If you’re unfamiliar with the term “short sale,” you might think that the “short” refers to the amount of time it takes to complete the sale, thanks to the smaller price tag. However, what it actually stands for is the loss that the bank takes when selling a property at a loss. The bank loses money and has to pay fees, and the homeowner’s credit rating takes a serious hit. Unfortunately, short sales can be long, drawn out, frustrating processes, which can lead to some problems.
Why Do Short Sales Take a Long Time?
Short sales happen when a homeowner can’t make payments, and instead of letting the home go into foreclosure, makes an agreement with the bank to sell the property at a loss—for less than what it is worth, at least equal to the amount of what the borrower owes. It’s used as an alternative to foreclosure, however, because it curtails additional fees for both the creditor and borrower, making it a more appealing option. Once the home is on the market, however, short sales can take a long time to complete. Once mortgages are owned by more than one party—that is, the bank and other parties—those owners have to all agree to the offers put in by prospective buyers. This can delay the process significantly, especially if the offer is initially accepted but later rejected by another involved party—then, the prospective buyers have to counter and start the whole process over again. All of this can mean that a home can sit empty and unlived in for months or even years at a time, depending on the housing market at the time of sale.
How Can You Protect Empty Home?
If a home is on the market as a short sale, it’s important to keep it protected while it’s not under contract. Empty housing can often be a target for crime, and that’s because people notice that it’s not being lived in—grass becomes overgrown, un-forwarded mail or newspapers may pile up, etc. When this happens, properties may become targets for vandalism or break-ins, particularly if the empty home is in an area where there are any homeless people. An uninhabited home, if left unsecured, can be broken into and damaged – there have been plenty of stories of vandals and thieves breaking into empty homes and ripping copper pipe or wiring out of the walls to resell it. When things like this happen, it can delay the selling of the home even further, as the damages need to be fixed. Break-ins can cause extensive problems that cost a lot of money to fix. Instead of leaving it to chance, banks need to secure, as well as maintain, their properties. That means mowing lawns and securing doors and windows with products like steel guards. Steel window and door covers effectively prevent anyone who doesn’t have a reason to be there from getting into the property. Can you really afford not to use them?