How Long Does a Short Sale Take?

If you have been researching the short sale process online or know someone who has bought or sold a home in a short sale, you may have heard that it can take 6-9 months to complete the transaction. That can seem like an eternity, especially when you are behind on your bills and mortgage payments and just want to put an end to the financial anxiety.

The good news is that the average time frame for a short sale can improve dramatically. The key to expediting the short sale interval is to work with an experienced short sale realtor who is familiar with every aspect of the process and can manage negotiations efficiently with your lender.

When you work with a short sale specialist, it generally takes 3-4 months from the time you initiate the short sale until the house is sold. During this time frame, you are encouraged to stay in the house, even if you cannot afford the mortgage payments. Most lenders will prefer that the homeowner remain in the house, because a vacant house is open to vandalism and theft (e.g., appliances, cabinets, copper wiring, etc.). As an added benefit, staying in your home gives you time to prepare to move and save some money for the deposit or down payment on your next residence.

You may feel impatient or unsettled during the 3-4 month period that it takes to complete the short sale, but it’s important that you cooperate with your realtor and lender throughout the process. Your realtor will need to show your house to potential buyers, which can be an inconvenience but is a vital component in accelerating the short sale. The bank also may ask for additional documentation. Be sure to supply any documentation in a timely manner to your realtor, who submits these documents and acts on your behalf in negotiating with the lender, so the lender does not stop the short sale process and put you at risk of foreclosure.

A couple of large national lenders will take as long as nine months to complete a short sale, but they are the exception rather than the rule. If you work with a highly qualified and experienced short sale realtor, you can get through the short sale process smoothly and get on with rebuilding a secure financial foundation for your family.

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