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If I had a dollar for every short sale that didn’t close on time…

Short Sale Approval LettersBuyers and Short Sales

If I had a dollar for every short sale transaction that didn’t close on time, I’d be rich. Rich, I say. I’d be able to pay the mortgages of all of the folks having trouble making ends meet in San Diego County.

Every real estate caravan or meeting that I attend, I hear lenders and loan officers discussing the ever-changing guidelines for mortgage qualification. Mortgage lenders are adding additional reviews to their underwriting process. Employers are checked through a third-party verification system. Appraisals are sent to appraisal review. And the list goes on and on.

Because of all of these new hurdles on the road to obtaining a mortgage, it has become increasingly more difficult to close a transaction in thirty days.

However, the short sale lenders frequently only allow for thirty days on their short sale approval. I had three short sales that were supposed to close on Friday. On one, five days before the closing date, the underwriter requested an additional item in order to provide final loan approval. On another, the underwriter felt that a signature was too light and then requested further proof of the legitimate signature. On the third, the loan documents were generated with the incorrect purchase price.

In a traditional transaction, these issues can easily be conveyed to the seller and the seller’s agent who will be irritated but will understand. Short sale lenders also get pretty irritated when they hear the news. Some will tell you that they are closing the file and you have to start over and process the entire short sale all over again. Maybe it’s because they are mad because you have impacted their quota or their closings for the month. Or, maybe it’s because they are tired of the short sale transaction because it has taken so stinkin’ long to close. But, if I had a dollar for every short sale transaction that didn’t close on time, I’d offer to give the short sale negotiator fifty cents. Perhaps that would do the trick.

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Written By

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.



  1. Jacksonville short sale

    May 3, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Amen! Just had a BOA short sale approved, sent the docs to the buyer's side, and they forwarded to the buyer's lender….BOA. Same bank, both sides.

    Short sale BOA wanted closing in 45 days after much arm twisting to move it past the standard 30 days. Buyer's BOA instantly asked to extend the term from 45 days to 60 days. We were on day 1, but they already knew for sure they couldn't pull it off in time.

  2. Liz Benitez

    May 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I always try and have my clients prepared for a very short time frame to close once the Short Sale is approved. Unfortunately you are right about the lenders. There is nothing my clients can do to hurry them up.

  3. LesleyLambert

    May 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I didn't know they ever closed on time 🙂

  4. MH for Movoto

    May 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

    We recently did a survey of our Movoto Partner Agents and we asked them about their experiences with short sales. Everyone agreed that it took forever, but significantly more of them said that it took forever and worked out than said that it took forever and fell through. So that's something, I suppose.

  5. Elizabeth

    May 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Interesting… thanks for the tips!

  6. Ken Bryant

    May 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Great Post! I'm closing my first "short sale" and even though the time frame was pretty quick (less than 60 days)I have a seller that doesn't want to leave and we're about to record…

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