August 28, 2017

How long will the short sale process take? While all sales are different, you can expect an average short sale to last 4-5 months from list to close. Now mind you, I have had some approved in as little as 10 days, and others that took over a year to have approved, but most traditional short sales will usually fall into these general time frames:


step 1


Before your lender will consider the short sale, the property will need to be marketed and a buyer secured. Pricing and marketing should be aggressive, and I generally recommend price reductions every 2-3 weeks depending on property activity. The timeline to secure a buyer will have the most variation depending on market conditions and price, but currently my average listing goes under contract within the first month.

AFTER the buyer is secured, the average short sale approval time in my experience is about 6-12 weeks. After approval, the sale will still need to close (usually another 30 days). 

step 2


Once a buyer is secured the approval process will begin. We will provide a list of documentation and forms your lender will require as part of the approval process. It is best to have all this documentation ready up-front to prevent any delays. All the documentation will go to your lender along with the ratified purchase contract, estimated HUD and other Realtor provided documentation (listing agreement, listing history, etc). The documentation will be reviewed by the lender.

step 3


After ALL your paperwork has been received and reviewed, the next event that will take place will be an evaluation of your property by the lender. Your lender will want to get a grip on the value of your home and will order either an appraisal or BPO (Broker's Price Opinion) from a local real estate agent or appraiser. This valuation will be scheduled, performed and the results will be sent to the lender.

steP 4


Once this value has been received by the lender, the purchase contract will be weighed against it. The lender will accept, reject or counter the contract. Your lender will determine their "acceptable" fees and timelines. These fees will very often need to be negotiated several times in order to get the net proceeds of the sale to an acceptable level. The terms of the approval letter will be dissected and sometimes renegotiated. Once acceptable terms for all parties have been reached, the investor on your loan will also need to sign off on the approval.

step 5


Once the approval letter has been issued, your sale will move forward as any other. The buyer will need to wrap up their loan, do any inspections or appraisals (if not already performed) and the lawyers will schedule a closing. There will always be a limited time frame associated with the short sale approval letter so all parties will want to be prepared to move as quickly as possible to close.



If there are junior lien holders (second mortgages, judgments, other liens), all liens will have to be negotiated and all lien holders will have to be in agreement with each other in order to get the sale to happen. This requires extra time.


Unfortunately buyers do not always perform as expected. If a buyer is lost through the process, a new buyer will have to be found. This will also require additional time, but is not necessarily an entire new approval as seller documentation will have already been processed and the valuation will have been performed.


Once in a while a BPO/Appraisal does not go as expected and needs to be disputed. This can take as little as 2 weeks, or some lenders will require the old BPO to expire, before considering a new one. Most BPO's expire in 3 months.


Once in a while a short sale is rejected. Usually the issue is one that is able to be overcome, however this generally requires an entire new approval from the very beginning.

The key to having a smooth and speedy sale is to take action early, and hire the right help. Reid Real Estate Group has been CT's #1 short sale team since 2010. 

This past summer we had to do something we never expected and that was to short sale our home of 15 years. Minna answered our phone call and immediately assured us we were not alone in this and she would be there every step of the way. At no time did she ever make us feel less then she assured us  this was more common then we knew and she would do everything to get us a sale before the inevitable foreclosure due to loss of income. She and her staff were amazing once we vacated and moved 700 miles away she was able to locate a buyer in just over 3 months and hold the closing with 4 months of the listing date. They were there every time we had a question or to explain the next step. She and her staff are amazing and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a realtor. Words cannot express our gratitude.

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Minna Reid

About the author 

Minna Reid

Minna Reid is The Broker - Owner of Reid Real Estate Group. Reid Real Estate Group is a full-service Connecticut residential real estate brokerage, specializing in helping homeowners with legal and financial challenges including short sales, probate sales and tax lien complications.

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  1. I am so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

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  3. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that
    you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date
    like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hello ! After we got the offer for the house we find out the house is going for short sale it’s been already 4 month . Until yesterday we got the appraisal from bank but how long it takes to close the escrow the salers already except the offer we don’t have any countaigecy and we don’t have any problem with loan . How long it take to close the escrow? I need the answer.

    1. Its not clear whether you are talking about your appraisal or the short selling lenders appraisal. If it is the short selling lender – then you should have a response on the short sale withing a few weeks. However you cannot close until you have the short sale approval letter. After that you can close anytime within the next 30-45 days.

  5. It’s good to know that the fees and timelines will be negotiated around 2 weeks in the process and an approval letter will be needed. I’m thinking of looking at short sale listings to move to Florida for next year. I’ll make sure I ask about the timeline with my lender to make sure we’re on the same page.

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