Let me just start off by saying that I am a real estate agent who works with clients all over Greater Los Angeles and lately I have spent a lot of time looking for deals for my clients in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Silver lake to name a few. My clients have real budgets and realistic goals…and what do I see almost 75% of the time when looking for properties…SHORT SALES!!! Short sales have become the norm! I remember two years ago when most agents and even buyers did not want to go near a short sale, it was almost taboo to buy one, let alone consider selling your home as a short sale! Short Sales in Los Angeles are all over the place and it makes perfect sense considering many, many people either re-financed, bought properties with interest only loans, or bought at the height of the market and have NO equity in their property. Short Sales are a great way to buy a property at a “good deal” because the sellers are realistic and just want to move on from the situation, the lender (in most cases) takes fair market value for the property, and most of the time these properties are distressed and might need a little work, which is great for a savvy buyer! I myself have sold many short sales and helped my clients buy short sales as well, and I’ve also overseen hundreds of short sales in my experience while previously working for a real estate firm that specialized only in short sales a couple years back. Having been on both sides of the table in a short sale…I understand how it works and how to make it hassle-free! That’s right, Short sales CAN be hassle free. I’d like to share a few tips here in regards to buying a property that is a short sale and in short selling your home should you find yourself affected by today’s market and economy.
Short Selling Your Home in Los Angeles:
1)You MUST work with an agent who understands short sales! I cannot stress this enough…someone who has dealt with a few short sales will make it so much easier for you! A short sale in Los Angeles can be stressful, it may make you reconsider the whole idea completely…but if you have an agent who communicates with you and understands the process then it really becomes THAT much easier for everyone!
2)Once you have signed a contract with an agent, make sure the agent is marketing the property…properly and aggressively. The property needs to be disclosed as a short sale, it needs to be priced according to the market, and you need to go over comparable properties with your Realtor to decide the best price. The lenders are there to work with you, and in my experience if you bring them a reasonable offer, they WILL work with you! That brings me to my next point…OFFERS!
3)It is imperative to get a strong buyer, someone who puts a reasonable offer in, someone who has the proper financing, and someone who understands that they may have to wait 3, 4, 5, or 6 months for an answer. A patient, qualified buyer is what you need for a short sale to be successful in Los Angeles.
4)Once your agent has an offer on the property and you have accepted this offer as the seller, it must be sent over to the lender with updated financial information, comparable properties to strengthen your case, and any other information is requested by the lender. Providing the lender with updated information in a timely manner is crucial.
5)Make sure your agent is in contact with the lender, the buyer’s agent, and the buyer, as well as you, the seller. Everyone needs to be communicate in a short sale situation. Every single client with whom I have had open, clear communication has felt that much more comfortable! Please make sure that the lines of communication are open…this is the key to a successful short sale!
6)Once the offer is submitted to your lender along with any other information they have requested, its important to be patient and continue to market for backup offers. A deal is not a “done deal” until escrow is closed, therefore having backup buyers is very important.
7)Once you receive short sale approval…everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. This is the home stretch! Make sure your agent is working with the buyer’s agent to ensure that all inspections are being done within the contingency period, that the financing is moving forward (if financing is necessary) and that everyone is on board, communicating to close this deal! Getting an extension is not always easy, therefore everyone involved needs to be mindful of the following crucial deadlines:
-Contingency removal for inspection, loan, and appraisal
On the other hand, there are many buyers very interested in taking advantage of today’s market and are looking to purchase a short sale, here is my advice for them:
Buying a Short Sale in Los Angeles:
1)Be open minded…the property may need work, it’s not going to be “staged”, it may even be dirty and empty..but remember to look past the small things and focus on the fact that you are getting a great deal.
2) Submit a reasonable offer and remember that the property is being sold “AS IS” and that no repairs will be made
3) Be patient, the lender may take months to respond to your offer, that doesn’t meant you won’t have the opportunity to purchase this property…it just takes time!
4) Be prepared for approval..once you have written short sale approval the clock starts ticking. You need to be ready to have a general inspection completed, to move forward with your financing, and to make arrangements to move.
Many people have been affected by today’s real estate market..but the it’s important to understand that you have options.
Please feel free to contact me today for further information or if you have any questions.