Considering Outsourcing Your Short Sale Negotiations? Key Questions To Ask

Services for Real Estate Pros with Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc.

I had a conversation with a broker in Berrien County (Michigan) last week that got me thinking : When considering outsourcing short sale negotiations to a 3rd party (title company, attorney, investor, etc), what questions should you ask to be sure you're recommending the best solution to your seller? That's what I will cover in this post.

This broker was looking to outsource his short sale negotiations to a third party because of the amount of work involved He'd already burned through three other companies and was not happy at all with the results. He asked what I could do. I'm not much of a sales person so I simply asked him to watch this webinar replay to learn what my team does. We'll talk more next week.

So after some thought, I came up with the following questions that I think you should ask any short sale negotiator you are considering outsourcing your Michigan short negotiations to:

a. How long have you been negotiating short sales?

b. Over the last 6 months, what percentage have you gotten approved?

c. What will you do prior to getting an offer from a buyer to help speed up the process?

d. On average, how long does a buyer have to wait before you get a short sale approval? For Three-Party Short

Sale Negotiators/Investors ask these additional questions:

e. Over the last 6 months, how many short sales did you have accepted before you had a buyer lined up, and how many of those did you close on?

f. How many other companies like yours from around the country are you affiliated with?

Of course the biggest advantage to outsourcing is the time it frees up to focus on "revenue producing activities" (listing and showing homes). If you can find someone (like my team) to make sure you get full commission without charging the buyer or seller a fee, that's a huge plus. Best of luck in your search!

Dedicated To Your Success,

Joel Short Sale Negotiations: you earn FULL COMMISSION and no fee to buyer/seller –

Comments (5)

Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert


I really can not see out sourcing one of the most important parts of the transaction to someone who is not licensed with my brokerage.

Mar 31, 2010 12:08 AM
Joel Zieve
Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc. - Grand Rapids, MI
#1 Michigan Short Sale Team

Joe, many agents feel this way.  I've found many more that would prefer to outsource to someone that is more skilled to deal with short sales.  That's the beauty of free enterprise - having choices.  I wrote this article because I get this question frequently during my con-ed course.  The reason it's asked is because agents hand over negotiations without asking key questions up front and end up putting their sellers in worse situations.  Hence the purpose of the article.

In Michigan, you don't need to be licensed/certified to negotiate a short sale.  Being licensed does not necessarily make someone capable of getting the job done.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Mar 31, 2010 12:17 AM
Laurie Herring
Keller Williams Partners Realty - Colorado Springs, CO

Great information, Joel. I personally see nothing wrong with outsourcing our short sale negotiations to a 3rd party as long as they are qualified and have a quick turnaround. I highly recommend checking the 3rd party out you are considering for your short sale to discover if they are the best fit to negotiate on your clients behalf. We are not selling cars here and I am finding as a newer agent that short sales are complicated, time consuming, and frustrating for not only your client but for us as well. Any way we can better service our clients is what's important here and if that means we need to outsource our short sale negotiations to a 3rd party then so be it.

Mar 31, 2010 12:27 AM
Stephen Arnold
HomeSmart Elite Group - Scottsdale, AZ

I think that it is considered on of those 'grey' areas in RE right now!  I think that a 3rd party should be able to make the calls...but they should hand the phone to the REALTOR when dealing with the transaction.

Mar 31, 2010 03:17 AM
Joel Zieve
Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc. - Grand Rapids, MI
#1 Michigan Short Sale Team

Stephen, I completely agree that the REALTOR needs to be involved with the real estate side of things (contracts, negotiating with buyer/seller, coordinating closing, etc.). In my experience from teaching hundreds of REALTORS through my con-ed course, most REALTORS that are doing the negotiations without the knowledge and experience are harming their clients.

How do I know? They tell me stories about "this happened to me last month and the deal died". I tell them how they should have handled it which would have resulted in a closed transaction and a settlement for their seller.  But they didn't have the knowledge/experience to know what to do.

Mar 31, 2010 03:46 AM