The Difference between a Short Sale Specialist and a Short Sale Wanna Be in Bucks County, PA - Part Two

Real Estate Agent with Realty Mark Nexus

There is a big difference between a short sale specialist and a short sale wanna be.  Even in the affluent areas of the country including, Bucks County , short sales are effecting the market in a huge way. This is part two in a series of articles I will be writing to help you navigate the murky waters of a short sale.   Click on Part One for a refresher.

If you live in the Bucks County, PA or the Philadelphia area, and you are a home owner in distress and looking for help but don't know where to turn and don't know who to trust, PAY ATTENTION, THIS IS FOR YOU!

Who should I call for help first?

In Bucks County,Pennsylvania your lender is required to send you an Act 91 letter.  This letter is the first formal notice provided by your lender that you are at risk of foreclosure.  Included in the letter is a list of state approved credit counselors who will help you and answer your questions, free of charge. Companies such as American Financial Counseling Services, Inc. (AFCS) which is a PA State Affiliated Non-Profit Agency are very respectable and knowledgeable.  They have been through many training courses specifically related to dealing with distressed sellers. They not only have the ability to refer you to an experienced real estate agent but also will be able to help you rebuild your credit and answer any possible Bankruptcy questions you may have.  These state certified companies usually have attorneys on staff who can also help you if needed. Be sure to meet with them and ask for their help!  They very well may provide you with options that allow you to stay in your home and your initial consultation is free so you have nothing to lose.

Why, as a licensed real estate agent and realtor(r), would I suggest contacting an investment company or an REI club regarding your short sale situation?

It's simple really, it's safe to say the president of a well known REI (real estate investment) club will have contacts and knowledge in buying and selling all kinds of distressed properties.  It is quite possible he/she will know more about the subject than your average local real estate agent who may never have completed any type of distressed real estate sale, let alone, a short sale transaction. He/She may even know someone who may want to buy your home for cash.   That is what investors do!

Shouldn't I be wary of investors who "Bottom Feed" and take advantage of unsuspecting and uneducated (in Real Estate) Sellers?

Well, yes and no.  Yes, you should be wary of anyone you are entrusting with your short sale, including investors.  But, every town has investors who operate with high morals and ethics and they very well may have a real estate license themselves they just don't operate and use it like a "traditional agent".  Investments are their game and they stick to what they know.  Plus, large national companies like 1-800-SELL-NOW do not affiliate themselves with just any investor, they make sure their brand is represented by professionals who have integrity and knowledge of distressed real estate.  They even provide specific training which is usually better than what is offered by the NAR (National Association of Realtors).

Warning: If you are going to call a local and unknown "We Buy Houses" investment company who use those cheap looking home made signs, be very careful and tread lightly as there are a lot of crooks out there.  Think about it, if they do not care enough or do not have enough money to, at least, have a professional looking sign, how professional do you think they will be with everything else they do? Larger National Companies have much more at stake and will more than likely be a safer bet.

Problem is even those who you "think" would have your best interest in mind may not be able to be trusted these days.

Recently even attorney's, real estate agents and mortgage companies have been accused of committing fraud.  A short sale is a very tricky transaction and should only be handled by experienced professionals who can answer your questions and provide you with resources and testimonials.  

Investigations and arrests both locally and nationally are popping up all over.  Just do a quick goggle news search on foreclosure fraud and you will quickly get a sense of the murky waters you are in. You need to be sure you are not knowingly or unknowingly committing or about to be a victim of fraud.   


You'll want to be sure you interview more than one professional and ask the following questions before moving forward:


1. How Many short sale transactions have you closed?  

2. What is your short sale closing ratio? 

3. What is your average time from listing to closing?  

4. What is the average commission you'll accept from the bank?  

5. How many short sale files are you currently working on?

6. Do you negotiate the short sales yourself or do you outsource the negotiations to a third party?

7. Do you have testimonials and a list of past clients I can call to ask them about your services?

8. Can you provide me with a list of experienced short sale attorneys who you feel comfortable referring me to?

9. Can you provide me with a list of experienced Bankruptcy attorneys so I can weigh my Bankruptcy rights and options?

10. How will a short sale affect my credit compared to a bankruptcy, foreclosure or a deed-in-lieu-of foreclosure?

11. Will I be able to stay in my home by renting it back from the buyer?

12. Will I receive any proceeds derived from the sale of my home?

13. Will I have to pay taxes on the difference between what I owe and what the house sells for?

14. Will I have any future financial obligations to the lender after the short sale transaction closes?

15. How long will it take for you to find a buyer?

16. Do I have to pay any money or commissions in order to sell my home in a short sale situation?

17. Can you provide me with a list of experienced CPA's that specialize in cancellation of debt and the tax consequences of short sales?

18. Will I have to sign a promissory note or worry about the bank going after me for a deficiency judgement?


Stay tuned for part 3 where I will give you the answers you'll want to hear to the above questions before agreeing to move forward with listing or selling your home. If you are a seller in distress and you don't want to wait that long, please feel free to call me at 215-815-8195 or e-mail me  There is no fee or obligation!!

Disclaimer: While attempts have been made to verify information provided therein, the author does not assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contradictory information contained in this document. This document is not intended as legal, investment or accounting advice. The reader of this blog assumes all responsibility for the use of these materials and information. 







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Comments (3)

Russ Colomo
Colomo Realty, LLC - Burleson, TX

Kevin, You're right, people seeking help from foreclosure really need to ask some questions before agreeing to have someone help them.  Get someone who doesn't know what they're doing and the house is gone.  Good list of questions to ask.

Feb 02, 2010 08:21 AM
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Kevin: I'm a little confused as to why it would be imporant for the seller to inquire about the agent's commission, since that is ultimately decided by the bank and should have no bearing on whether they sign the listing agreement with you. Also, it would be hard to say the average time frame. Some short sales take two weeks and others take 4 months. If agents say all short sales take 4 weeks, they are just telling the seller what they want to hear.

These are great interview questions. However, sellers may not know how a qualified short sale agent should respond to these questions. Maybe you should advise them . . . or maybe you already did so in another post.

Feb 28, 2010 12:57 AM
kevin Kravcak

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for your comment.   Sellers should always ask about commissions because they more than likely do not know the short sale process works and it certainly needs to be a part of the conversation.  As agents, we should never assume sellers know the in's and out's of a short sale transaction.  

Same goes with the time frame question.  An experienced short sale agent/specialist/investor should have data with them to support their average success rate, commissions and time frames and share that data with a seller.  

It should be an interview with open ended questions to help the seller evaluate the agents skill, professionalism, preparedness and experience level.  The agents response to these questions is the key.  Do they respond with intelligent answers or are they telling you what you want to hear?  Are they prepared with paperwork and data to support their claims or are they winging it?

You are correct, providing the responses to these questions is important and are forthcoming in a future blog.   I did not want to make this one too long. Some of the answers will be quite long and thought out (at least that is the


Feb 28, 2010 02:12 AM