Buying Foreclosures and Short Sales – The Real Story Behind

Short Sales or Foreclosure purchase
Buying Foreclosures and Short Sales

Once you’ve finished the credit repair process, the fun part begins: shopping for your new home. During your home purchase hunt, you will come across many properties that are not straight up standard home sales. Some are short sales, others foreclosures, still others, bank-owned homes. All of these can be tempting to hunt for, as they are sometimes sold for less than the price of standard sales. But, there are a few things you should know about each of these categories before you dive in:


This type of property is commonly referred to on real estate sites as a bank owned or Real Estate Owned (REO) property. The original homeowner is not involved in the sale, since the bank owns the property. While foreclosures have been, historically, priced to sell, many regions have seen the prices on these homes rise. In many cases, there is no difference between the prices of a foreclosed home and one being offered by the owner in a standard sale.

The lender/owner in an REO property does not have to make all of the disclosures required in a standard sale. The houses are sold as is, so, ensure that you have a thorough professional inspection before you commit. Many of these homes have issues because of damage done by the former owners.

Short Sales

Short sales involve the owner, the buyer and the lender. These homes are being sold, with the approval of the bank, for less than the previous owner owes on their mortgage. A short sale allows a seller who is upside down on the property a way out without destroying their credit.

The downside of short sales is that they can take a long time to close. The seller and lender must both agree to any offer. If there are multiple lenders, each one needs to approve the sale. You may see some short sales that are advertised as “approved” short sales. These are ones where a previous buyer’s offer was approved, but the deal fell through for some reason. But, even though another offer was approved does not mean that yours will be. If the market has improved, the bank may want a higher price than they would have accepted before.

There can also be some additional costs that must be paid in cash before the sale, such as fees that must be paid off before the title can be transferred. But, if you have the time and the patience, short sales can be worth the headache. Often, these houses will sell for far less than the market value in your area.

While home shopping, it’s important to know what you are getting into in any possible deal. Make sure you are familiar with the seller and bank’s obligations and any possible drawbacks before you get involved. Knowledge can help you protect yourself and get you a more equitable deal on your new home.


For more information on on how to purchase a foreclosure or short sale contact our office today.