Posted by Bart Mruz on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 at 2:38pm.

By now, you are probably thinking that time has run out for getting a deal on a distressed property in the Paradise Valley area. However, you would be wrong. Surprise though it may be, there are still chances to pick up a short sale or other distressed property for much lower than the home is actually worth. As you think about where your next home should be, don't give up on these great locations, held over from the housing bubble burst fallout that has continued for the last five years. If you are hoping to pick up a Paradise Valley short sale home, you'll need to act quickly. Here's how you can still take advantage:

1. Be a qualified buyer.

Before you can even think about picking up a home, you have to have one of two things in place: either you have enough cash on hand to buy the home outright or you have strong enough credit to purchase via loan. Most people do not have the liquid assets to swoop in and purchase a home by paying the full amount in cash. If you don't, you'll need to make sure your credit report, income, and debt, aren't concerning for a lender. The best ways to do this: pay your bills on time, pay off as many debts as you can (especially high interest), and resolve any outstanding issues that may be bringing down your credit report.

2. Find an experienced agent.

It's not enough to simply partner with a real estate agent. You want someone with experience in dealing with short sale homes. Over the last five years, there have been several in the area willing to help, but few have been able to successfully navigate the short sale transaction for a client. One of the first things you should ask when you go to an agent is, do you have experience working with short sale transactions? If they do, they'll be able to walk you through the legalities and answer any questions that you may have. They'll also be able to help you with number three.

3. Construct an offer.

You must be careful when putting together an offer that a seller can take seriously on a short sale home. It's tricky because short sales often sell for much lower than the actual value of the home, but at the same time, there will be a lot of competition, and an offer may not get seen once let alone ever have a counter. Sellers are usually so distressed they take the first reasonable offer to their situation. A good agent can get your offer seen early and can also help you fashion it in a way that doesn't come across insulting.