Short Sales: Market Value, Not Fantasyland

J Philip Faranda February 3, 2011

As short sales have become more common and are even showing up in new markets in Westchester, I find myself educating my colleagues on what can and cannot be done in order to have a successful closing. Lately, we’ve received offers that are unrealistically low; essentially, what the buyers do not understand is that the lender is going to evaluate their offer based on comparable market activity, not their speculative attempts to get a bargain. 

I don’t blame buyers for wanting to get a good deal. I want the same thing for my own buyers- who doesn’t? But the lender in a short sale is not nearby, so they hire a professional to determine the value. Typically an appraisal or a broker price opinion are done and sent to the bank. If the BPO or appraisal match or are close to the offer, and approval is likely. If the offer is considerably lower than the bank findings, the lender will ask for more money. 

This is where agents need to educate the buying public. It is irresponsible to tie a house under contract for  an unrealistic low amount.  No seller can risk several months waiting for the bank to issue an inevitable denial when the home could have been active on the market and attracted a better offer. “Short sale” is not code for a steal. Buyers should ask their agent for comparable activity and formulate their offer based on realistic events. 

The market in Westchester County is relatively strong compared to much of the rest of the USA. Local activity is relevant to the short sale approval, not the considerably more depressed values in other areas of the nation. Buyers should base their offers on comparable sales (which we have in abundance in New York) and not speculation. I would encourage any buyer to read my prior post on short sales and what you need to know before buying one

Previous articles on Short Sales

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