As I read and talk to my fellow agents I hear many horror stories about how the Buyer was able to throw a monkey wrench into the Short Sale proceedings.
Well, there are certain things a Listing agent can and should do to prevent from the deal falling apart at the last minute or after several weeks of negotiating an Approval Letter with the Lender.
First, don't settle for a mediocre offer. If you and your client don't believe the offer is sufficient then by all means give the Buyers a counteroffer and explain the situation. Make the counteroffer in person so you can sit with the Buyer and their agent to explain the process and the reasoning for the counteroffer. Avoid letting the Buyers agent deliver your message...Can we say, "Lost in Translation."
Second, don't settle for an offer without a deposit. If there is no deposit there is a higher likelihood that the Buyer will walk. It can also help you gauge if the Buyer and their agent is just shopping around for the first property to be approved. A deposit must be made at the time of Seller acceptance and be made to the Sellers title company of choice.
Third, make all offers or contracts contingent on the Seller getting at least 90 days to negotiate with the Lender (each agent should require an adequate time frame for their area) and gain an Approval Letter. If the Buyer does not agree, or thinks it is too much time, what do you think they'll do 30 or 45 days into the negotiations.
These simple steps should be the cornerstone of your accepted offer, anything less is just putting you and your client in a losing proposition. I know, some of you will say, "What if the Buyer walks away?"
Would you rather have the Buyer walk away at the beginning or at the end?