For a while there it was like having a secret fishing hole.  I would show a great property at a compelling price and WHAMM the buyer would be on the hook .  The deals were too good to let go and buyers stayed on the hook as long as the value was good.  We did lose some buyers due to impatience or an even better deal, but all in all 99% of the short sales we have been involved with closed.   I admit that I do not know everything about short sales, but some of the things that I have learned should help other buyers, sellers or agents. 

How to Buy (or Sell) a Short Sale on Hilton Head Island

  1. Choose a Realtor that has experience with short sales ~ This is not for the faint hearted, experience counts.  Chose a Realtor that has been involved or taken classes on short sales.  There are certain rules that all the players should be familiar with. 
  2. Get Pre-Approved by a Local Lender~ A short sale offer needs to be all cash or have a loan that has been pre-approved.  Sellers need to choose their offers based on the buyers ability to perform.
  3. Hire a Short Sale Negotiator~ We have short sale negotiators on Hilton Head that work for buyers or sellers.  Often we align our purchasers with a short sale negotiator early in the process as we have found our negotitations to be more successful this way.  The fee for the negotiator may charge most of the times is a whole lot less than the savings realized.  Some sellers hire short sale negotiators before they even have an offer in order to expedite this often length process. 
  4. Develop your short sale property list ~ Short sales are not always easy to find.  That is why we developed this Hilton Head Short Sale link that is always up to date.  Pick 3 short sales and set a time with your Realtor to go see them together.  Keep in mind, the seller will not repair anything, so choose your properties carefully.
  5. Do your homework~ The internet makes it possible to research a property and learn more about short sales.   As you finalize your list and narrow down to the top three, use the map functions, the property history and the public records to find everything you need to know about the property you are considering.
  6. Schedule your tour ~  Buyers and sellers need to go look at the properties that are offered today to determine value.  If you have not yet done this as a seller, call your Realtor and they will be happy to show you the market.  If you are a buyer, your top three should be enough to finalize the first and second pick  in person.
  7. Make your offer~ The offer should be cash or a  pre – approved mortgage.  Your offer should include an inspection contingency that is satisfactory to purchaser within x daysof acceptance, but also state the property is being sold “as-is”. It should include the purchaser paying for a CL-100 within 14 days of purchase unless the property offers a transferable termite bond.   It should have a closing date “30 days from bank approval” and also have a contingency that states “subject to 3rd party bank approval”.  Other than these, the offer should be reasonable and if it is, the seller should not counter, but accept it as is.
  8. Hurry up and wait ~ Sellers have homework for the first few weeks, but the benefit is they can now live in their home for the next few months.  We have found that the short sale process can take anywhere from 60-365 days.  Once the words BPO and negotiator surface, it usually means we are 60-90 days from a possible closing.  Sometimes this is early on, but the average is about 5 months before closing.
  9. Renegotiation may be necessary~ Sometimes sellers and purchasers need to renegotiate with the banks. We have resubmitted offers to different negotiators and found acceptance or a counter that may work.  It seems as soon as you are ready to throw in the towel, the deal crystallizes.  My advise is to never, never give up on a short sale. 
  10. Close and Celebrate~ Closing is a reason for all parties to celebrate.  Everyone wins in a short sale. 

Patience is rewarded on Hilton Head Island

Although one purchaser said “They really need to change the name to something like long sale, it has been anything but short” he can still look back and know that he got a deal.  As the agent representing the seller, I must mention that he was the 3rd purchaser.  Knowing what I know now, both the other purchasers should have hung in there a little longer as they left money and a great property on the table.  If you are a purchaser and are prepared to being patient, you will get a great property with a short sale on Hilton Head Island.