As most buyers and sellers understand these days, the short sale process is much more complicated (and lengthy) than a traditional real estate transaction. There are a number of decisions along the way that can help move along smoothly or help a deal fall apart. I am putting together a series of blog posts about the common mistakes that I see, and advice on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Qualifying the Listing Agent
If the listing broker is unfamiliar with short sales, I’ve found that it often doesn’t matter how well we write up an offer (if I’m the buyers agent)…the chance of a successful outcome goes down significantly.
As a buyers agent, there are a few qualifying questions I like to ask:
- Who will be negotiating the short sale?
- Are there any fees to the buyer for negotiation?
- How will you communicate/update us on the transaction?
- What comparable sales are you using to justify the price? (if the price seems too good to be true)
- Are the sellers taking advantage of HAFA? (increases the sellers willingness to cooperate with the lienholders because they have incentives to short sale their home).
If I am the listing broker selling your short sale, I make sure that my clients understand:
- I want my clients to meet with my team of professionals to help them understand the impact of a short sale and alternatives to a short sale. Perhaps there is a better option out there, and I am more concerned with your financial well-being than a commission check.
- I do not personally negotiate short sale transactions. I have done it successfully in the past, but leave it up to professionals who do this all day, everyday now. These negotiators have closed hundreds of transactions. More than any individual agent has done on their own.
- I DO focus my efforts on what I do best: market your listing and help qualify/negotiate each and every offer that comes in.
- My number one goal is to help you avoid foreclosure – which is why I want you to receive and accept the offer that helps give you the best opportunity to accomplish this goal.
- You (as a seller) do not owe me a commission. Your lender will pay all commissions.