Short Sale Tales... and Short Order Cooks.
(LAKE TAHOE REAL ESTATE BLOG) Our recent follies with short sale departments at various banks, and particularly those with 3rd party servicing companies, have led us to one inescapable conclusion. The people working there today all worked at McDonalds yesterday.
The idea that they are working, these short people, is a misnomer. Its the fast food industry meets the housing industry, and the result is not gradual coronary thrombosis, it’s instant paralysis... from head to toe.
It’s like the primary hiring criteria for short sale employees is a pronounced cranial vacuity, one so vapid that one does not understand, nor care, that spending time somewhere is not work.
Nor is work not answering the phone, not returning phone calls, losing documents hourly, not remembering what you, or anyone else in your company said yesterday, or anything of the sort.
An Example :
Here’s an example, and then lets solve the problem... for both short sale departments... and McDonalds.
We have a listing that is a short sale. It took the owner 6 months to get his bank, through a 3rd party servicing company, to allow it to become a short sale in the first place. (We won’t name the company, but you might find it here.)
Part of the short sale approval process included an appraisal ordered by the bank. From an appraiser who does not work in this area, who does not have experience with appraising value here, who called us to help him. And then overvalued the property by at least $50,000.
But rather than tell the Owner, and thereby us, the bank either never looked at the appraisal in the first place, forgot about it completely, or decided for some unknown vacuous thinking reason to keep it to themselves, like one would keep a secret formula... for, well... a Sausage McMuffin or something else of world changing importance.
So we get an offer on the house. A fair one. Three months ago. And we fax all of the documents to the short people daily, and we call them daily. And it’s like ordering in the drive-through lane, expecting to hear something, somebody, anybody on that little speaker... when McDonalds is closed!
All the while, of course, and its understandable, the buyer and the buyers agent want to know if their offer is accepted. One for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the short people just can’t be bothered to respond. Apparently they are so busy not responding to other people they can't respond to us. (It's like a Joseph Heller novel, only more absurd.)
Finally we get a breakthrough. We find one of them, six weeks into the fiasco. “I can’t talk to you,” the short person said, “I need written permission from the owner.” She was unimpressed when we explained that we had sent it daily for weeks on end... with no response.
She was equally bored that we had an offer where time was of the essence. In fact, Ms. Snippity Short would not give us her email address, the address of her office, a direct phone number, or anything to help us give the company she doesn’t-work for real money.
Obviously it’s had to find incentive with a paid-by-hour mass of incompetance posing as an employee.
Two weeks later, we find out that they will only accept the appraised value. The one done by the appraiser who doesn’t work around here. So the long and short of that offer was the buyer just went away. And the house now sits.
Adding Insult to Injury :
Here’s what’s going to happen, and it’s not an isolated incident. This is happening much of the time all across this country. The house will become bank owned. The short people will pass it on to the banks REO department, which will then get it appraised again.
They will also “fire” the listing agent, who did their job correctly, get a new listing agent, one they've probably never met before, and put it back up on the market... for much less than the offer that the short people either rejected, or failed to respond to at all. (Heller would roll over in his grave.)
That’s right folks, the bank, and whoever would have thought it, has people posing on their behalf who will turn down more to take less. Come to think of it, McDonalds employees are much smarter than that. (Instead, we’re now thinking short people must come out from under rocks at the perimeters of deep, dark forest ponds.)
It appears that the short people don’t share with the REO people. That would be too easy, and this is not a case of the right hand not telling the left hand what it’s doing. It’s a case of the right hand not knowing there is a left arm.
It’s like the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Immigration and Homeland Security not sharing information with each other... and then still claiming defiantly that they are in the intelligence business.
The Solution :
So the solution is simple. First, lets get rid of short sale departments all together. Then lets put Ronald McDonald in charge. It will be a step up, after all. And it’s always better to put a clown in charge who knows what he’s doing, than a hand-me-down clown who doesn’t. (They may be a seque into politics here, but we’ll pass.)
Then lets get McDonalds to handle all short sales in store. We’ll have the realm of short order cooks run the show. They’re efficient, like a machine, meeting and fulfilling customers and their needs everyday. (You gotta love it.)
It will start in the drive-through lane. “I’ll have a Big Mac, a Quarterpounder... and a House,” we’ll say into the microphone, and a voice in the little speaker will instantly chime, “would you like the house supersized?” (Already, I’m Loving It!)
If one goes inside, the usual McDonalds offerings will all be up there on the backlighted overhead menu above..., along with the featured short sales of the day.
We’ll step right up and say something like, I’ll have a number 4, a number 2, and the 3BD rancher with the pool. Efficiently the person behind the counter will ask, “for here, or to go?”
“And an apple pie on top,” we’d remember, and voila, the person is at the cash register, keying in the order, and then would say, “that will be three hundred sixty-three thousand dollars... and sixty-five cents.” (Are you lovin' it more?)
It’ll be perfect. Done in an instant, and there won’t be any falderal, no miscommunication, or lack of it, no passing the buck, or not getting the buck at all, with this solution. Every happy meal, and every transaction will be immediate, and wonder of all wonders, none of the McDonalds employees will turn around, keeping secrets from their manager, and sell a Big Mac for less.
Because all McDonalds employers can recognize a bigger number from a smaller one, even if its money. If banks would just remember that alone when it comes to short sales, what a much more understandable world it would be.
Ok, the video below is predictable, but I’m Loving It too!