We have wondered if 2012 will be the Year of the Short Sale.

Reader TH asked, “What is the problem with short sales?”

The gripe about short sales is that they take so long to complete.  Over the last few years, it would be 6-12 months before you’d hear anything, let alone close – and buyers wouldn’t wait. 

But now with HAFA throwing a little money at the sellers ($3,000), and relaxing the qualifying guidelines, the process has been streamlined.

A review of 23 short sales closed since November 1, 2011 around NSDCC revealed the following:

1. The average time to approve these short sales was 66 days.

2. Removing three that took 100+ days, and the average was 55 days for short-sale approval.

At first we thought that HAFA’s rule requiring that the lenders waive their right to collect any deficiency, combined with California’s SB 458, could cause the lenders to slow down or stop short sales altogether. But instead, it appears that the system has improved greatly. 

There were 59 sales marked as short sales, but due to the lousy reporting by listing agents, I only considered the 23 that marked their listing from ACT to CONT, and then from CONT to PEND and measured the difference in time. 

The MLS remarks allow for the listing agent to report any concessions.  Only two of the 59 mentioned any money brought in to make the deal, another sticking point from past short sales.

If the lenders are willing to process these promptly (less than two months), and not demand money be brought in, we should see smoother sailing with short-sale approvals this year. 

It looks like 2012 could be the Year of the Short Sale!

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