The answer depends upon a few variables: 1) The time frame in which you are seeking to purchase 2) The type of financing you have as a buyer 3) Your price range
If you want to purchase within a three month period a short sale is probably not for you. If you have time, short sales may pose a valuable option.
In San Diego, short sales prevail among the lower price ranges which for us are $200K or less for a condo, and $450K or less for a house. If you are in the lower price ranges of your community, you will likely encounter more short sales. Conversely, if you are in the mid to higher ranges price wise, you will find more traditional sales.
Since short sales typically generate multiple offers here in San Diego, your ability to compete in a multiple bid situation plays a role. If you are a VA or FHA buyer, you may not win a multiple bidding scenario because you will be considered ‘less strong’ to someone with cash or a large down payment.
Foreclosures that are listed on the San Diego MLS typically always garner multiple offers. Similar to short sales, if there are multiple offers and you have an FHA or VA loan, you will likely lose the option to buy that house. Different from short sales however, once a bank owned deal is accepted, the process usually moves pretty quickly. The overall time frame is usually between 30-45 days.
Traditional sales are typically the easiest of the transactions. There is often less competition for these homes and a greater willingness to work with different types of buyers. If you have a particular area in mind and prefer homes in good condition, you will prefer the homes offered through a traditional sale