Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Short Sale Lender Countered - And I'm Not Happy

I just got word that the short sale lender countered... $46k above my offer. The counter was based upon comps of recent sales in the development.

But comps are a peculiar thing - - they're not necessarily apples-to-apples comparisons. First of all, the "comps" conveyed with a fridge, washer and dryer (approx value $3k) and my unit would not. The other unit had wood floors (kitchen and bath), newer carpet and range/oven/dishwasher upgrades. So even without taking the condition of my unit into consideration, there should be a discount.

I've asked my agent whether I can look at the property again. After all, I suspect that there are issues with the unit that I didn't catch the first time around, like a leaky toilet that the seller tried to hide with towels.

I learned that the seller owes approximately $450,000 on the unit. The short sale lender wants $375,000. My agent says that with her experience, a short sale lender would more likely than not accept a counter that equals approximately 95% of the approved amount. In other words, my agent estimates that the bank would be hard-pressed to reject a counter of $356,250.

I'm having a hard time right now separating out emotions and sound financial judgment. My bank has already pre-approved me for the full $375,000 amount. And if I can seal the deal now, I can get a mortgage at 3.75% APR (with 3 discount points).

I can make the payments, but I'll be seriously house poor. And I'm not sure whether the home is worth $356,000 to $375,000. Based upon the sale prices of comparable units from 1989, it looks like the home values are back to what they were in 2003. But if you look at the graph below, 2003 was in the beginning stages of the housing bubble.

Of all the properties that are on the market right now, I like this unit the best for the intangibles -- a south facing patio/windows, a "walkable" location, beautiful landscaping, etc. But... I'll also be paying a premium for these intangibles.

I have until Thursday to make up my mind. I'm not sure whether I should walk or buy.