Lender Specials Cooked to Order

Are you looking for one of those distressed sale Blue Plate Specials? They exist, but don’t expect fast food. There will be a wait.

Looking at the numbers for the I-15 corridor communities of Scripps Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos and Rancho Bernardo (the latter including both the 92127 and 92128 Zip codes), here is how the home sales numbers break down since January 1st. (Note: Data compliments of the Sandicor Multiple Listing Service and include all property types. Remember, a home is considered “subject to lender approval” only if the listing agent fesses up and marks the appropriate field, which isn’t always the case.)

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On average, the lender-controlled sales (short sales and foreclosures) are being served up at a 10% discount from their traditional sale counterparts, but this comes with a catch. You will have to take a number.

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You’ve no doubt heard the stories about lenders moving as quickly Orson Wells carrying a 50-pound pack, and these market time statistics support the rumors. The fact is that most of the distressed sales we see are priced very (often, too) aggressively, and the offers come quickly and furiously. So, when you see that the average market times for these homes are in the four-month range, that means some would-be buyer was sitting around for three of those months just waiting to be served.

Now, here is the bummer of it all. As a percentage, many more properties in the lender-controlled category fail to sell.

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Yet, the market times for the withdrawn and canceled properties look eerily similar for homes for which the sales are subject to bank approval.

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One could conclude (and “one” would be me, since “one” is speaking from first-hand, in-the-trenches experience) that lender-controlled sales fail for one of three reasons: The bank modifies the seller’s loan allowing them to cancel the sale and keep the home (rare), the bank forecloses on the home before the sale can be consummated (a little more frequent), or the bank rejects the offer and then forecloses on the home (most common).

According to my numbers, roughly 56 lucky bargain seekers closed on lender-controlled homes during the first quarter of this year in these four I-15 corridor Zip codes, while 63 buyers left the negotiating table hungry (when the sales were canceled).

Everyone likes a bargain, and there are certainly opportunities to grab a seat at the counter. But if you really have a hankering for a home, you might be better off ordering from the main menu.

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