How Long does a Short Sale Take?

How-long-does-a-short-sale-takeWhether your a buyer or seller one of the first questions you here is how long does a short sale take?

We have all heard nightmares of short sales taking an extremely long time.  Of course that can certainly happen given certain circumstances.

First lets look at what a short sale is.  A short sale is where the seller cannot make enough money on the sale of their home to pay back the lien holder or lien holders on the property.  They seller must ask permission of the bank to sell the property “short”.  Meaning the proceeds will be short of the full amount owed.

How long does a short sale take depends on a few variables

The first and most important variable in how long a shorts sale will take is determining how many liens and what type of liens are on the property.    It is not unusual a short sale property to have 2 or 3 liens on the home.

It was very common for home owners to get two mortgages when purchasing a property.  On top of it after several years of ownership they may have opened a home equity line of credit.

There also can be city tax liens, federal or state income tax liens, etc….

If I am dealing with one lien holder a typical short sale will take about 90 days to get an approval from the bank.  There is an order to which the liens are negotiated as they get paid off in a certain order.  The first mortgage is what gets payed off first then subsequent mortgages in the order of filing.

No matter what, municipal liens and condo fees in arrearage  are super liens and must get payed off first.

When dealing with the first mortgage if they are getting all the proceeds and no proceeds are left over then they pay subsequent lien holders a few thousand dollars out of the proceeds to at least cover the paperwork of the short sale.

One lien holder typical takes 90-120 days to hear back from the bank.  Start adding additional liens and you are adding additional time on to the time it takes to approve a short sale.  My typical short sale takes about 120 to 150 days to close from the time an offer is tendered to the deed being recorded.

So whether you are a buyer or a seller involved in a short sale, realize your short sale is going to most likely take time to get approved.


This article, How Long does a Short Sale Take? was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate.  If you have a Massachusetts Short Sale call Kevin at 978-360-0422 or email at




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