The term Short Sale has nothing to do with the time it takes to close this
type of transaction. It refers to the money the bank or mortgage holder
will receive from the sale of the property. The closing will be "short" of the
funds that the seller owes on the mortgage. In other words, they are upside
down: they owe more than the home is currently worth.
Since we don't live in a past world where the home "was" worth more or a future
world where it "may" be worth more, this is the sad financial situation many
reluctant home sellers find themselves in today, selling at a loss. It doesn't
make for happy campers.
The Short Sale scenario usually doesn't have anything to do with greed or
mismanaging money. Many of the cases we see are typical families that
bought a home, fixed it up a little, and then got a job transfer, had a job loss,
a divorce, a family death or illness occurred which drastically changed their
What the falling prices on homes does is trap the homeowner. He can't sell it
for what he paid for it------ he has to take a loss, go bankrupt, or lose his credit
rating. How many people have equity in their home, or savings, or a 401K they
can borrow from to pay their losses? We see that occasionally, but it is not the
The banks and mortgage companies are in an especially difficult situation.
They are going to take a loss, no matter what happens. The object is to stall,
wait, and negotiate until they get the best outcome they can for their company's
bottom line. Okay, companies stay in business by minimizing losses.
But, and this is a big but, stalling, and prolonging these transactions until the
potential buyers walk away is hurting everyone. Delaying a month, two months,
three months on answering a decent real estate offer hurts the bank, the seller,
the buyer, and the real estate agent. This kind of time lag is typical of short
sales. I have heard getting these transactions to close as compared to " trying
to land a 747 on a blade of grass. "
Real Estate agents don't like to get involved in these transactions because they
are prolonged, messy, tons of paperwork, many, many frustrating phone calls,
and at the end of the transaction, the bank or mortgage company will typically
"short" the commission the agent has worked for. This is another sticky wicket
because the contract is with the seller, not the mortgage lender. So, this has to
be negotiated again, if you are fortunate. If not, you take what they will give
The banks & mortgage companies must have a big banner in their offices that
Spread the Pain to as Many People as Possible
Short Sales are becoming a much more common transaction as the banks are
deluged with foreclosures and calls from homeowners requesting help. The recent
Recovery Act may be a relief valve, allowing some people to reduce their mortgage,
save their credit and their home. The first week of March the US government will
tell us what the perameters of their plan are going to be.
Make sure your agent has the experience and knowledge to get you through the
minefield of short sale negotiation, if you are buying or selling.
Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate ~ Westbrook Realty
Copyright 2009 All rights reserved
The authors of the this blog write about Grand Rapids Real Estate,
the Greater Grand Rapids MI area, and what it is like to live in
West Michigan. We believe: Grand Rapids is a Great Place to Live!
Contact Terry 616-292-7263