Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

First Time Home Buyers and Short Sales

Lots of home buyers are interested in buying short sales these days. You may be, too. And no wonder. There is lots of media coverage about the huge number of these distressed properties. And lots of buzz about how they can be a great deal.

Let’s do a little reality check here.

Yep, there are lots of short sales, especially in certain parts of the country. And many first time home buyers may find that most of the homes in their price range are short sales, particularly in the Carlsbad area (and the rest of San Diego). So you may not have a choice but to try and purchase one.

Some buyers believe the term “short sale” means just that…a sale that happens quickly. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. A “short sale” is really a “long sale”, and sometimes they never happen. Getting approval on a short sale can take days, weeks or even months. So if you need to move in fairly quickly, or have only a moderate tolerance for waiting, a short sale may drive you nuts.

As far as being a deal, well that, too, can be a myth. The list price may be especially appealing, but that is not necessarily what the bank will accept. They will be looking for market value and will decide what amount they will approve based on an appraisal or a BPO (Broker Price Opinion). Consider, also, that if the price is terrific you will have lots of competition also looking for a great deal, with multiple offers and a range of prices. So the dollar amount the bank will accept may be more than the list price, and much closer to market value. So much for the great deal you thought you would get.

Finally, short sales are normally sold “as is.” This means that you must take on the repairs and defects yourself rather than the seller taking care of them. This can cost you more money.

Be sure to factor these issues into your thinking as you embark on your home search. Buying the short sale may be right, and may work for you, Just don’t count on it. And be prepared to switch gears if things are not moving along.


If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360
or email me at

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All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits


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