeration of several weeks and sometimes months of data collected from a particular region.

Websites such as www.zillow.com, www.realtytrac.com orwww.trulia.com offer a great way to get a generic idea of the value that homes in your region are going for or have gone for recently. As an added resource to other services also offered on these sites, the goal is not to assist homeowners in assigning a selling price on their property based on the data, rather to offer a snapshot on sales and pricing data for the area. In fact, for many people it is the perfect tool to add an extra edge when determining the fair market value of your home, along with other factors.


While online real estate tools are a great way to get a preliminary idea, they are only going to yield a figure that will show you where to start. To get an accurate assessment, you will need to avail the professional services of a Realtor. The only way to get an accurate “reading” of what the market rates are for homes in your vicinity and your neighborhood in particular, is to have a comparative market analysis conducted by a Realtor who understands your neighborhood. There is a good chance that they have dealt with properties in the area on a first-hand basis, regularly interact with the agencies and organizations that deal with very homes in your neighborhood and are familiar with the people in various facets that you will end up needing to interact with yourself, as the seller of your home.

Realtors conduct a detailed Comparable Market Analysis (sometimes also called Competitive Market Analysis) through a series of data compilation of area homes and properties, considering factors such as amount of land, the square footage and number of bedrooms or typical amenities in the neighborhood. But homeowners can also opt to delve into accurate detail about their property’s value by relying on an independent appraiser. Also, through the use of CMA data the County Tax Assessor determines the value of your property taxes.

When you are pricing your home to sell, it is vital that you use all available resources. At first, it makes sense to “shop around” and get to know the generalities before you head for the specifics. And as with most transactions dealing with your real estate world, it is always best to rely on your Realtor for quality, effective and accurate information that is relevant to you and YOUR market.