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Benefits of Buying a Short Sale: An Interview with Hillery Dorner of Dorner Law & Title Services

By Hillery Dorner

Tell us about your company and its foundation.

Dorner Law & Title Services is a boutique real estate law firm catering to the dynamic and ever-changing needs of the real estate industry. We assist buyers, sellers, and their real estate brokers and lenders in all of the legal aspects of a transaction. In the last few years Dorner Law has expanded their expertise to include Short Sales and title clearing.

Please provide a brief explanation of what a short sale is.

A short sale occurs when the sale price of a property is less than the total amount of the liens on the property. If an owner needs to sell their property due to financial hardship or otherwise, and the liens are greater than the sale price, then the seller would have to get the lien holders to agree to discharge the lien for less money than what the lien holder is owed. Thus, the name "short sale."

How low do short sale sellers typically go?

A seller can accept any amount that they want but that doesn't mean the lien holder will agree. Most lien holders conduct a price opinion or appraisal of the property and expect the purchase price to be close to fair market value. Sellers are also required to pay income taxes on the deficiency (the difference between what they owe the lender and the amount the lender actually receives at the sale). For these reasons, short sales, while priced very competitively, are not the same kind of low-end bargain that a foreclosure might be. Short sales, however, are often sold in good condition by Sellers who maintain and care about their property.

What are the benefits of buying a short sale home?

There is some financial benefit to buying a short sale because the pricing is usually a bit lower and the property is often well maintained compared to a foreclosure because the Seller still cares for the house. You are also assured of getting clear marketable title in a short sale unlike the title of a foreclosed home which can be questionable. Title insurance is a must in all cases as it is the Title Insurance that guarantees the Buyer that they will have good title!

What is the ideal situation to buy a short sale home?

Ideally, a person buying a short sale has a lot of patience and is not under any deadlines to move out of their current living situation. The closing date on a short sale is often hard to pin down and a typical short sale can take anywhere from three to six months to complete depending on how long the lienholder takes to review and accept the terms of the transaction. So a buyer with time to wait is a good thing. That being said, a lot of short sale sellers are experiencing financial difficulties so they typically want the sale to occur as soon as possible, and before any potential foreclosure. Therefore, buyers should be proactive and ready to move fast once the lienholders issue their approvals.

What's the best way to contact you and your company?

The attorneys and staff at Dorner Law & Title Services are reachable via the web at, e-mail at, or by phone 978 266-9666. We'd love to talk to you about short sales, retail sales, buying and borrowing!

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