I always get a kick out of the fact that everybody and their brother is talking about short sales these days. I don’t doubt that you can find some great deals out there via the short-sale route, but these deals generally turn out to be a waste of time. Consider these issues:
- Most sellers and/or their agents don’t know what they are doing – People seem to have this odd impression that even though they owe $200,000 on the loan, they can just put the property out on the market for $120,000 and short-sell it without the bank blinking an eye. No though for protocol, valuation, just a lazy desire to have someone else shoulder the impact of their foolish purchases
- The process is time consuming – A two to three month turnaround is certainly not unheard of to close a short sale. With ever changing lender practices and market environments, what might seem like a good deal today, might not seem so great three months from now when it comes time to close. I have seen buyers get tied up waiting on a short sale, only to pass up other great (and easier) deals while they wait.
- Wasted effort – Considering how time consuming the process can be, its amazing how many owners and listing agents put these properties on the market when they are 15 days from foreclosure. You end up putting an offer on the table, jump through every hoop imaginable, and the property ends up getting foreclosed on before you can get anything done.
- There are plenty of great foreclosure buys – I stay plenty busy, and find tons of great deals from the seemingly endless supply of foreclosures that are constantly coming on the market. That isn’t changing anytime soon either. No matter what kind of investment property you are looking for, there are always plenty of properties that will fit your criteria coming on at any given time. Why jump through so many hoops to possibly make a deal when something just as good is right in front of your nose?
In short, for most investors, the short sale is not worth messing with. In most situations at least. That is not to say that you shouldn’t consider giving them a look, but don’t let all those so-called gurus make you think it’s so easy. Just like anything else, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” There is a lot of hard-work that goes into making these deals work and if you are looking for a quick buck you’re better off looking elsewhere.