When you are looking to buy a home in the Atlanta area, it can be worth your while to investigate short sale offerings. Buying short sale homes requires you to have all your ducks in a row financially, as you will work with a lender who is particularly concerned about your creditworthiness. However, if everything works out, buying short sale homes benefits not only you, the home buyer, but also the seller and the lender.

Understanding short sale homes

If a homeowner can no longer afford his or her mortgage, a short sale offers a way to avoid foreclosure. Rather than try to sell the house for what is owed on the mortgage or what the owner originally paid for it, the lender agrees to sell the house for its current market value. Unlike a foreclosure, a short sale only negatively affects the seller’s credit for two years.

Work with a short sale agent

Working with a buyer’s agent is generally a good idea when you’re in the market for a home. It’s an especially good idea when you’re looking into buying short-sale homes. Because this process is different, choose an agent who has experience with short sales. You want an agent who understands how pricing for short sales works and who can direct you to the right homes in the area.

One common mistake in short sales is offering the lender too little for the property. An experienced buyer’s agent will give you an idea of the fair market value for the home based on the value of similar homes in the area. Ideally, the agent will work with an attorney during the approval process.

Get the home inspected

Typically, the person selling a short-sale home won’t be allowed to fix it up or make improvements. As the buyer, you should have a home inspection done before you move forward. Most short-sale homes are sold “as is,” meaning you can’t ask the seller or lender to pitch in for any repairs. Before you commit to the home, you need to know what you are getting yourself into.

Be patient

Patience is essential when buying short-sale homes. The lender needs to approve your offer before the sale can move forward. Depending on the circumstances, it typically takes about two months for a lender to approve or reject an offer. In some cases, it can take longer. While buying a short-sale home can mean you get a good deal, if you need to move in to your new place or be out of your current home by a certain date, it might not be the best option for you.

For plenty of buyers, the extra time required when buying a short-sale home is worth it. If you really love a house or are looking for a great deal, a short sale can be the way to go.

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