If you are looking to buy a home, you may have heard that short sales are among the fastest growing property transactions in today’s market. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, short sale transactions more than doubled in 2009 compared to 2008, and short sales are expected to increase further. You may be wondering: What is a short sale? Is a short sale right for me? And, how do I buy a short sale?
With falling home prices and higher inventories, most of the public views real estate as a “buyer’s market,” in which buyers hold more of the control and sellers will more eagerly accept lower offers just to sell.
Not so fast, say buyers and sellers. More buyers are finding the sellers in the driver’s seat.
Buyer Young Hammack gave up looking for homes for a while after being outbid on three properties in California. "It's a false buyer's market," Hammack says. "If you think prices are cheap, wait until you start putting offers in."
Many sellers may be unable or unwilling to lower their home prices — mostly because they may be underwater on their mortgage — so buyers are increasingly finding lower offers than list price denied. Buyers, on the other hand, may be reluctant to agree to a deal if they don’t feel like they are getting it at a deep discount, industry insiders say.
Traditional buyers also are finding even buying a foreclosure can be difficult as they’re increasingly outbid by investors who are willing to pay cash.
"There's a shortage of attractive inventory," says Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin Corp. "Customers just keep getting outbid on the houses that they want."
Real estate professional Steve Capen with Keller Williams Realty in St. Petersburg, Fla., says that the homes most in demand among buyers often don’t require much repair work and are located in good school districts and choice neighborhoods near transit hubs.
"What's selling is the cream of the crop, and they sell fast," Capen says. "If it's not cream of the crop, it's getting hammered."