How to identify a short sale

In the real estate market, short sales offer unique opportunities for both buyers and investors. However, identifying a short sale can be confusing and requires a thorough understanding of the process. In this blog post, we will break down the key points from Nicole’s video to help you easily identify a potential short sale and comprehend its essential characteristics.

What is a Short Sale in Real Estate?

A short sale occurs when a homeowner owes more on their mortgage than the current value of the property. In this situation, selling the property at market value would not cover the outstanding mortgage, resulting in the seller having to bring money to the closing table. For investors, it means that purchasing the property at a discounted price would still require the seller to bring money to closing, indicating a short sale scenario.

Identifying a Potential Short Sale

  1. Key Aspects

For real estate agents, identifying a potential short sale involves assessing whether the property’s listing price covers all the liens, judgments, and closing costs. If the homeowner would need to pay out-of-pocket to close the deal due to their financial situation, it’s likely a short sale. For investors, a potential short sale arises when the purchase offer is considerably lower than the after-repair value (ARV) and the seller owes more than the property’s worth.

  1. Homeowner’s Financial Hardship

A critical aspect of short sales is that the homeowner must be facing a genuine financial hardship that prevents them from making mortgage payments. Valid hardships could include loss of job, income reduction, or other circumstances that make it impossible for the homeowner to afford the property. Lenders will review the homeowner’s financials to ensure the legitimacy of their hardship before approving a short sale.

  1. Legitimate Short Sale vs. Negotiating for a Better Deal

It is crucial to distinguish between a legitimate short sale and attempting to negotiate for a lower price. A short sale is only applicable when the seller genuinely owes more than the property’s value and is facing financial hardship. Trying to negotiate a lower price when the seller can afford the mortgage is not a short-sale situation.

Next Steps for Realtors and Investors

  1. Realtors:

If you’re a realtor dealing with a short sale, understand that the short sale process is complex and requires specific expertise. Don’t take on a short sale if you haven’t handled one before. Educate yourself about short sales through resources like Nicole Espinosa’s book “How to Master Short Sales” before proceeding.

  1. Investors:

If you’re an investor interested in purchasing a short-sale property, remember that you cannot negotiate directly with the seller. The lender will require a real estate agent to represent the seller in the transaction. If you want to collaborate with Nicole Espinosa’s team, you can refer potential short sale leads to them via their website,


Identifying a short sale requires a clear understanding of its key characteristics. Remember that a short sale occurs when the homeowner owes more on the mortgage than the property’s value and faces genuine financial hardship. Whether you’re a realtor or an investor, it is essential to educate yourself about the short sale process before venturing into this specialized niche in the real estate market. With the right knowledge and expertise, short sales can present profitable opportunities for both buyers and investors alike.

If you’re interested in learning more about short sales and pre-foreclosures, Nicole’s book “Short Sales Uncensored” on Amazon can be a valuable resource to guide you through the process. Additionally, you can join the Facebook group, the only short sale group worth being a part of, to ask questions and gain insights from experienced professionals. Always feel free to reach out to us if you have any more questions or if we can help in any way.

How to Identify a short sale


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