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I tell Sacramento sellers upfront that when they sign a listing agreement with me, I will release them if they change their mind. I am not one of those Sacramento real estate agents who will hold a seller hostage against the seller's will. It's pointless to do. It's bad for my public image, and it's bad for the seller; there is no win-win in holding a gun to a seller's head. Sometimes, sellers have a change of heart, cold feet, whatever, and that's OK.
I recall a few years ago a seller crying after signing a purchase contract. I had sold his Victorian home in Midtown. He was very attached to it. Putting it on the market, holding an open house, handing out flyers, entertaining offers, all of that was sort of fun and not hard, cold reality. After the seller signed the purchase contract, he fell apart. That was reality. It meant he was parting with his home. He couldn't do it, and I didn't make him do it.
Our listing agreements say after we produce a qualified buyer, the seller owes the broker a commission, regardless of whether the seller closes escrow. Some agents enforce that provision. I am reluctant to add insult to injury because that's not what is best for the seller. Believe it or not, we listing agents have a fiduciary to the seller to do what is in the seller's best interest. If a seller doesn't want to close escrow, how is that in the seller's best interest to charge them a commission or push them to do it?
It's a somewhat different story with a short sale. That's a distressed situation with fewer laws, unlike a foreclosure, to protect the seller. If a seller decides not to sell after we receive short sale approval, I will still release them from the listing agreement. However, whether the buyer will release them from the purchase contract is another situation all together. That purchase contract is subject to lender approval. After the lender issues approval, the contract is considered binding.
It's one thing if the seller suddenly wins the lottery and opts to pay off the mortgage. It's another if the seller wants to cancel the short sale because the seller wants to continue making payments on the loan. Sometimes a sentimental reason translates into financial insanity. Of course, if I were in those shoes and suddenly received enough money to pay off an underwater mortgage, I would probably buy 2 homes with that money and rent out the second house instead of paying off an underwater mortgage, but people don't always do things that make financial sense.
I say if you're lucky enough to get short sale approval, thank your lucky stars. You have been blessed. Given a second chance. Released from a terrible financial obligation to get a fresh start. You are fortunate. But I am the voice of reason. Not the voice of sentiment.
If a seller wants to cancel a short sale after lender approval, a buyer could object. A buyer could sue for specific performance. A buyer could sue for damages. Some buyers might take it so far as to record a Lis Pendens after judgment to stop a seller from ever selling to anybody else. Buyers have contractual rights in a purchase agreement. They get just as emotional as sellers. Sellers should not enter into a short sale unless the seller is committed to closing. But since when do we do what makes sense?
Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying columnist for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. DRE License # 00697006.
Lyon Real Estate is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan. Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice. It could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.
Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate, midtown Sacramento. Selling since 1974. Home Buying Guide at About.com. Sacramento short sale agent.
Author Bio: Elizabeth Weintraub is a Sacramento real estate broker, author, home buying guide for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully closes short sales throughout Sacramento four-county area. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.