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Questions to Ask a Short Sale Listing Agent as a Buyer or Buyers Agent

Questions to Ask a Short Sale Listing Agent as a Buyer or Buyers Agent

Failure or success in a Massachusetts short sale

There is no doubt that a short sale is not your run of the mill Real Estate transaction. Anyone who has ever been involved with one as a listing agent knows there are a lot of hoops to jump through! On a national level there is a very high percentage of short sales that never make it to closing.

If you have ever gone online and done any research on short sales you are bound to see articles and blog posts written blaming the lender for any number of things. In many circumstances the Realtors, sellers, and buyers that are complaining have a right to be angry.

There are however, a number of cases where the reason the transaction does not fly is because of the sellers REALTOR! Unfortunately there are a number of Realtors that have never  done a short sale before and have limited knowledge of the process yet are taking listings from home sellers that do not know any better. What is so sad about this is that the seller will usually be at foreclosures door step without getting a successful short sale done.

If you are a buyer or a Real Estate agent representing a buyer I am going to give you some interview questions you should ask the short sale listing agent in order to determine if you have a legitimate shot of getting the short sale completed.

If you are a Massachusetts homeowner and need to do a short sale I would encourage you to read picking a Massachusetts Short Sale Realtor and need a Massachusetts Short Sale Realtor besides the questions below.

Are you going to be negotiating the short sale for the sellers or is there an attorney or short sale specialist involved?

If the answer coming back on this one is the Realtor is going to be representing the seller you MUST find out if they have ever successfully completed a short sale transaction before. If the sellers Realtor has never done a short sale before you might as well have your buyer move on to another home! The probability of the sale ever getting to the closing table is slim. If they have completed a short short sale before ask them their success rate. In other words of the short sales they have listed, how many did not close?

Have you requested the short sale package from the lender and has the seller filled it out?

In order to complete a short sale every lender requires various documents that must be filled out and returned to them. They include:

  • A completed authorization form allowing communication directly with the lender.
  • The lenders name, account numbers, and customer service phone number.
  • A hardship letter discussing the exact reasons why you are not able to pay the mortgage going forward. This letter must be dated and signed.
  • A copy of the listing agreement from the Real Estate agent.
  • Proof of income ~ The lender is going to require a financial statement including copies of your two most recent bank statements, copies of your last 4 pay stubs, or if you are self employed, a copy of your most recent profit and loss statement. Lastly, you will need copies of your last two tax returns.
  • Also are there any other debts on the home or condo such as past due water and sewer bills, condo fees, outstanding taxes, IRS or other liens.

Who are the lender/lenders servicing the loan?

This is a basic question that they better know the answer too. You need to ask them their experience with this particular lender. There are some lenders that are very difficult to deal with most notably Bank of America (BOA). If BOA is servicing the loan you expect to be on the longer side of getting to the closing table. It is not crazy to think the transaction could take 6-12 months. I know you are probably thinking to yourself how is this possible? Believe me it is!

How many loans are on the property?

If there is more than one loan the transaction is more than likely going to be harder to complete. The agent is now going to need to have negotiation skills beyond just dealing with one lender. When there are two lenders both need to be satisfied. There are some lenders that will only allow a 2nd mortgage holder to get X amount of dollars. The agent representing the seller needs to know how to get past any difficulties that could arise between disagreements with the two lien holders.

How is the listing agent going to handle submitting offers to the bank?

Clueless Massachusetts short sale Realtor

This is an extremely important question to ask. The correct way to handle a short sale transaction is to have the seller sign an offer that makes sense and submit that to the lender. It should be no different than any other sale. The seller owns the home and they either accept or reject an offer that comes in.

If the listing agent tells you that they will be collecting offers and submitting all of them to the bank you might as well tell your buyer client not to get involved. This is a very big red flag! It shows that the agent is clueless and has no idea how to correctly represent a seller in a short sale. Without a signed offer neither the seller or the buyer has a contract. There is no obligation on the buyers part and the seller could be left with nothing. The bank does not want to be in a position of reviewing multiple offers either.

The other mistake I see short sale sellers agents making is submitting any offer to the lender for approval whether it makes sense or not. One thing you need to understand is the lender is not going to accept a short sale if the accepted sale price by the home owner is way under market value. The offer amount submitted to the lender needs to make sense! The lender will send out an appraiser to verify the value and if it does not meet the parameters it will be rejected.

How far away is the owner until foreclosure proceedings?

You obviously need to find this out for the sake of your buyer. There is no point in them spending money on inspections, lenders fees and other things if the sale is going to end up in foreclosure. Someone representing a seller in a short sale is going to need to make sure that foreclosure proceedings are put on hold.

These are just a few but very important questions that could help you determine if you have a shot at getting short sale approval. Ideally I would tell you that if an attorney with short sale experience or other type short sale specialist is handling the sale you probably have a better shot at getting the deal done.

Enjoy the short sale video below and work with a short sale Realtor who knows what they are doing!


About the author: The above Real Estate information on questions to ask a short sale listing agent as a buyer or buyer’s agent was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at billgassett@remaxexec.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Ashland, Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northboro, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Sutton, Wayland, Westboro, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • bill May 7, 2010, 12:09 pm


    Great info and advice.

    I have successfully closed 12-15 short sales from both sides of the transaction and only take on the challenge for past clients or buyers I know are patient enough for the journey.

    My concern (and question) is the short sale “specialists” that have popped up charging the buyers an absurd fee to negotiate the transaction. These “specialists” generally are less prepared, have an investor in the middle trying to flip the home at the settlement table and are incredibly devious. I would bet there are a few out there somewhere that are worth the extra cost but they are not in my area.

    I am curious to hear your thoughts on this.

    P.S. I know, I know tell your buyer to move on…when the buyer insists they are willing to go through what I explain as a painful journey, you can only push so hard before they start to question your loyalty.

  • Bill Gassett May 7, 2010, 2:23 pm

    Hi Bill – I have not seen any of the “specialists” that you mention in my area. I know that they exist. In my area there is a much greater problem of Realtors with no short sale experience and a complete lack of knowledge on the subject that are taking them on. Unfortunately there are many sellers that do not realize you can’t just pick any ole Realtor for the job and expect to come to a happy conclusion. I see so many mistakes by Real Estate agents representing sellers doing a short sale. It is sad because the seller does not know any better.

  • Guerry Clegg May 31, 2010, 12:45 am

    Good information, but there’s one other critical question, and it’s the very first one I ask. “What type of existing loan is on the property?” The loan type can determine what will be an acceptable offer. For example, on a VA shortsale, the sale must net 88 percent of the CURRENT lender’s appraisal. On an FHA shortsale, the seller can pay any of the buyer’s closing costs, unless the buyer is obtaining a new FHA loan, and then the maximum is 1 percent of the loan amount. On the positive side, if your offer meets those requirements, the lender is usually very ameniable to working out a deal.

  • New England Law & Title June 2, 2010, 4:22 pm

    Great Article, Bill! As an attorney who has successfully handled many short sales, I would like to add that the short sale negotiator’s work is not done once the short sale package has been submitted. The negotiator must follow up to with the lender on a daily basis in order to expedite the process. Also, do not underestimate the importance of submitting an accurate HUD to the lender. Once a submission has been made, it can be very difficult to add any charges to cover outstanding tax liens or unpaid condominium fees if they are not properly disclosed at the outset. For this reason, I always search the registry of deeds before submitting the HUD in order to avoid any last minute surprises that could derail the closing. In short, you can save yourself a lot of time (and money) by using an experienced professional.

  • Bill Gassett June 2, 2010, 4:32 pm

    No doubt about it Andrew. Staying on top of a short sale file is critical to the ultimate success of the transaction.

  • Frankie J. Mozell August 12, 2010, 3:02 pm

    You have made some excellenct commentary. In Western Mass, particularly the greater Springfield area, there are tons of “listed short”. We at CEA have found realtor expertise runs the table. Point blank: troubled sellers will lose their homes. We have run across properties where the listing agent takes the first offer and think job is done.

    To the attorney who stated that the offer is just the beginning–RIGHT ON. There should be follow up and make the job super duper easy for the asset managers and their teams, even the with the law offices who are in charge of the foreclosure proceedings. We tell our sellers that we need a perfect picture, hardship, hardship, hardship.
    Always be polite yet firm when calling the banks and get rep ID information.

    When dealing with the Buyer’s agent we keep them in the loop. Be up front with what is needed, stop sell dates, have good offer (proof of funds) and ability to close promptly..we usually look for cash buyers.

    In closing, using a short sale specialist or prudent realtor is the key (ooh yeah the HUD better be right–old water bills can sink a deal too).

    I wish to work with a group of professionals as on this site because at the end of the day we have to look in the mirror and ask, “was that seller better off with me or without me”.

    PS. Bill if you are ever out in WMASS give us a call!!!

  • Tori Giglio September 20, 2010, 12:26 am

    Very helpful articles. Can you recommend a short sale specialist for waltham, ma area? I know there are plenty of relators claiming to be specialist in short selling, but this could be a very bad outcome if homework and research is not done leading to foreclosure. Thanks

  • Bill Gassett September 20, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Thanks Tori! I am going to send you an email. I would be happy to help find a good Realtor that is familiar with short sales.

  • connie October 12, 2010, 5:01 pm

    I have 2 questions for you. I have 2 investment properties that I am short selling and want to know if my credit will get hit twice or just once?

    Also, the listing agent uses an attorney to negotiate with the bank but I’m required to pay the attorney for his services–is that normal?

    Thanks for all the valuable information. It has really helped ease my stress through all of this.

  • Bill Gassett October 12, 2010, 5:13 pm

    Hi Connie – Unfortunately your credit would be hit twice if you do two short sales. It would be normal for you to pay an attorney to negotiate with the lender on your behalf in a short sale. Usually the attorney will collect some kind of retainer fee from you and then get the balance of what they charge from the lender. Not every attorney will charge you upfront for completing a short sale however. What you should research is the attorney’s success rate in closing short sales as well as how they do in debt release negotiations.

  • pauline s. December 31, 2010, 1:07 am

    dear bill, great info . i’m in the process of making an offer on a short sale property .
    should we get a buyers agent? if so can you recommend an agent in the walpole norfolk area?

  • Bill Gassett December 31, 2010, 1:55 am

    Hi Pauline – I know a very good Realtor in the Walpole/Norfolk area. I would highly recommend having a buyer’s agent especially with a short sale! I will send you a private email.

  • Paul in Las Vegas January 27, 2011, 7:15 pm

    Great tips… especially finding out about the sellers lender(s).

  • Rich Rosa February 11, 2011, 1:22 pm

    “If the listing agent tells you that they will be collecting offers and submitting all of them to the bank you might as well tell your buyer client not to get involved. This is a very big red flag! It shows that the agent is clueless and has no idea how to correctly represent a seller in a short sale.” Bill, I could not agree with you more. I tell buyers all the time that if a listing agent is just submitting all offers that come in to the lender, it is probably a waste of time.

  • Linda H February 18, 2011, 2:25 am

    Hi Bill,

    I am a first time buyer and happen to be interest in a short sale with 3rd party approval. I got an final accepted offer with the seller under these terms; 7 days for inspection, 10 days for the P&S and 30 days for closing. I also included is my term that seller have within 30 days time frame for 3rd party approval. Two weeks later my agent told me that their lender wants to have a signed P&S. Once we submit the P&S then their lender will determine if they will accept my offer or not.I very troubled with the p&S and need a short sale attorney who can explain to me what I am getting into under this contract and what are my risks. By any chance do you know any good short sale attorneys around Salem, Massachusetts that I could talk too? Your help is greatly appreciated.

  • Bill Gassett February 18, 2011, 2:41 am

    Hi Linda – I will send you a private email with the attorneys information. If the seller’s agent is allowing you to walk after 30 days then I can tell you with certainty that they have no idea what they are doing and the probability of getting a short sale approval in that time frame is very low. If the Realtor is going to allow you to have a clause that lets you walk in 30 days then they are not representing the seller well are they? It would be rare that you would get a full short sale approval that quickly. Is the Realtor doing the negotiations with the lender?

  • Gregg Pechmann February 22, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Having gone through 7 of them personally, it drives me nuts when I don’t see (1) seller- drag their feet with the paperwork, (2) realtor- about as motivated as a mole and/or has no clue what they are doing.
    Appreciate you sharing Bill…great info

  • Bill Gassett February 23, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Gregg how in the world could you go through seven short sales?

  • Phil D March 7, 2011, 3:32 pm

    What assets are considered by mortgage companies as potential money to pay off the short amount in a short sale? Would all bank accounts be considered usable to the last dime? What about Retirement accounts like 401K? I have been asked if we can come up with money and I wonder if it is expected (by the mortgage companies) that you empty all accounts attempting to pay off the mortgage? Or are some assets not considered?
    I am starting the process of listing and short selling our home in Salem MA. Do you have any listing agent and shortsale attorney recommendations in that area?

    Thanks so much for the info.

  • Bill Gassett March 7, 2011, 5:40 pm

    Phil – I will respond to your short sale questions via private email.

  • Nancy March 8, 2011, 8:35 am

    We are tenants in a house that is now on the market as a short sale. Asking price is $299,000 but having lived here for months, we know everything about the house’s serious deferred maintenance issues. Will a lender accept an offer significantly lower than 88% of the seller’s loan if it’s accompanied by documentation showing that the true value of the home is much less than the asking price? How do we establish a realistic amount to offer (without offering more than necessary) so our offer will be taken seriously as a first step toward negotiation with the bank?

  • Bill Gassett March 8, 2011, 12:15 pm

    Nancy you will want to have a home inspection and have the inspector detail the deficiencies in the home. The lender more than likely will send out an appraiser to verify that the contract price does fall within reason to the market value. You will want to provide the appraiser with the home inspection report that details the issues. The appraisal is not going to change much for deferred maintenance but possibly for larger issues like a leaky roof, failing heating system etc. You will have to make your case with the appraiser through the listing agent. The offer should be based on what like homes are selling for less the costs to repair the home.

  • Sue Bramhall March 9, 2011, 6:47 pm

    I have a customer who is interested in purchasing a home that is listed as a short sale. What kind of paperwork should I ask of the Seller to assure me that the Seller has been preapproved by his mortrgage company to do a short sale? I understand that more than one mortgage company may hold a mortrgage. How do I find this out?

  • Bill Gassett March 10, 2011, 3:26 am

    Sue there really is no pre-approval paperwork per se on most short sales. Some may have pre-approved terms like an acceptable price to the lender but most do not. Yes there can be more than one mortgage holder. You can find out by doing a title search at the registry of deeds or have an attorney do it for you.

  • Bill Gassett March 15, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Sue you can find out how many mortgages there are by doing a title search or going to the registry of deeds. There is typically not a pre-approval in over 90% of all short sales.

  • Tara March 26, 2011, 8:42 pm

    I bought the home that my fiance lived in when he passed away. Paid too much and am about 45,000 underwater with a very high interest only payment after 3.5 yrs. I own 2 additional homes and want to short sale the home I currently live in. Will the lender go after any equity in the other homes. ( One home has been privately mortgaged with several different friends having loaned me money, the other has equity which was the down payment I made. ) Will they go after all or will they possibly bargain with me? Lender is Chase Bank.

  • Bill Gassett March 27, 2011, 11:08 am

    Tara the goal when you short sale your property will be to negotiate the deficiency away so that there is no chance for them to come after you in the future. As an alternative many times the lender will settle with either a cash contribution at closing or you signing a note to pay back some of the money. The negotiated figure is usually pennies on the dollar. Theoretical without the debt release Chase or a collection agency could come after you for the money. Whether or not they would go to the extent of attaching other property is hard to say.

  • Jon April 18, 2011, 3:53 am

    Hi Bill,
    My wife and I are considering putting in an offer on a property listed as a short sale, but have some concerns about the legitimacy of the listing. The seller’s realtor revealed during an open house that they have not contacted their lender yet (this seems to imply that it isn’t an actual short sale property?). Should this raise some serious red flags and dissuade us from putting in an offer? As some background, the property has been on the market for 50 days and the price as dropped over 100k in that time, bringing it 50k under other comparable properties in the community.

  • Bill Gassett April 18, 2011, 11:46 am

    Jon from the information you provided it does sound like this Realtor may not understand short sales. It is hard to tell for sure but a $100,000 drop in price in such a short period of time and no communication with the lender certainly could be red flags.

  • Carol April 28, 2011, 4:43 pm

    Hi Bill, Very helpful information! My husband and I are looking at a short-sale property and the price seems REALLY LOW. the house was assessed by town $520K and was selling $570K in January and delisted early April. the house is now represented by a different agent, short selling for $390K. We are going to see the open house on Sunday 5/1 and would like to make an offer if everything is “reasonablly well” because we love the location. The selling agent wrote “all offers will be looked at Monday 5/2/2011 noon”.
    How does this sound to you?? BTW, this house is located in a very popular town where the average house price is ~700K.

  • Bill Gassett April 28, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Carol what you would need to be careful of is whether the agent priced the property too low. The lender will send an appraiser or agent to verify the value. If the agreed upon price is too the the lender will counter based upon the appraisal they receive.

  • Kevin May 17, 2011, 5:23 am

    Hi Bill, I am in the process of buying a short sale property, but have some questions? seems that between my realtor and the listing agent I am being misled. 1st can the listing agent hold off on submitting my offer to the bank if there are no other offers or other offers have been rejected? 2nd is it procedure to get and inspection before the bank excepts my offer? I do not want to risk loosing $$ without the bank accepting my offer. situation is this; I was told by the listing agent as well as my realtor that a cash offer was submitted, and was rejected for being to low. I then signed my offer with my realtor and submitted but that same day was told that the cash buyers came back with an offer close to mine, so the sellers agent went and submitted the cash offer again because it was close seemed to be a safer bet. the bank rejected there offer again and the buyers pulled there funds out. I was told by the listing agent where I would have to be in order to be taken seriously. So I submitted another offer. but now she’s telling me that the sellers attorney wont sign my offer and is trying to re-submit the cash offer that the bank already rejected. seems to me me at this point the sellers attorney would be buying time to push for foreclosure so the home owner won’t owe anything after all at this point the bank has no idea that my offers even exist. I was told the home is close to foreclosure. seems like a lot of games and waste of my time. Does this sound at all right to you?
    Thanks Kevin

  • Bill Gassett May 17, 2011, 11:06 am

    Kevin the thing you have to understand is that the seller still owns the home and calls all the shots. They do not have to submit your offer to the bank. I am not saying they shouldn’t but there is nothing legally that says they need to. In regards to the home inspection that is again up to the seller on when they allow you to do it. If I was the listing agent I would be asking you to do it up front as well. The last thing a seller needs is to get short sale approval and then find out the buyer is walking due to a home inspection. From a buyer’s perspective if you found issues after an approval there would be no negotiating with the lender. If done prior to approval you could negotiate a credit for a major issues discovered during the inspection.

    A cash offer is attractive and I assume that is why the seller has been trying to get the other deal to work.

  • Ella Smith August 8, 2011, 8:36 pm

    We sold our home a few years ago. The realtor , after receiving an offer to buy, then decided to give the buyer $10,000. to do what ever they wanted to the home. The home was in excellent condition and did not need any major repairs. Was that a legal transaction? Could we have disagreed with this giving our money away?

  • Bill Gassett August 8, 2011, 9:35 pm

    Ellen I am not sure how the Realtor had the “authority” to make decisions like this for you? You owned the house so of course you could have disagreed. A Realtor who lists your home should be working on your behalf to get you the best terms and conditions.

  • Lynne August 29, 2011, 3:35 pm

    Hi Bill,
    I represent the buyer in my first ever short sale and the seller’s agent is also a newbie to short sales. Wouldn’t you know it, the home is with BOA and has a 2nd lender as well. We are going on 9+ months and foreclosure proceedings have already begun. Every time I have spoken with the seller’s agent I have begged him get help from a more experienced agent or even his office manager, but he refuses. Do I have any chance of BOA speaking with me directly? I am at a loss on how I can help my clients as a buyer’s agent.

  • Bill Gassett August 29, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Lynne the situation you describe unfortunately is one you see all too often. There are many Realtors listing short sales that have no business doing so. It really is a shame because the poor seller is going to lose their home to foreclosure and you and your buyer have wasted close to a year trying to buy the house.

    There is no way for you to speak to the lender directly because you would need to be authorized to do so by the seller. I hope the short sale works out for the best but it does not sound like that is going to happen.

  • Gwen September 4, 2011, 12:45 pm

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for all the info! We have been searching for a house for months, and wouldn’t you know it, we have fallen in love with a house that happens to be a short sale. The good news is the house is quite new, and in great shape. The bad news, I fear that the seller’s agent is all the things you describe about not being well-versed in doing short sales. This property has already taken one buyer to the table and fallen out of escrow. Given that we really love this property, is there any way to increase our odds? Maybe request that she get an attorney to work the deal on our behalf? We would gladly pay the fees. Is this even reasonable to request?

  • Bill Gassett September 5, 2011, 4:33 pm

    Gwen if I were you I would definitely suggest the agent gets an attorney that knows what they are doing with this short sale. There are so many agents doing short sale now that don’t have any clue what so ever and are flying by the seat of their pants.

  • Kris October 11, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for such an informative blog. I have two questions: A property we’re looking at has been on and off the market as a short sale for 3-4 years (without selling), and has been vacant for most (if not all) of that. There are 2 mortgages on the house. Is there something that could explain why it never went into foreclosure?

    Second, the property would need to be hooked into the sewer and water, at a cost of around $15-$18K. Is there ever a case where a bank will give cash back at closing of a short sale to cover a mandatory cost like that?


  • Bill Gassett October 12, 2011, 2:10 am

    Kris it is highly unusual for it every to take that long for a bank to foreclosure. My 1st thought would be there may be some kind of title problem with the property. In regards to whether or not a lender will give cash back for a sewer hook up it is highly unlikely.

  • K October 23, 2011, 9:34 pm

    I listed my first short-sale. We submitted all paperwork in a timely manner and got a buyer relatively quickly. The buyers agent asked about a 2nd to which the seller insisted he did not have. We did not do a title search as this was not part of the “short sale” process. Per the buyers, I contacted the bank twice a week and sent updates. Initially the bank told me that since all the paperwork was in, they could have an answer in 7-10 days + allow 1-week for back log. Three months later, we finally got approval and everything went to title, only to find out that there was a second. They seller had filed ch. 7 and this released him personally from financial obligation, but not the lien against the property. The buyers and their agent are furious. They involved the title lawyer to settle the second, but the second wants a considerable about to release the loan. At the same time something broke in the basement and the basement is full of black mold. During this time the buyer’s moved to two rentals and are holding me, the listing agent responsible since I told them we would have an answer in 7-10 days (which came directly from the bank), and that there was no 2nd (which the seller said he did not have). I checked the listing paperwork and the seller did not mention anything about the 2nd in our paperwork or the paperwork that the bank requested. I believe the buyer will be elevating this and I’m not sure what to do at this point. Please advise

  • Bill Gassett October 23, 2011, 9:55 pm

    K – I am going to tell you that you made a huge mistake not doing a title search. This is one of the first things that are done in a short sale. This is NOT optional – it is always done for the exact reason you have mentioned in your comment. You can never rely on a seller to know for sure whether there are liens against the property in a short sale. In a short sale you also can not assume that if you here it is going to be X days for short sale approval that it will be. You need to remember the person you are talking to at the lender is just a glorified clerk who has no decision making power.

    As far as what the buyer can do to hold you legally responsible is a question for a Real Estate attorney.

  • John December 27, 2011, 6:19 pm

    Hi Bill,

    The information you have provided and interesting! My brother in law bought a house in FL in 2005 for 210,000. Three years ago refinanced and rolled their truck, boat, and CC debit in to the loan. Now the house is worth 110,00 and they want to go through a short sale. They have not been delinquent on any payments to this point, but have been given the advice to quit paying mortgage. Will they have to pay back the truck, boat, and CC debit or will that be absorbed by the lender since it is all rolled into the house loan.

    Thank you,


  • Bill Gassett December 27, 2011, 11:06 pm

    Hi John – there is no way for me to tell you whether or not the short sale will get approved with this limited information. The terms the lender will settle at are also impossible to determine. I will make mention however, that there could be tax consequences because the money in the refinance did not go towards the home. I would check with an accountant.

  • Jason January 27, 2012, 12:35 am

    That’s a funny video on short sales. Its amazing how few realtors are actually prepared to truly go to battle for their clients. Pasted below, is a funny video on short sales, that teaches you the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure. —> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH_xWYzE3xU

  • A Jones February 20, 2012, 7:46 am

    I would like know with putting a contract on a short sale. Will the seller pay for appraisal, termiate inspection and closing. Or is this asking for to much. I am doing a contract in 2days?

  • Bill Gassett February 20, 2012, 12:45 pm

    A Jones – You need to remember the reason why the seller is doing a short sale is because they are strapped financially. I am sure the seller is not going to want to pay fir things that are typical buyer expenses.

  • Lynn September 16, 2012, 7:02 pm

    Hi Bill,
    I put a cash offer on a Short sale home that has been listed for one year and a half. My offer was accepted two weeks later and the listing agent contacted my agent and said that the HUD was being resent because of a mistake? One week later the lenders rep contacted my agent to tell her that a second lein exists. I asked the rep why this wasn’t brought up before and he said that he just found out. He asked if I was also willing to pay for2011 Real estate tax lien. Is this the responsibility of the buyer? I asked if he had the amount for 2012 RE taxes and he said he didn’t. He said it shouldn’t be more than $2k. I went and got an Municpal lien certificate which was recomended by my agent and it was $4500 which included 2011 and 2012 RE taxes and water.
    I also haven’t had a home inspection done. I figured I should wait until I’m told that the 2nd lien is cleared by the second lender. The water is currently shut off which is one of my concerns because I don’t know if the plumbing is okay. I do see signs in both bathrooms that it’s been winterized.

    Should I also have a title search done?

    Now the bank rep said he had to do an extension for another month to solve the problem about the second lien which is around 30k. He asked if I was willing to pay it if the lender didn’t want to clear it and I said no. I mentioned that I am willing to pay the tax lien and water lien which I thought was only 2k.

    Any advice?

  • Bill Gassett September 16, 2012, 11:26 pm

    Lynn – I am not sure why you are paying the tax lien? This is something the seller should be taking care of. Nobody knows that there is a 2nd mortgage of a property after it has been listed for sale for a year and a half? It does not sound like the person handling the short sale knows what they are doing.

  • Kevin Vitali December 7, 2012, 8:56 pm

    Bill- I recently asked an agent if they had a completed short sale package ready to go with an offer they asked me what that was!!!

    Talk about scary.

  • charles February 18, 2013, 3:04 pm

    I am a first time home buyer, I found a home i like and put a offer on it, it is a short sale home. Its been 3 weeks since i put an offer on the home and it has disappeared from the mls and all listing sites and the for sale sign in front is now gone. They were asking 129000 we offered 125000. When looking up the home on any site it now says not for sale. Our realtor hasn’t said anything to us. Im in no hurry honestly and dont mind the wait just curious if this is normal is does this mean the seller changed their mind on going thru short sale?

  • Bill Gassett February 18, 2013, 5:21 pm

    Charles – you should ask your agent what is going on. It could be simply that it is now marked under contract and has fallen out of MLS. You should be certain however this is the case.

  • Brian Talley March 26, 2013, 10:51 am

    Great resource you have here Bill! I’ve just finished moving out of Florida where short sales and forclosures are at insane levels. Your information here is some of the best advice though that I’ve found. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bill Gassett March 26, 2013, 11:16 am

    Thanks Brian. We don’t have nearly the amount of short sales here in my area of Massachusetts that you do in Florida. There are enough short sales to keep busy though. It is gratifying to be able to help so many people to get out of a financial jam.

  • Allen Deaver October 2, 2013, 1:01 pm

    Bill thank you for your informative blog on Short Sales. As an agent who has done many of them in the paste they can be very challenging. For a short sale to be successful it takes cooperation on all parties involved, the homeowner contacting the bank early and lots of patience. Lucky in the Kyle Texas area a rapidly growing city south of Austin we do not have as many short sales as in the past. But they must be done by an agent who is familiar with the process. I recommend an agent who has a SFR designation.

  • Bill Gassett October 2, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Allen you are spot on! In order to be successful with a short sale it is a must to have cooperation from all parties involved. When problems arise you also need to have someone who is competent in the short sale arena. I find that so many agents have no idea how to properly handle a short sale and that’s where the problems arise to begin with.

  • Linda Gray November 13, 2013, 11:40 pm

    I am trying to buy a short sale. Wasn’t advised that there was a 2nd mortgage until 6 weeks after signing contract by seller’s agent. What should I do?

  • Bill Gassett November 13, 2013, 11:47 pm

    Hi Linda – do you not have your own agent? This is a question they should have asked for you. Don’t despair though because having a second mortgage holder does not mean you won’t get approval. It will take a little longer so be prepared for that.

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