Short Sales: 5 Tips For Finding And Keeping A Buyer

By Gerald Lucas

The real estate market is fragile in much of the United States right now.  In most places, there is a surplus of unsold property and a shortage of qualified buyers.  In this environment, a short sale makes the already difficult task of selling a property even more challenging.  Due to the extra time required to negotiate with the seller’s bank, the task of finding and then maintaining a patient buyer is critical to successfully completing a short sale.  Here are 5 essential tips for finding and then keeping a buyer throughout a short sale transaction:

  1. Price your property aggressively. Your asking price should be lower than similar properties that are currently selling on the market.  Remember, you are competing with every other property that is for sale in your area and given the additional hassles associated with a short sale, you have to give a buyer an additional incentive to wait around for your bank to give you an approval.  A lower price gives you the advantage that you need to get a buyer.
  2. Be honest and upfront with the buyer’s Realtor and the buyer. Tell all parties involved that a short sale is needed to sell the property and therefore will require a written approval from the lender.
  3. Avoid buyers with unrealistically short timetables. It’s tempting to want to sign a contract with the first interested buyer you find, but if that buyer expects to close in 30 days and is unwilling to wait for the lender to provide a written approval, then you’re just wasting your time and will probably be forced to start the process over again from scratch.
  4. Don’t overpromise. It’s easy to fool yourself into wishful thinking about how quickly and smoothly a short sale will proceed.  Ultimately, you can’t control how long a lender will take to process paperwork, so overpromising will just frustrate and disappoint everyone involved.
  5. Set and then manage expectations and keep everyone informed. Although you can’t control how much time your lender will make everyone wait, you can be proactive and inform everyone involved about new developments that may affect the short sale (i.e. your mortgage loan being transferred to another bank).  Even if the update you communicate is bad news, people appreciate honesty and are more willing to hang around if they think you are being truthful and are not just stalling for time or giving them the run around.

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