For either short-sales or "underwater" mortages, How does a buyer get the seller and the seller's mortgage lender to accept a lower offer?
For either short-sales or "underwater" mortgages, where the current market price or just appraisal amount is much less than either the amount(s) the seller paid or the amount still due on the mortgage:
How does a buyer get the mortgage company and the seller to accept and approve a lower offer?
On a short sale, it will be totally up to the bank holding the property to accept your offer. Do not hold your breath, it may take a very long time to get a yes or no. Banks are very slow (months) accepting or rejecting the offers.
How can a buyer "sweeten" a lower than asking price offer so that both the seller and the seller's mortgage lender(s) approve the offer quickly?
See above answer, the only real way to sweeten the offer is to increase the amount.
Specifically, offer amounts which are close to the appraisal amount less additional costs not covered in the appraisal. These amounts are items needed to bring a property up to required building or zoning codes. Or are otherwise needed to make the property habitable or similar to comparable properties appraisals.
Keep in mind the bank may only be concerned about selling at the appraised amount. They may hold out for another offer.
Hope this helps,
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