If you just have to buy that short sale, here are a few tips to help you survive the process and hopefully close the sale. 

Have Patience

Short sales rarely close in less than 90 days and some banks regularly take six months or more just to respond to your offer.  If you’re not prepared to wait at least 120 days to get an acceptance, rejection, or counter to your offer, you’re probably better off staying away from short sales.


Make Sure the Short Sale is actually a Good Deal

Many consumers have gotten it into their heads that all short sales are great deals.  Check the comparable sales to see if the value of the house truly outweighs the time and potential headaches that come with the short sale process.  Keep in mind that many banks require the property to sell in as-is condition.  Also, unless it has already been approved by the bank, the list price means little.  A full-price offer is no guarantee the sale will be approved.


Submit a ‘Clean’ Offer

Don’t ask for a bunch of seller concessions in your offer.  Many banks have guidelines in place that automatically reject offers asking for such things as seller-paid closing costs, home warranties, and repair allowances.  Often the terms of the contract are just as important to the bank as the purchase price.


The Listing Agent will Make or Break the Deal  

A typical short sale requires the listing agent provide the bank with a large short sale package (ours are typically 60-100 pages) containing detailed information about the seller, the home and the offer being submitted.  Failing to deliver a complete package or follow up with the bank in a timely fashion could unnecessarily lengthen or kill the short sale.  Find out if the listing agent submits one offer at a time or all the offers as they come in.  You need to know whether your offer will be the only one on the table until the bank’s final decision or if there’s the potential for some 11th hour offer to jump past yours after you’ve been waiting four months for an answer.