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Is buying a short-sale home safe and easy?

There are many homes on the market listed as foreclosures or short sales, so if you've become interested in buying cheaply, you may have started considering these properties. Finding the right one can be hard, but with perseverance, you may have discovered a home that looks like a good deal. Is it, though? There are some common pitfalls you can avoid when you're buying a short sale property that can help you avoid having to pay thousands in renovations later on.

Is the property damaged in any way? In some cases, those living in a property that has been foreclosed on will take out frustration on the home. That means damage can be severe and can ruin otherwise beautiful homes. These properties may also be neglected by the banks that own them, and the vacant property can suffer from damage from leaks, termites and other infestations. To avoid these issues, don't ever skip a home inspection.

Remember that legal issues are also important. Can the short-sale be completed? Will your bid be accepted by the mortgage holder? You need to leave a lot of time open for the closing to take place, since negotiations can take longer in short sale and foreclosure cases.

If you buy a short-sale home, the mortgage lender is essentially letting you have the home for less and taking on the risk that the original homeowner won't pay them as much as they owe. That may make it harder to get a good deal, because negotiations may head upward to get more money out of the sale.

Source: Bankrate, "5 common buyer mistakes in a short sale," Lora Shinn, accessed June 30, 2015

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