I’m 4 Months Into A Short Sale And Ready To Quit

how long can I stand it?


Dear Nancy,

I read your blog all the time and you seem to know something about short sales.

I’ve been waiting forever. My agent doesn’t seem to be able to get updates. We offered full price and everything. Should I just move on? Will the house get foreclosed out from under me?

Losing My Patience

Dear Lack of Patience,

Short sales can be a royal pain. My longest short sales was 7 months, but I have heard of up to a year! And meanwhile, your plans are on hold.

One thing a lot of buyers don’t know is that even if you offered full price, the bank may not approve it. On short sale listings, the agents keep lowering the price until someone makes an offer. The bank is under no obligation whatsoever. The listing is between the seller and the agent, not the bank and the agent, or the bank and the seller. So if the price was ridiculously low, don’t delude yourself that the bank will accept. Hopefully your agent did some market research before you made the offer.

Many banks are trying to stream-line the short sale process with varying levels of success. There is no standardization so working with every bank is different.

Unfortunately, the listing agent is the one that deals with the bank and your agent is pretty much out of the loop, UNLESS they get permission from the seller to talk to the bank. Most sellers have no problem granting that, although the listing agent might have a problem with it. They are the gate-keepers. Your agent needs to be aggressive and tactful at the same time.

As far as getting it foreclosed out from under you? It happens all the time. There is a serious lack of communication between the foreclosure and the short sale departments of many banks. I recently attended a foreclosure sale where the house sold for $140,000 when there was a short sale offer that had been accepted for $200,000.

Luckily, you can back out at any time before the bank accepts.

If you feel the price you offered was reasonable and you really like the house, just grit your teeth and bare it. You are not alone. If you think you are asking the bank to accept an unrealistic price or you’re not attached to the house, then by all means, keep looking.  If you find a better situation, bail-out of the short sale and move on.

Best of luck.