How Long Does it Take to Buy a Short Sale?

How Long Does it Take to Buy a Short Sale?


Are there short sales still out there? You might be surprised and if you’re looking for a great deal, short sales and banked owned homes are a good way to snag a discount if you’re willing to wait.

There’s really nothing “short” about buying a short sale. The process generally takes longer than buying a traditional sale. Short sales are two-part endeavors. First, you have to wait for the seller’s lender to approve the sale, and secondly, you need to get through the escrow period in which you and the seller complete all your contract obligations. Ideally, these two things will only take a two to three months. However, depending on the lender and particulars of the deal, it could take more than a year.

It takes a lot of documentation and time to convince a lender to take a financial hit. The seller has to persuade the lender to take a loss by selling you their home for less than the amount due on their loan. Some lenders process short sales with a little more eagerness than others and if they have a lot of short sales on their plate, it can really take a long time. If there’s more than one lender involved, that can take time too.  One thing that can lessen the time in escrow, however, is buying with cash.

When trying to shorten the short sale timeline, a seller’s and buyer’s response times can really come into play. Lenders set deadlines for documents needed from sellers. If sellers have these documents complete and ready, it can really help a lot. A missed signature or incomplete paperwork or lost documents can slow down the process greatly.

When it comes to short sales, timelines can vary by how many lenders are involved, how many short sales said lender is dealing with,  and how on top of paperwork the sellers and buyers are.


If you’re looking to score a deal and would like a top-notch real estate agent on your side that knows short sales and how to negotiate with banks, give us a call. We’d love to help you find a perfect investment home or a great fixer in Virginia, MD or DC.

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