How is the purchase process different between a short sale and foreclosure?

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Aaron Hofmann

We get a lot of questions about short sales and foreclosures from Atlanta home buyers these days. Here’s one of the most common.

Q: How is the purchase process different between a short sale and foreclosure?

A: To give you a little background, in short sale you have multiple parties involved in the transaction. It’s not just a buyer and a seller. On the seller side, you’ll also have one or two lenders, as well as a third party investor and a mortgage insurance company. With so many fingers in the pot, short sales can take several months to complete. Banks are working to improve their systems and personnel, but don’t expect a traditional 30-day close. The majority of short sales don’t even involve the lender until they’ve received a contract from a buyer, which is submitted to the lender(s) along with a hardship package. The lender(s) then need to go through their due diligence process before ever making a decision. Generally, we counsel buyers to expect a minimum of 2-3 months before hearing a decision. Sometimes it’s quicker and sometimes it’s slower.

Conversely, the process for purchasing a foreclosure, also known as an REO (real estate owned) property it pretty quick. Typically, we’ll receive a response with just a couple business days. With a bank-owned property, there’s just the bank and the buyer involved, so it makes sense that decisions don’t get hung up for a long period of time. In addition, with a foreclosure, the bank has already done their pricing analysis prior to putting it on the market, so once they have an offer, they’re ready to make a decision.

In both cases, there are great opportunities available for the savvy Atlanta home buyer and patience and flexibility are key to ensuring you’ve found the right property and can wait for the decision.

We specializing in counseling buyers on the advantages and disadvantages of buying short sales and foreclosures. Contact us today to see how we can help navigate you through the short sale and foreclosure home buying process and find you a great home at a great price.

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