As I mentioned in my last post, there are several reasons why a lender might choose to foreclose versus approving a short sale.   But there are a few things you and your Realtor can do to improve your chance of having your sale approved. 

1.  Submit a quality offer.  Here are a few things your Realtor should look for in any offer you receive: 

  • The offered price shouldn’t be significantly less than market value.  The lender is less likely to approve the sale if he feels that his loss is greater than necessary.
  • The buyer can show more than sufficient funds to close the deal.  The larger the down payment the better.  Banks will consider a contribution to closing costs, but remember, they are looking for the highest possible net return on the sale.
  • The buyer agrees to put his/her earnest money deposit into escrow before short sale approval.  This shows the lender that the buyer is committed and less likely to walk away from the deal.  If the sale is not approved, the deposit is of course returned to the buyer.
  • The buyer should plan on paying for any needed repairs, including termite.  Don’t submit an offer that asks for repairs or a home warranty.
  • The offer must not be contingent on the sale of the buyer’s current home.  Buyer should be flexible about when they need to move out of their current residence.
  • The offer should be well written and easy to understand.  (More on that subject in a future post), 

2.  Submit all required documents. 

  • Make sure your Realtor has confirmed with your lender regarding every required document.  They should all be submitted at one time to help prevent certain items from getting lost in the lenders system.
  • If additional (or yes, duplicate) documents are requested, submit them as quickly as possible and have your Realtor or negotiator confirm receipt. 

3.  Remember the squeaky wheel…. 

  • Whether it is your Realtor or a professional negotiator who is representing your short sale to the bank, they need to be in regular communication with the lender, inquiring about progress on your file.  1 phone call a week is not sufficient.  The negotiator on the bank’s side needs to understand that you are very serious about gaining their approval and selling your home.
  • Ask for updates from your Realtor and make sure that there is follow-up with the lender 2-3 times per week.  You should know at all times where you are on the foreclosure timeline.  Make sure you immediately provide your Realtor with any letters you receive from your lender or any legal notices.

There are many important details in a short sale that are very different from a standard equity sale.  When listing your home, make sure you select a Realtor who is experienced with short sales.  Saving your home from foreclosure is way too important a task to trust to an inexperienced agent.