It’s No Bargain

We’ve all seen the listings—the nice-looking 1,500-square-foot-home for less than $100,000—and wondered: What’s the catch? In this historic buyer’s market, of course, we do see plenty of outrageous deals in Las Vegas. But sometimes a too-good-to-be-true price is, well, too good to be true.

For a while, brokerages have been slashing short-sale prices by as much as 30 percent just to entice an offer. With the artificially low price, buyers believe they can get a home significantly below market. They often wait months for a response from a bank that ultimately contends that the offer is too low and counteroffers a higher price anyway, using the neighborhood’s past sales to support its request. In many cases that $100,000 short sale goes for a much higher price.

“It’s a horrible way of doing business, and it wastes a lot of time and energy,” says Jason Ekus, a broker for Volume Real Estate in Las Vegas. “The banks aren’t stupid. They know what the houses are going for.”

Another wrinkle in an already confusing housing market.