How Long Do Short-Sales Take?


A very common question people ask me is, “How long does a short-sale take?” There is no exact answer to that question because short-sales are not a perfect science. Short-sales are like a trip to Vegas - you may come back with more money than you left with or you may come back broke, but you won’t know till the end of the trip. You won’t know when you will get the response from the bank(s) until the day you actually get one.

Average Time

The average - and I stress average time to hear back from a bank(s) on a short-sale - is 3 months. I don’t suggest using any amount of time in planning when you’ll hear back on from the bank(s), but if you really must, 3 months would be your best bet.


The fastest response on a short-sale I’ve ever seen is 4 weeks. Unless “you’re in” a loan officer or loss mitigation officer at the bank you’re dealing with that can “fast track’ the short-sale (contact me offline for more info on this), don’t bank on this (pun intended).


There are short-sales still sitting waiting on a response from the bank(s) that went under contract over a year ago. Yup - a year ago. You REALLY have to love the house you’re buying and have all the time in the world to wait around this long.

Don’t forget settlement preparation time

Don’t forget about the time needed from short-sale approval to settlement date. Once the short-sale has been approved (not before) the buyer’s loan officer can tart finalizing the loan approval and everything that goes along with it (appraisal, title work, underwriting, etc). This takes at least 2 weeks, but more like 30 days.

To recap…the average time from ratifying a contract to settlement date is 4 months (3 months plus 30 days). The shortest is 2 months (4 weeks plus 30 days). The longest is over a year.

If you have would like more information or have specific questions regarding short-sales as a buyer or seller, click here to email me or call me at 703.582.6900.

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10 Responses to “How Long Do Short-Sales Take?”
  1. radenka says:

    If you put the offer on the property that is for short-sale and the property is moving to forctloser auction in three weeks, should you go and place the bid during auction?
    Many thanks.

  2. I can not answer that question because I do not know what purchase contract says nor which state the property is located in. Speaking in general terms and assuming that your purchase contract will be void upon foreclosure proceedings by the bank(s), whether you should or should not place a bid on it depends on what the auction price is and whether that’s a good value or not. You should speak with your Buyer’s Agent and/or a lawyer for guidance.

  3. Tim says:

    I just found out that the owner of the place I live wants to short sell the house I live in. Do I have to be out in 30 days? You say it takes about 2 to 4 months so does that mean I have to walk out of the house the day the sale closes?

  4. You should look at the terms of your lease and speak with a lawyer for guidance. I have no idea what your lease says nor am I a lawyer. I would guess that the latest you need to be out is the day the property is sold to the new purchaser unless you’ve made other arrangements with the new owner.

  5. Agreed that with payment buyers they will be in for a shock if rates move from 5% to 6%. That is a 20% increase and we all know it could happen overnight. If it has a corresponding effect on Prices then we are in for big trouble.

  6. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic however you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  7. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks

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