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Short sales are not always the best choice for buyers

A short sale can save you a lot of trouble if you're behind on your mortgage and need to make a sale, but as a buyer, a short sale has the potential to cause you trouble. Short-sale buyers might get a good deal, but in reality, most don't. It's typical for a short-sale property to actually be less valuable than another home on the market, primarily because the mortgage holder will want to see the home purchased for current market rates. That leaves little room for profit if the buyer wants to sell the home later.

Short sales aren't discounts. If you're interested in properties that are deeply discounted, then a foreclosure may be a better option. A short-sale property is typically sold at the current market value, and it could potentially be sold for more than the current market value.

If you're intending to purchase a short sale, it's a good idea to look into the cost of homes around the one you want to purchase. This can help you negotiate a price that you're willing to pay and that the seller may accept. The downside is that finding out if your offer has been accepted may take many weeks or months, and sometimes, the seller won't ever get back to you.

Before you decide to purchase a short sale, remind yourself that appraisals are subjective, and not all home values are accurate. Your attorney can help you decide if you're making a good financial decision and with the appropriate paperwork if you decide to pursue a short sale moving forward.

Source: The Balance, "Short Sales Are No Bargain for Buyers," Elizabeth Weintraub, accessed Aug. 23, 2017

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