How long does it take to get short sale approval? Typically lien holder approval in 90 days is an excellent result. However, it makes a huge difference who you work with!
Knowledge and experience make or break your short sale success. Who your agent is, and who is handling negotiations matter.
When I hear the stories about how short sales don’t work, it’s truly a short sale myth. The truth is those stories come from bad experiences due to poor advise and lack of support.
What if an auction is scheduled?
Facing an auction date can feel like it’s too late to get help. Not true! My clients home was scheduled for foreclosure auction on January 19th. When we met, they had given up hope and thought it was too late.
Working with Realestate Recovery Group we put the sellers short sale package together, opened communication with the lien holder, and got the property listed right away even though I had no access.
The former tenants changed the locks. It took two weeks to get permission from the asset manager to re-key the property and be able to show the home.
In the meantime, using aggressive marketing I built up buyer demand. After my first open house we had multiple offers. The first buyer canceled for personal reasons. So we moved forward with a back-up buyer and continued negotiations with the lien holder.
The buyers agent did an excellent job guiding her clients through their inspections and loan application. They were uncertain and nervous about short sales. She successfully collaborated and kept them on track. Now they celebrate their new home at a great price.
If you’re interested in buying a short sale or foreclosure, be sure to bookmark my Community Guide for instant access to distressed properties on the Main Line including off-market foreclosures.
How to get help?
For more information on how short sales stop foreclosure visit FightTheBank.org. You’ll also find information on forbearances, loan modifications and other options for home owners in distress.
What are the top 10 myths about short sales? Many people give up hope facing foreclosure and believe a short sale isn’t possible. When in fact, short sales do indeed work. And in a variety of circumstances.
It’s an excellent solution for home owners who may be behind on their mortgage, stuck in a forbearance they can’t repay or just under market where the loan balance is greater than current values.
If you’ve heard that short sales don’t work, it’s usually based on someone’s bad experience who didn’t have the right resources. Or simply lack of information.
Outlined below find the Top 10 Myths about Short Sales that unfortunately stop home owners from reaching out for solutions:
1. Short Sales are impossible and never get approved
Nothing could be further from the truth!
In the 12 years I’ve specialized in short sales, only a handful were not successful and those were in the midst of the mortgage crisis. Many fail, that’s true. But when I look into the history of those situations it’s because the right team wasn’t in place to help the home owner.
2. Short Sales take forever
While the process is longer than a traditional sale, you can count on approximately 90 days as an average. With the right team negotiating, sometimes we can close sooner, depending on the bank.
With a strategy directed by a short sale expert, you can enter into an agreement with confidence in a smooth closing upon lien holder acceptance.
Once lien holder accepts, settlement must occur within 30-45 days depending on the bank’s terms. Within that timeframe, buyer and seller can agree on a convenient settlement date.
3. You must be behind on your mortgage to do a Short Sale
While it is true that initially some lenders wanted you to be in default (missed a payment) before they were willing to consider a short sale – this trend has almost all together reversed. Today lenders are looking for verifiable hardship, monthly cash flow shortfall or pending shortfall and insolvency.
If you meet these three requirements and are in a position where you will soon not be able to afford your mortgage, act now! Don’t wait until the countdown to foreclosure has started and you have even less time.
4. Buyers don’t want Short Sales
This is a myth that potential sellers hear all the time. In fact many agents are getting calls from buyers who say “I only want to look at foreclosures and Short Sales!” I personally have investors who want to help home owners, and recognize this can be a positive outcome for all in a difficult situation.
Short Sales and Foreclosures have become synonymous – not with issues – but with GOOD DEALS. International buyers specifically are interested in these properties as well.
5. Listing my home as a Short Sale is an embarrassment
It is understandable that you may have reservations about letting the world know that you owe more on your home than it is worth. However, please understand we are in the midst of a national pandemic that is affecting everyone.
It’s a national crisis, not a personal failure. You are to be congratulated for admitting you need help, taking action, and finding a professional who can work with you towards a solution.
6. Banks would rather foreclose than do a Short Sale
We know you have heard this; you may have even heard it from an overzealous collections agent working for a lender. The reality is that banks do not want to foreclose on your property.
Banks do not want distressed assets on their books. It costs them less to resolve bad debt through a short sale than a foreclosure.
7. There is not enough time to negotiate a Short Sale before my foreclosure
This is a myth that probably hurts homeowners the most. Many don’t realize that foreclosure is a process and there is time.
The foreclosing party (in most cases a lender) can stall a foreclosure up to the final day of the auction. Many lenders will stall a foreclosure with as little as a phone call from you letting them know that you are trying to sell. Almost all lenders will postpone the auction date with a legitimate short sale contract in process.
8. Due to the CARES ACT, I won’t face foreclosure
Even with the moratorium on foreclosures under the COVID-19 CARES ACT, that doesn’t mean the lien holder is stopping their efforts. A foreclosure auction can happen quickly after many months, even years of no apparent action from the bank.
Taking proactive steps towards a solution before facing an auction date is the wisest choice. Don’t wait until the last minute when it might not be possible.
Unfortunately, much misinformation about forbearances has been prominent online, and from what should be trusted resources. Following bad advice about COVID forbearances has put many owners unknowingly at risk of foreclosure.
9. When I called the bank they offered a loan modification
This is one of the most confusing aspects of being in default. By law, the banks are required to offer loan modifications as an option. When home owners reach out the lien holder always says yes, even if they know it won’t apply for you. Offering this paperwork is a step in the process they are required to take, even if they know you won’t qualify.
In the short sale negotiation, our team will help you with the necessary paperwork to submit a loan modification application. To complete a short sale this is a required step.
The Real Estate Recovery Group are experts in this area, and if it’s possible they will help you get a loan modification done. However, most often this is a bureaucratic step in the foreclosure process that provides misguided hope when action towards a real solution is needed.
10. I can’t do a short sale if I have other properties or assets
I’ve helped many home owners who were given this false information. Clients who owned investment properties that were under water, luxury second and third homes and had other assets.
All of these short sale clients received debt forgiveness. As an example, one client had $400,000 in an investment account which went untouched. Another client owned 3 additional properties. Lenders cannot touch your IRA and 401K retirement accounts.
Even with additional assets, my clients did not have to contribute towards the deficiency. Debt forgiveness is always the goal with a short sale.
These can be scary and confusing situations. What’s most important to know is that help is available! Book your confidential appointment here.
Note: The information provided is for informational purposes. No legal advise is given or implied.
You’ve heard of thousands of people moving to Philly from New York City as part of post-COVID market trends. Where are the uber-wealthy moving to? A lesser known migration is from Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row to Gladwyne’s Billionaires’ Village on the Main Line.
While many cities worldwide claim the address of Billionaires’ Row for their uber-wealthy, none are more iconic than Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan. Local New York luxury real estate expert, Alexander Glibbery described it as:
“I like to define Billionaires’ Row as New York City’s Monopoly board for uber-wealthy international and domestic titans of industry who come together here to work, play, and do lots and lots of shopping,”
Billionaires’ Row luxury auction
A rarely offered 3-story Penthouse opportunity at 150 Central Park South is currently available through the luxury auction service, Concierge Auctions. Bidding starts today. Offered for $40M with no reserve.
“With pre-approved, construction “shovel”-ready design, plans, and permits held by New York City’s most luxurious, professional, and high-end general contractor SilverLining and lauded SPAN Architecture, the design won the Interior Design Magazine award for the Best of Year residential project in the world for 2018 (on the board).”
Gladwyne; “Billionaire’s Village”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, with large discrete estate homes in remote settings, the village of Gladwyne is home for many billionaires on the Main Line in the greater Philadelphia area.
While all communities on the Main Line have seen increasing values due to strong demand for luxury suburban living, Gladwyne has seen the most dramatic shift driven by post-COVID buyer demands.
Median sales prices for Gladwyne luxury homes are up 98.47% over the past 12 months, and up 31.36% over the past 24 months.
Unique Gladwyne Luxury Estate
An example of Gladwyne’s large luxury estates is Linden Hill, designed between 1928 and 1931 by Edmund B. Gilchrist for stockbroker Rodman Ellison Griscom. The property was owned for more than 50 years by the Dorrance family of Campbell’s Soup Company.
Linden Hill’s very secluded grounds include fenced pastures and stone outbuildings, reminiscent of the quaintest of French villages. The magnificent manor house and cour d’honneur, are a majestic example of French Normandy-inspired design of breathtaking scale and symmetry.
Modern homes in Gladwyne
While Gladwyne is known for large historic stone homes, mid-century modern and new construction luxury homes are selling quickly to today’s buyers who want modern amenities and finishes.
Chief economist, Danielle Hale notes that the post-COVID trend towards suburban living has accelerated a shift from hard-core urbanite dwellers towards the suburbs;
“The flexibility to work remotely is accelerating this trend. When the commute’s not a daily thing, it’s easier to justify living farther away from work—especially when you get more for your housing dollar farther away.”
Do luxury short sales work? Yes indeed! As an example, it was my honor and privilege to recently help my client through a very complicated distressed property situation to successfully sell this gorgeous home, with multiple offers, and debt forgiveness.
We closed successfully during our early and awkward COVID shutdown in April of 2020. What really matters is how my client feels afterwards:
“Susanna is one in a million in her field! In addition to her knowledge, her professionalism and ethics are of the highest caliber. I have been a real estate developer for over 35 years and found my self in a short sale situation. I have never been in this situation before but Susanna was able to get the lender to forgive a part of this loan. She is cool, calm, confident and very thorough. I would highly recommend her for any real estate transaction.” – R.K, Seller
Another luxury client with a complicated, challenging situation described me as a classy, demure lady who under the surface is a pit bull 🤩. When I make a commitment to my clients, I follow through and indeed hold on to their goal for success like a pit bull with a bone!
Connecting with the right legal advise, networking for maximum exposure, tailoring the marketing and sale process to fit my client’s needs and goals is what creates success.
Why do luxury short sales fail?
Sadly, I’ve seen too many luxury home owners not get the right advice. No one should face foreclosure, no matter what their situation.
I’ve helped luxury home owners with multiple properties, significant assets and who are not behind on their mortgage successfully resolve under water market values with a short sale and debt forgiveness.
Without the right help, both the home owner and the lien holder suffer. For instance this recent foreclosure in Villanova at 1425 Mount Pleasant Road shows how the bank yielded a much lower amount after taking possession through foreclosure and selling as an REO than they would have with a short sale. Both seller and bank lose in this scenario.
While the final purchase price of this property as an REO listing of $1.3M may seem positive for the buyer, there are more risks with buying a bank owned foreclosure than a short sale.
During a short sale the owner remains involved, is obligated to give a complete sellers disclosure and maintain the property.
The time it takes to legally foreclose, clear title and then offer it as an REO bank-owned listing can be from many months to a year. During that time the home deteriorates and is at risk of vandalism.
For more insights on how short sales work, and whether it’s better to buy a foreclosure vs a short sale, be sure to subscribe to this blog. Check out Top 10 Short Sales Myths for more info, then be sure to book a confidential consultation with Susanna Kunkel, Short Sale Expert.
A resurgence of the once popular Pied-a-Terre at the end of 2020 was highlighted in the December North American Luxury Market Report. Luxury buyers who have relocated to larger homes but are still not quite ready to quit the city for good are adding a Pied-a-Terre to their portfolio.
Condos in Philly’s Center City offer strong possibilities for Pied-a-Terre living. Located centrally between New York City and Washington, DC. Center City condos offer an ideal location for water lovers who enjoy the Jersey Shore and Florida, but want to keep a place in the city.
Best Center City Pied-a-Terre locations
To start, I’ve highlighted three neighborhoods that offer a prime variety of lifestyle options for Pied-a-Terra condos in Center City.
Condo options along the Delaware River Waterfront offer a third alternative with more open space, garage parking and waterfront views.
What makes Rittenhouse Square a great Pied-a-Terre location? Dining, shopping and amenity rich condo living all within walking distance to 30th Street Amtrak Station. Enjoy an easy rail commute to Manhattan or Washington DC.
Although hit hard by fears of COVID-19 and this summer’s social unrest, Rittenhouse Square remains a highly desirable place to live. Amidst the uncertainty this year, Rittenhouse retained its grace and charm for local residents.
While it’s too early to call a recovery, statistics for Rittenhouse Square show an upturn since August when we had 19 months of inventory.
Currently the Rittenhouse condo market remains a buyers market at 8 1/2 months. There’s a slight switch towards a seller’s market for single family homes with 5 1/2 months of inventory.
As with all statistics, it’s not only how you look at it but what you look at. This shift also reflects 66 homes and condos on Rittenhouse that have been taken off the market in the past 90 days.
Living along the Delaware River waterfront offers easy access to Center City living, yet a bit more remote with expansive views and parking.
There are several condo options along the river front.
Waterfront Square is one of only 2 gated communities in Philadelphia. Amenities include 24-hour doorman, valet parking, ocean front lap pool, on site dog park, fully equipped gym and waterfront walking / biking trail at your door.
Built in 2006, different towers offer different views, but all enjoy the remote, secure location with easy access to Center City living. Or a quick commute on 95 or 76.
As an example of affordability, Waterfront Square Unit RR1106 sold in October for $262,500. This one bedroom on the 11th floor of The Regatta Tower featured stunning city views.
Other towers overlook the Delaware River. A strong rental history provides an option if your lifestyle changes.
New construction luxury homes on the Main Line are rare in the predominantly historic communities. To meet today’s buyer demand for modern amenities, older stone homes are often renovated to combine the best of historic architecture with modern design. Homes using these transitional design elements yield high sales results.
For an overview of how luxury new construction is selling, check out this month’s new construction sales results for the Main Line:
Main Line luxury new construction featured sales
Two homes that went under contract this week exemplify the best of what Gladwyne and Bryn Mawr have to offer. One is custom built to maximize on traditional architectural styles, while offering modern amenities. The second is modern inside and out.
1407 Waverly Road in Gladwyne
Designed by Fred Bissinger and built by Tony Ruffo, 1407 Waverly Road went under contract this week at an asking price of $3.5M.
517 S Roberts Road in Bryn Mawr
Sold pre-construction, 517 S Roberts went under contract this week at an asking price of $1.8M with less than two weeks on the market.
Main Line transitional architecture
To better understand transitional architecture, architect Fred Bissinger shares his design approach on his own custom home at 252 River Road in Gladwyne. On the market for less than 3 weeks, it sold last month for $1,575,000 to a cash buyer. Using artisan revival design, he combined historic elements with modern amenities. As Fred describes, living on River Road now is Malibu Beach on the Schuylkill River.
How can you create transitional design in an older home?
Award winning designer Christina Henck shares how transitional design honors historic architecture yet finds that balance of appealing to today’s millennial buyers.
How to sell successfully in today’s market
It can be hard to understand why some homes sell in a matter of days, and others linger on the market for months. To start, check out my 7 tips for sellers to sell for less money and in more time:
Are you out looking at properties, but haven’t had a business conversation yet with your buyers agent?
If so, please check out my first time home buying mistakes because that’s exactly what I did!
It’s time to change directions, interview and hire a realtor who will represent you throughout your home buying journey.
What Zillow, HGTV and a Google search won’t tell you
Easy access to real estate information online can make it seem like your realtor’s job is mostly to open doors.
However, who opens the door becomes your buyers agent during negotiations.
Crafting an offer, negotiating and navigating through the settlement process is where your agent’s knowledge and experience can make or break your success.
Agency and representation during the home buying process is not covered on HGTV or in most online articles. Yet who represents you is a key factor in your home buying success.
Have a laugh on me
In this video, learn from my first time home buying mistakes in the 90’s and why I’m passionate about helping others understand agency:
How to start your home search
Before we open doors, I meet with my clients (on Zoom, FaceTime or in person) to go over home buying goals both for lifestyle and finances.
How you prefer communication, your time frame, and style of negotiations are critical elements of our successful working relationship.
In essence, we interview each other and then make a decision to work together proactively to accomplish your home buying goals.
Did you know?
Unless you have a signed Buyer Agency Agreement, the realtor you book a showing with is not bound to your confidentiality. Your privacy for negotiations is only protected by hiring a buyer agent with a Buyer Agency Agreement.
Also when you visit an open house, if you aren’t protected by a Buyer Agency Agreement, the agent can claim to represent you even if you don’t choose to work with them.
When we meet, I’ll go over this in more detail and explain how it can significantly impact your bottom line.
To get started, click on my Home Buyers Guide with tips on how to interview your agent and prepare for a successful home search.
If you’re a fan of mid-century modern, you’ll enjoy this week’s featured new listings. Main Line luxury is usually associated with large historic homes such as the Montgomery estate that inspired Philadelphia Story. Most Main Line mid-century homes in Gladwyne and Villanova are more modest in size and location. You’ll love the expansiveness and privacy of this week’s featured homes.
670 Dodds Lane in Gladwyne
Built in 1966, 670 Dodds Lane‘s mid-century design has been completely renovated with current luxury amenities and finishes.
Enjoy an open floor plan of 9,532 sf of living space on a private 2.15 acre lot offers 5 bedrooms, 8 full baths and 2 powder rooms. Amenities include a home theatre and private in-ground pool perfectly situated for entertaining. Asking price of $4.3M.
Built in 1976 and beautifully updated, this spacious home is situated on a private 2+ ac lot surrounded by trees and offers 5 beds, 4 full baths plus powder room in 5,503 sf of living space.
The long private driveway and stone entry reflect popular elements of Main Line estate homes, yet mid-century design welcomes you. Featuring an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings that we come to love with mid-century homes.
An open floor plan area flows freely with access to your private deck and hot tub for indoor-outdoor living. Amenities include a home gym and private in-ground pool.
When real estate markets shift, as they always do, it’s confusing to know when to sell. Timing can make or break your success. Add to that a worldwide pandemic impacting different locations in dramatically different ways. It’s easy to understand why so many homeowners are uncertain about when to sell.
Move with the market
When markets shift quickly, this advise is hard to follow. Trying to move with market changes can feel like surfing on a big wave. You want to get on the board at the right time and make sure you don’t fall off.
We are seeing rapid shifts in different neighborhoods, some dramatically positive and some hurt significantly like Center City luxury.
I heard the quote “chasing the market down can feel like catching a falling knife” which is indeed true.
A tale of two luxury homes
During my first year as a full-time realtor on Kauai, I worked with two sellers who both owned luxury Bed & Breakfast properties. The market had escalated significantly due to the mortgage crisis.
These friends both decided to take advantage of the sizzling luxury demand. One listed his property for $1,750,000 and the owner of Aina Manu Place listed his at $1,650,000 with some friendly competition.
In 2005 values were still strong, but demand started to soften, with days on market increasing. We weren’t aware of the pending ‘tsunami’ devastation of the mortgage crisis. But it was evident that prices couldn’t continue to spiral upwards.
The owner of Aina Manu Place was willing to make price adjustments and we got it under contract at $1.5M. However, zoning violations came to light and that deal canceled. We worked diligently on solving the zoning issues, and SOLD it to the same buyers for $1,250,000 one year later in 2006.
This owner was wise to move with the market, and recognize his win rather than focus on the his original asking price.
He bought a distressed oceanfront property in Florida where his family is enjoying life.
Many sellers had a mindset that they “would wait for the market to come back.” What they didn’t understand was the spike in values was a phenomena, not “the market.” The second owner did not adjust his price, the property did not sell and those values have not returned.
Main Line and Center City shifts
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted real estate communities on the Main Line and in Center City very differently, as it has across the country. Suburban home values have escalated while Center City luxury markets are softening.
Market predictions and reports from national leaders repeatedly cite that today’s market is not the mortgage crisis, drawing the conclusion we won’t face some of the same challenges with economic uncertainties.
However, what is similar is that dramatic price shifts in both are driven by external phenomena, not directly related to real estate.
COVID driven market shifts
COVID has made us all look at “home” differently, causing massive movement in all market segments across the country. That’s driven record numbers of sales in some areas, and dramatic price increases with competing offers in others.
I don’t see the COVID driven buying dynamics decreasing until our post-COVID normalcy stabilizes likely in late 2021, or into 2022.
That new normal will not strictly be a return to our pre-COVID reality. Working from home is not going away.
What that means for suburban housing as well as urban values driven by commercial space and restaurants we won’t know in advance. But we can look forward learning from the past.
High demand with low inventory on the Main Line
On the Main Line where prices and demand have skyrocketed, owners who have considered selling should act now. The increase in values is a short-term phenomena driven by the effects of COVID.
Inventory will increase in 2021 and values will adjust as we move towards a buyers market. The new post-COVID market may very well reflect a different price range than we are currently experiencing.
No one can truly call a market until it’s with hindsight. But we can analyze facts at hand, learn from the past and create a plan for success.
Rose Tree Park Festival of Lights – through January 3rd from 5-10pm; Rose Tree Park sparkles during the holiday season with the annual Festival of Lights. Dozens of decorated lit trees and festive displays draw visitors back each year to stroll the glimmering walkways and grounds, linger in the festive atmosphere, and pay a visit to childhood figures such as Charlie Brown & the Peanuts Gang and Santa & his Reindeer. The Festival of Lights opens in early December and runs through the first weekend in January. Admission and parking are free.
The half-million holiday lights here are always spectacular, turning 100 already-beautiful trees into nighttime marvels. Also fun: the 140-foot light tunnel in the Meadow Garden, a tree decorated with foods for native species to eat, model trains, and the fountain show.
Holiday Magic at Brandywine Museum of Art through January 31st. Celebrate the wonder of the holiday season at the Brandywine River Museum of Art! Returning this year with exciting new additions and features, the Brandywine Railroad has been a holiday family favorite at the Brandywine since 1972.