Tag Archives: Florida real estate

What is a Short Sale (And Is it Right for You as a Buyer?)

A short sale occurs when a property sells for less than what is still due on the homeowner’s mortgage. Thus, the seller will come up “short” when paying off his or her lender. Buyers may think they’ve nabbed a bargain. But the wary home buyer will consider all of the factors involved in a short sale, including those that are less often discussed.

Approval From the Seller’s Lender

Because the short sale is likely occurring due to financial distress that makes it difficult for the seller to pay off his mortgage, the seller’s lender will need a say in the process. If you’re wondering why a lender would ever agree to a short sale, it does happen… on occasion. If the loss from a short sale would be less than the loss resulting from initiating a foreclosure, then the lender might agree. However, be ready for a long and arduous approval process. While a traditional home purchase process will usually take a month or so from offer to closing, some short sales take up to a year to finalize!

Fixer-Upper Central

If you’re handy, a fixer-upper might be just the opportunity you want! But for those of us with two left hands, a short sale may prove to be more expensive than we’d originally thought. Because of the nature of short sales, the sellers won’t likely be coming from a place of wanting to sink their own capital into repairs and maintenance. Be ready for some added repair costs after closing. 

All That Work for Nothing

It is entirely possible that at the end of an extremely long process, the sale might fall through. Or you might receive a counter offer at a much higher price than you can afford. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting months for a response to your offer letter, only to finally be told “no”. If you’re a frequent real estate investor, a little bit of lost time may not be a big issue for you. But if you’re shopping for a home for your family to live in, don’t forget to factor the potential cost of futile efforts into the equation. 

Is a short sale right for you? It all depends! As with all real estate deals, go into it with your eyes open, and with a good realtor at your side. 

Who Pays the Closing Costs?

So you’ve found the perfect new house, and are ready to make an offer… Great! Naturally, you want to make your offer as attractive as possible. But as you comb through your budget, it occurs to you…

Who pays the closing costs? 

It’s at this time that you begin to frantically research a topic that you now wish you had looked at beforehand: Closing costs. What are they, and who pays them? 

Closing costs are the fees paid upfront at closing by both the buyer and the seller. They cover expenses such as the title search, property taxes, real estate fees, inspections, title insurance, and closing fees. In Florida, these expenses are frequently shared by buyers and sellers. Buyers frequently pay the fees associated with home inspections and obtaining a mortgage. Sellers usually pay the agents’ commission and taxes. In most cases, buyers can expect to pay roughly 2.5% to 3.5% of the total sale price in upfront closing costs.

Buyers usually cover items such as:

  • Survey Fees
  • Appraisal Fees
  • Inspections
  • Recording Fees
  • Loan Origination Fees
  • Credit Report
  • HOA Fees

Sellers often pay for:

  • Agent Commission
  • Taxes
  • Promissory Note
  • Title Search

Closing costs are due upfront, meaning they usually can’t be rolled into the mortgage. Although there are scenarios where the lender might pay for some of the closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate, this is rarely in the buyer’s favor. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead and be ready to pay all of your upfront fees in addition to your down payment.

With that said, if adding closing costs to the bottom line of your “cash due at closing” puts you just out of reach of your dream home, could you ask the seller to pay more of the closing costs in your offer? Sure – go ahead! You can always ask. …Or you could ask for that same $5,000 to be taken off of the sale price, and enjoy lower payments over the lifetime of the loan. Depending upon what you can swing upfront, the latter might be the wisest choice.

Regardless of whether you approach closing from the buyer’s perspective or the seller’s, a bit of pre-planning will help to make the reality of closing costs less of a strain. If you have questions about the closing process, feel free to contact the team at Turner Title! We’re here to help, and can’t wait to guide you through the process of purchasing (or selling) your home.