So, a short sale means that the Realtor has to be under 5' 3" tall? No, not really, but there are a lot of scammers out there that are trying to convince people in distress that they are short sale experts. In the process, the home goes into foreclosure and the homeowner's life is wrecked. So, let me give a few simple guidelines when hiring a short sale agent.
- Ignore every TV commercial that promises short sale success. If the originators are not connected to a local broker you may have trouble verifying their credentials and their success.
- Don't pay someone up front to short sale your house. Going further under water will not ensure short sale success.
- Ask the person you're considering to short sale your house if they've ever conducted a short sale before. There are a lot of short sale experts out there that have never conducted a short sale.
- Call the agent's broker and confirm they are qualified and backed up with a talented brokerage staff in the event something goes sideways.
- Ask about short sale training. Does the agent have a CDPE or SFR certification. There are other good ones out there too. If they do, you know they've been through the process of learning, even if they haven't conducted a short sale. Good certifications are not totally necessary, but they do give the agent a broader understanding of the process. An experienced, uncertified agent can be just as good. Interview, interview, interview.
- Ask the agent to give you a full rundown of the process. Every experienced agent should be able to explain the process with the caveat that each lender may have some minor differences in procedure which may vary a little bit.
- If you can afford it, have your attorney review all documents before signing up with a short sale agent.
- Can they guarantee success? Drop them if they do, because no agent can guarantee success in this area of real estate, but they can guarantee they will give it 100% of their efforts. That's much more important.
Doing a short sale is a difficult process under the best conditions. You'll want to make sure you are ready to comply with the lender's requirements, and you will want to find an agent who is there to support you through the process.