Exploring different investment strategies will open up the door to a lot of new opportunities in the real estate market. Buying a short sale is one strategy some real estate investors have taken on, and it seems to be worth it. So let’s talk a little bit more about this type of investment property and show you how to find short sales.
Understanding What a Short Sale Is
A short sale is something that happens when a financially distressed homeowner falls back on his or her mortgage payments. The amount owed to the lender becomes too much and the property is in danger of being foreclosed. But to lenders and banks, avoiding a long foreclosure process is sometimes preferred. So instead, this home is treated as a short sale. Short sale properties are sold for less than what’s owed on the mortgage.
Short sale homes aren’t the easiest to find as the search for them requires a proactive attitude. Because they’re sold at a price lower than the debts owed on them, a lot of property buyers are interested in closing on these discounted properties before anyone else in the real estate market. So there’s a lot of competition among investors and property buyers.
This real estate investment strategy works best when investors want to:
- Use a fix-and-flip strategy for a quick renovation and resale
- Use a buy-and-hold strategy for a long-term rental property
- Add another long-term investment to their portfolio without breaking the bank
So a short sale property can work for you if you buy one with a specific strategy in mind and can be patient enough for the transaction to complete (typically, it can take from one to six months). There is some risk, as there is with any investment, but imagine the return on investment you’ll get by purchasing a below-market value property.
Related: What Is a Short Sale in Real Estate Investing?
How to Spot a Short Sale Listing
If you’re wondering how to find short sales before anyone else in order to beat the competition, you need to know what to look for. Sometimes short sale listings include something in the description which gives away that this is a discounted property. For example, you may see one of the following phrases:
- Preapproved by a Bank
- Subject to Bank Approval
- Notice of Default
- Headed for Auction
Noticing these statements included in any real estate listings should indicate to you that you’re looking at a short sale. But what are the best ways for how to find short sales?
How to Find Short Sales: The Best Ways
So there are a couple of different approaches real estate investors can take when it comes to finding short sales. Let’s start off with the basic ways and then we’ll give you some options that not every investor may have thought of.
The Multiple Listing Service is not only the main source for typical home listings, but it is also a great way to find short sale homes. Depending on your local listing system, identifying short sale listings can differ. Try searching online as you can sometimes filter results by prioritizing short sales. Look for the listing indicators we mentioned above.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Multiple Listing Services (MLS)
2) Real Estate Agents
One of the best ways of how to find short sales is by enlisting the help of a real estate agent. This is especially true if this is your first time investing in a short sale property. Short sale realtors have the resources to find any new listing of short sale homes in your local real estate market. They usually know a lot about the market they’re in and their years of networking will make it easier for you to find short sale homes than if you were searching for them alone.
Agents will cut down the time it takes you to search for short sale homes since they have access to MLS listings. Because they’re established in the real estate market, they’re also in contact with lenders. So they may be informed of possible short sales before the public. So agents are a good way for how to find short sales before they hit the market. Because the short sale buying process isn’t exactly like buying a house under normal conditions, it can be difficult to navigate. So an agent won’t just help you in how to find short sales, but also in how to buy them.
Related: The 12 Steps of a Successful Short Sale Process
3) Local Courthouse Records
Because a short sale is the last step before a house goes into foreclosure, in many states, the lender has to file a foreclosure complaint. So if you go through your local courthouse records, you’ll find a list of any preforeclosures. This will help you identify possible short sale properties. Even if a seller hasn’t proposed a short sale, you can come in as a third-party and suggest it.
When a homeowner starts to miss mortgage payments, each delinquency is reported to the credit bureau, so you can find out how much the homeowner owes. A pubic foreclosure list is released which you can gain access to; it’s called a Lis Pendens or Notice of Default. You can contact the County Recorder’s office, title companies, or pay a fee for local or national list providers.
4) Use Online Sources
The internet gives you access to a lot of information. Simply searching “how to find short sales in my area” will point you in the right direction. There are some online platforms that are specifically set up to help real estate investors or property buyers find distressed properties.
If you are looking for the fastest and most efficient way for how to find short sales, we’ve got the absolute best way to do so. The Mashvisor Property Marketplace is all investors need when searching for off-market properties, including short sales. You can search for and analyze short sale properties in any housing market of your choosing to find the ideal investment opportunity for you. Other types of listings in the Marketplace include foreclosures, preforeclosures, bank-owned properties, and tenant-occupied rentals.
You can filter out search results based on your criteria and narrow down the list to find exactly what you’re looking for. Then with just one click, you’ll have access to a full investment analysis for your chosen property listing. If you like what you see, you can connect with the property owner directly from our platform. All of this and more can be done in the Mashvisor Property Marketplace. Interested in this? Start out your 14-day free trial with Mashvisor now.