Timing Your Short Sale

Southeastern Virginia is blessed to have a relatively high percentage of military homeowners and therefore a higher percentage of homes than in most parts of the country with VA loans and therefore, thanks to the low down payment requirements for VA loans,  a higher lingering inventory of “upside down” or “underwater” homes.   Military homeowners have always been faced with the probability of relocation every few years and that has given rise to resourceful approaches to absentee ownership.  The VA has pioneered the whole field of shortselling, having introduced the institution of “Offers in Compromise.”    One other alternative for a VA homeowner receiving PCS orders is  to become a landlord and hold onto the property.   Tenant occupancy runs a risk of accelerating wear and tear on the property and depreciation of value.   The ultimate algebra for the Veteran home seller is calculating approximately when and if  the decreasing mortgage balance will fall below the realistic sales price of the house minus commissions and other closing costs and allow the borrower to walk away without any mention whatsoever on his credit report.  Sequestration and base closings have suppressed the rental options for some moving military families and made landlording even less attractive.  The bottom line is that a decision must be made, analysis and conclusions rendered.  Not to decide is to decide and very likely to make things worse.   Like “closure”, completing the decision making process on when and if to short sell brings a host of mental health benefits as well as financial consequences.

So, No Rest for Ye Weary and Merry Gentlemen!  Whether your loan is a VA loan, FHA or conventional loan, if you need to short sell, according to the L. A. Times writer, Kenneth Harney, NOW is the time to list your home.

“Real estate website Redfin has studied home listing, sale price and time-on-market data from 2010 through this past October from around the country, updating a two-year analysis it completed last year. It concluded that IF YOU WANT TO SELL FOR MORE THAN YOUR ASKING PRICE, LISTING IN DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND MARCH GIVES YOU A BETTER CHANCE on average than if you list any time from June through November. During the last three years, listing during those four months has produced higher percentages of above-asking-price sales than listing during any months other than April and May. In 2012, as the housing market rebounded, December listings produced the highest percentage of above-asking sales for the entire year — 17%.

“IF YOUR GOAL IS TO SELL RELATIVELY QUICKLY, FEBRUARY IS HISTORICALLY THE BEST MONTH TO LIST, with an average of 66% of homes listed then selling within 90 days,” according to Redfin. In the two-year study completed last December, researchers found that in each of 19 major markets, including cold-weather cities such as Boston and Chicago, “home sellers were better off listing their homes in the winter than during any other season.”

So, if you want to hear Glad Tidings of Great Joy on the sale of your house, get intentional about it now! More importantly, takes action now!   Allocate the Christmas bonus and any time off to sprucing up the property.  Spend time interviewing at least 3 potential listing agents.   Talk to us if you need recommendations!    Most of all, don’t give in to the paralysis of analysis and procrastinate yourself out of getting on the market now.

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