How Long Do Short Sales Take?

Posted by Marc Rasmussen on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 9:24pm.

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We often get asked from our buyers, "How long do short sales take to close?" I typically give a pretty vague answer because some of them happen quickly and some take what seems like forever. I prepare people that they will typically be waiting for several months to get a response.

Last year I closed this Lakewood Ranch short sale in just over a month. But that is because the bank involved was a local community bank and it was easy to get the decision maker on the telephone.

Clients of mine are currently under contract on a short sale home in the Hammocks. Last week we received a response from the bank. It took just over 3 months for the bank to respond to our offer.

There are many variables that affect short sales response times. Some of them include:

  • What bank is involved? Some banks are more responsive than others.
  • Has the seller provided all of the necessary documents to the bank/negotiator? Lazy/unorganized sellers will delay the process.
  • Who is processing the short sale? Are they any good? Are they persistent in calling the bank?

Many Realtors give the standard answer of 4 to 6 months to close a short sale. Based on the data below this seems to be a pretty good rule of thumb.

Time to Close Sarasota Short Sales

I ran a search in our MLS system for short sales in Sarasota county that have closed from January 1, 2012 to May 2, 2012. These include all areas and price ranges. In this time period and geographic area there was a total of 3,579 transactions with 568 of them listed as short sale. Below are the statistics for the short sales.

 Sold PriceSales Price/List PriceDays to ContractDays to Closed
High $2,700,000 134% 1,370 1,450
Low $17,000 52% 0 27
Average $153,012 95% 163 273
Median $95,500 96% 89 201

The average days to contract is 163 and the average days to close is 273. The difference between these two numbers is the time it took to get the short sale processed and closed. The average difference is 110 days.

I listed the top 50 short sale transactions in terms of price.

Address Sales Price Days to Contract Days to Sold Processing Time
2 SANDY HOOK ROAD 2,700,000 1136 1220 84
604 MOURNING DOVE DR 1,650,000 693 710 17
897 FREELING DR 1,525,000 361 557 196
7350 PERIWINKLE DR 1,400,000 1 252 251
535 SANCTUARY DR # A-702 1,170,000 774 1450 676
1400 SIESTA DR 1,100,000 30 331 301
9261 MCDANIEL LN 850,000 374 449 75
440 CAMILLE DR 845,000 27 423 396
6300 MIDNIGHT PASS RD # 1211 760,000 110 133 23
58 S WASHINGTON DR 725,000 281 453 172
7540 PRESERVATION DR 705,000 9 87 78
705 S CASEY KEY RD 700,000 147 205 58
801 LYTHAM CIR 700,000 274 323 49
563 S PALM AVE # 21 650,000 331 386 55
363 ARDENWOOD DR 610,000 0 27 27
921 INLET CIR 610,000 200 309 109
551 YARDARM LN 592,500 115 186 71
6512 Midnight Pass Rd # 306 575,000 1208 1305 97
101 SUNSET DR # 302 575,000 565 595 30
2633 RANCH CLUB BLVD 555,000 739 781 42
5328 HUNT CLUB WAY 549,000 992 1080 88
252 OSPREY POINT DR 500,000 5 169 164
690 N RIVER RD 475,000 20 84 64
3735 EAGLE HAMMOCK DR 435,000 160 248 88
7614 WEEPING WILLOW CIR 434,000 219 228 9
1657 RIDGEWOOD LN 400,000 67 204 137
650 INDIAN BEACH LN 400,000 156 316 160
1722 HANSEN ST 380,000 179 253 74
4753 ACORN CIR 380,000 139 225 86
4577 TUSCANA DR 380,000 89 146 57
629 ALHAMBRA RD # 904 380,000 4 76 72
1837 ORCHID ST 362,000 207 290 83
630 E BAY ST 350,500 115 271 156
6300 MIDNIGHT PASS RD # 4 350,000 49 162 113
8900 BLIND PASS RD # A112 350,000 176 339 163
392 PINE RANCH TRL 350,000 4 140 136
2045 GULF OF MEXICO DR # 204 350,000 439 665 226
101 TORCELLO CT 347,500 155 252 97
6150 MIDNIGHT PASS RD # V 5 345,000 34 120 86
1088 EAGLES FLIGHT WAY 340,000 55 191 136
4773 HUNTERS RUN 331,000 235 349 114
3606 BAY SHORE RD 325,000 64 191 127
464 ISLAND CIR 325,000 1283 1429 146
8875 MISTY CREEK DR 321,700 100 234 134
523 S PALM AVE # 9 319,900 67 171 104
6701 AVENUE B 319,000 96 244 148
2332 MCCLELLAN PARKWAY 317,000 1370 1400 30
1440 BAYSHORE DR 312,500 312 442 130
5016 SANDY SHORE AVE 310,000 8 91 83
1368 TEAROSE PL 309,000 84 155 71
         
    Average Processing Time

122

In the numbers above I calculated the Processing Time by subtracting the Days to Contract from Days to Sold. Based on the top 50 sales the Average Processing Time was 122 days which is pretty close to 110 days calculated from the total 568 properties sold.

Pre-approved Short Sales

If you scour the MLS enough you will notice that some listings are advertised as a "Pre-approved Short Sale." What usually happens is buyer #1 puts the house under contract, gets tired of waiting for the bank to respond and ultimately cancels the contract. The bank continues working on the short sale approval process and gives a response. The listing Realtor will then advertise that the property has a pre-approved price. Buyer #2 comes in makes an offer and can possibly get the property at the approved price. It depends on how much time has passed between getting the bank response and the new contract.

On some of the short sale transactions above you will notice that the processing time is very short. For example - 7614 WEEPING WILLOW CIRCLE only took 9 days from contract to close. You can see in the Realtor remarks, "LENDER APPROVAL WITHIN 48 HOURS."

Another example is 604 MOURNING DOVE DRIVE on Bird Key. This property closed in a mere 17 days. If you look at the Realtor remarks it says, "BANK APPROVED - FULL PRICE OFFERS ONLY!" This Bird Key short sale had been under contract a few times so that probably elicited the bank response allowing it to close so quickly when the final contract came in.

Key Takeaway:

  • The average number of days to process a short sale is about 110 days or almost 4 months.
  • The processing time for a "Pre-approved short sale" is shorter than a regular short sale.
  • Don't be afraid to pursue a short sale if you are patient.
  • Make sure everyone (banker, seller, buyer, negotiator) is on top of their game to get a short sale closed as quickly as possible. Surround yourself with talent.
  • 84% of the transactions in Sarasota county from 1/1/2012 to 5/2/2012 were NOT SHORT SALES.
  • If you limit yourself to only short sales you are only looking at 16% of the market.

5 Responses to "How Long Do Short Sales Take?"

David wrote: Mark, quit out doing yourself. I love this post. Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 9:41pm.
Marc Rasmussen wrote: Thanks Dave. Vegas this year? Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 10:04pm.
Vincent wrote: As an investor, I have been through that a couple of times. I can assure that all Mark says is true. Be prepared to wait for 3 or 4 months with no information from the bank and then have to close in a few days because of a deadline they would set themselves. Better be cash buyer.
What I do not understand though is the banks'point of view. Why would they keep such a large backlog for such a long time while the real work they have to do on the file only lasts a few hours.
Sometimes, I have not had any answer at all. Sometimes, answers are inconsistent.
It shows banks are completely disorganised nowadays. Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 3:24am.
Ben F wrote: Wow Mark, great stuff here! Taking down notes as I write this. Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 10:51am.
Jasmin wrote: Short sale approval use to take 3-9 months, recently the banks looks to be getting much better. I had short sales approvals as little as 3 weeks. Posted on Sunday, May 6th, 2012 at 11:01pm.

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