I have experienced similar situations in recent months. I find that if the property is priced aggressively and is in decent condition then we will normally be in a multi-offer situation. I've rushed clients back to the office to get the offer in before anyone else has a chance. Since many of these are bank owned properties, they were slow to respond on purpose and had other offers in prior to accepting our full price offer. I understand that the bank and their agent want to get the most for the property that they can. It is just difficult to be on the buyer side of these transactions.
It depends entirely on the bank. In my experience lately I have had the bank do repairs in about half of the homes I sold. I represented the buyer in all of them. We were unable to negotiate the repairs up front. We made our offer under the assumption that the bank would NOT do any repairs. The banks usually allow 5 to 7 days for inspections. If I expect there to be an inspection issue, I try to get a contractor/repairman to view that home at the same time as the inspector or soon after. You will need 1 to 3 bids on estimates of the repairs to accompany the inspection notice. I submitted the inspection notice asking for the repairs and I also included the contractor estimates of the repairs with the report. The banks do not want to see any reports with cosmetic items ( i.e. paint, carpet, scratched appliances etc.) They do get concerned with safety issues like high radon levels, bad roofs, damaged furnaces and safety issues. Make sure that your inspector is also familiar with FHA and VA inspection guidelines as well. That way you can include any issues that would be tripped up at the appraisal right form the beginning. I've had the bank ( Freddie Mac ) agree to actually fix a home before. I had another closing in February where the bank gave my buyer $1,500 credit in closing costs in lieu of doing repairs. I've also had deals where the bank said "no" to any repairs or credit. It does not hurt to ask for the repairs. just don't have your expectations set too high and submit bids for the work along with the request to increase the chances that you get a positive response.
For the listing purposes in the MLS, Zillow and most Realtor sites, the square footage that you see is above grade. For example a ranch home may have 1,500 square feet on the main level plus a 1,500 square foot basement. Normally the property will show 1,500 square feet on the real estate sites. In the MLS is is broken out a little more detailed. They have square footage per level. There is also total square footage which would include the basement. There is another section that lists the finished square footage which would be included if the basement had been finished. One area of square footage that is more subject to local custom is the garden level area of a home. In Denver tri-level homes are very popular. The lower level is normally half way under ground and the lower level windows look out almost level with the outside ground. Most real estate agents and appraisers consider that as part of the square footage of a house. I've seen it called both ways with tri-levels and finished garden level basements. I hope this helps.
The best way to determine your home's value is to compare it to similar sold properties in your neighborhood. Normally an appraiser or a broker will look for similar style homes ( ranch, two story, tri-level etc ) with similar square footage and age to compare your property to that have sold in the past 3 to 6 months. When they find the three best comparable properties to yours, they will then make adjustments for condition, garage spaces, basements, finished basements and location. If your home is in excellent condition with newer paint, flooring and appliances, then it will adjust your price upwards. If your home backs to a major road or busy intersection, then they will deduct from the price. Determining the value of a home is more of an art than a science and getting a valuation from an appraiser or agent that is very familiar with your neighborhood will increase the accuracy of the valuation. When getting a valuation in order to sell a property, a professional will also consider current active listing similar to yours, pending and under contract homes along with days on market statistics in order to determine a price range for the home for sale. Best of luck to you.
It depends on what you are calculating the square footage for. For example an appraiser will give you credit for a finished basement over an unfinished basement. The dollar per square foot value will be less than that of the main levels of the home. In addition I would want to know if there are bedrooms and bathrooms in the basement. The use of the finished area will impact the additional value received by finishing the basement. The rooms in a basement cannot be counted unless there is ingress ( escape access ) through an exterior window.No garage square footage cannot be counted even if it is finished.Yes bathrooms are counted when counting rooms.Your question may come up because different agents figure square footage differently in the MLS. You would have to check with the local board of Realtors for the local custom.
I have seen a shorter time frame lately for short sales than what we used to see. The key as Joni mentioned is asking the right questions to the listing agent before falling in love with it. Is the list price within 10% of real value? Are there multiple offers? Is there more than one lien? Is the end investor Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or FHA? You can save a lot of time and heartache by asking these types of questions up front before viewing the property.
I was surprised to find a no money down loan through Key Bank. You will still need to have good credit and a steady job to qualify. There are also programs that assist with down payment so that you can get an FHA loan but sometimes they are burdensome. I recently wrote a blog about the no money down loan at Key Bank.