This is a very interesting comparison of the terminally ill patient to the death of your home ownership via a short sale or foreclosure. It is difficult, at best, to help these homeowners see their life improving at the end of the tunnel. It takes compassion to understand all that is going on in their mind and tenacity to carry them through this process.
As a former Social Worker I am reminded of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross book "On Death and Dying' and the five stages a terminally ill patient goes through when informed of their life threatening illness.
The five stages she identifies in her book are:
- Denial ( this isn't happening to me!)
- Anger( why is this happening to me?)
- Bargaining ( I promise I'll be better person if...)
- Depression ( I don't care anymore)
- Acceptance ( I'm ready for whatever comes)
As I reviewed these five stages and relate them to Sellers I have worked with or am currently working with I am drawn to how these same stages are exactly what sellers go through when selling their home in a short sale.
Stage 1 Denial:
Many sellers who are falling behind in their mortgage payment often do not get help or seek help because they are in total denial. They often think nothing is going to happen to them even after the bank has sent them the Notice of Default letter.
Stage 2 Anger:
This is a very difficult stage. Many homeowners remain angry through the Short Sale/Foreclosure process. Reports of homes being trashed and appliances missing are usually the signs of people who have a lot of anger and direct this anger onto the property.
Stage 3 Bargaining:
This is the stage where sellers exhibit a lot of ambivalence. They do not want to loose their home and will do almost anything to keep it. Some sellers will contact their lenders and try to negotiate a loan modification while you are doing a short sale. You have to be aware of your seller in this stage because they are very vulnarble and will sabotage any efforts you have initiated because they have not truly accepted the need to sell their home.
Stage 4: Depression:
Sellers in this stage just stop caring about the house and will withdraw from you as their agent. It is important to maintain contact with your sellers during this stage and give them support and assure them that what they are doing is in their best interest.
Stage 5 Acceptance:
This is when you see your seller come out of their shell and begin to prepare for a life after the Short Sale.