Let's touch on what a "Short Sale" is. As home prices drop further, the home values become lower then the mortgage on the house. Homeowners loose their previously built equity in the house and are no longer interested in paying the mortgage for the property. This is an opportunity for a short sale, a 3-way (or more) deal between lender, investor and current home owner that transfers the property from the home owner to the investor for a price lower then the mortgage amount owed to the lender. Everyone wins in the case. The lender does not have to go through an expensive foreclosure process, the owner maintains his credit history and the investor gets a bargain price for the house.
When the homeowner stops paying his mortgage or taxes, a Notice of Default is issued by the mortgage lender or the federal/state/municipal government institution which serves as a sign to the investor to evaluate short sale opportunities by contacting the owner and the bank. Without diving in to actual details of the short sale flow, the key element of the critical decision on the short sale purchase is a title search on the property to verify which lenders he would need to talk to and whether there are any additional liens on the property. This information should be generated before making any offers to the current owner or the lender. The Title Search Report becomes an "enabler" to short sale negotiations with both owner and the lender. Remember, the owner and the lender want to get rid of the property by selling it to you, the investor. You have to arm yourself with a negotiation weapon - a Title Search Report.
For short sale opportunities, we recommend a Full Title Search that goes two owners back on the property, analyzing all current liens and obligations against the property. If you are convinced that the current owner is the original (the only) owner in the case of new construction properties or the property that was in possession of the current owner for a significant number of years, you may choose to order a Current Owner Search, instead.