Saturday, August 27, 2011

“Short Sale”—The New Oxymoron

Today’s guest post is another by my good friend Kathleen, who last March wrote something here about their azalea-cloaked home in the nearby and charming town of Deland. Though she and her husband already have a retreat here at the beach, they have recently been looking for a larger place. The experience has been interesting.

I’ve always been fascinated by oxymorons—you know, those two words of contradictory meaning that are placed together for special effect, like “deafening silence” and “mournful optimist.” A new oxymoron has come into our vocabulary in the past few years and it has had predicted “special effect” on many people—like ME! It’s known as the “short sale.” It’s a real estate term that refers to a sale in which the proceeds from selling the property will fall short of the amount actually owed by the seller. As someone who has become way too knowledgeable about the “short sale” process, let me advise you that it definitely qualifies as an oxymoron—rarely does a “sale” actually take place and “short” applies to absolutely nothing except my patience right now and the “special effect” is my rising blood pressure.

Initially these sales sound like a gift to potential buyers—a property being offered much below what it is really worth. Who of us doesn’t love a bargain? Of course, you must first get past the fact that the disgruntled owner has most likely moved out and taken, along with his/her personal belongings, all appliances, light fixtures, doors, window coverings, light bulbs, electrical outlets, wall switch plates, and the occasional faucet. They do, however, generously leave behind dead creatures, crumbs, dust bunnies, what my Irish grandmother called “Irish Lace Curtains” (cobwebs), usually a foul, musty odor due to no electricity and therefore no A/C, and the occasional odd undergarment. I certainly do not intend to include ALL sellers of short sale properties—only the ones I have seen personally.

As to my current involvement in one of these oxymoronic sales, the “short” part of the saying is truly a joke. Our contracts were signed in early May and, as of today, no decision has been made. We are ready, willing, and able to purchase the property, but we don’t have the permission of the “money lenders.” Maybe that’s why Jesus threw them out of the temple all those centuries ago. To make things worse, just because the property is listed at one price, the final negotiator doesn’t have to approve that. They can ask for more—and actually have in our case.

As for the “sale” part of the saying, we could have bought and sold three other properties in the meantime—but it’s a bargain! I’ll have to keep repeating that while the men in the white coats are carrying me away to the funny farm in a straightjacket. At least I’ll have a place to live while the short sale negotiators continue negotiating!

1 comment:

  1. As my Mom (who is 97 today) always says, You get what you pay for. In your case, however, you haven't paid for anything and have only gotten plenty of time to mull over the price of a bargain. And when it is actually time to buy something, all the folks around the table witnessing the transaction and making sure the title is clear all have their finger in the financial pie. There's always WAR AND PIECE to be read while you wait.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America