Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

My Buyer’s Short Sale Checklist

Posted in Short Sales,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on March 12, 2009
Tags: , ,

Lots of buyers these days are considering short sales in their home search. And you should.

A short sale MAY not be the best deal for you, and they require a great deal of patience because of how long they can potentially take to close.

In some markets and budgets, you may not have a choice but to look at distress homes.

Here are some things you need to consider:

1.  Determine your patience level (know that getting a response on a short sale can take weeks or longer; how long are you willing or able to wait?)

2.  Hire a knowledgeable agent (always a smart idea but work with someone who has some experience with short sales – what they are, how they work, etc.)

3.  Get pre-approved (again, always a good idea, but know that some short sale listings will mandate you provide a pre-approval from a specific lender, namely the one who is the primary loan)

4.  Understand why you want to buy a short sale (sounds simple, but they are not necessarily great deals and there are many hurdles – are you truly serious about buying one?)

5.  Understand the basics of what a short sale is and how it works (there’s that requirement again to work with a knowledgeable agent who hopefully is not testing the short sale waters with YOU!)

6.  Understand what AS IS means and be prepared for it (short sales generally are sold AS IS, i.e., without any warranties or repairs)

7.  Plan to have a complete home inspection (you are foolhardy, in my opinion, if you are not VERY thorough in your due diligence; you can’t cry “I didn’t know” after the fact)

8.  Look at your budget carefully (do you have cash to take on repairs and other unexpected expenses, on top of the mortgage, interest, insurance, HOA fees, etc.?)

9.  Set expectations (but be realistic, and prepared. Some homes show well and others are, well, shocking)

10.  Be prepared for surprises and changes (real estate is fraught with surprises, and short sales are no exception)

11.  Don’t expect short sale transactions to act like other deals you may have been involved in – they have their own set of “rules”

12.  Be willing to move on (be prepared to make the decision to move after submitting a offer if you need to) or to at least continue looking at other homes


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

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All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler


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