Many of my buyers start out by asking me to find a short sale for them. They really don't understand what a short sale is. First of all, a short sale is anything but short. It can take up to 6 months to close on a short sale.
A property which is listed as a Short Sale means that the seller is asking less for the property than is owed to the bank which creates a short fall. In order to get the bank to consider taking the lesser amount, there has to be an offer on the property. Once, the seller accepts the offer, then an application has to be made to the bank to approve the short sale. It can take up to 90 days to get an answer as to whether or not your offer was accepted. That means that you don't do any inspections or appraisals until you know for certain that your offer was accepted by the bank.
I generally advise clients who are on a time restraint such as needing to get out of an apartment by a certain date not to get involved in a short sale. A professional sales agent can write an offer on a short sale in such a way that after say 30 days, the buyer has the right to move on and make the offer null and void.
If you are considering a short sale, consider whether you have the patience and the time to wait it out.
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