Sorry, I Don't Do Short Sales

Real Estate Agent with 8z Real Estate CalBRE# 01830950

Recently, one of my newer clients asked me, "Do you work with short sales?"  Her reason for asking was that one of the other agents she interviewed told her that he did not work with short sales.  I was somewhat surprised that there are still agents out there who will not work with a short sale. 
Of course, if you asked me a couple years ago before "short sale" became a common household word, I would have said that I'd stay away from them if I could help it. But as an agent, I have a responsibility to my clients to work in their best interests.    Sometimes, this might mean helping them to buy or sell in a short sale situation.  Can it be more complicated than a "regular" sale?  Of course!  But if I got into real estate simply to make an easy buck, then I would have left a long time ago.  Call it naïveté on my part, but it's actually important to me (and I'm sure this is true for many of my colleagues) that I help my clients find a home that they'll be happy with or if necessary, sell a home that is causing undue stress so that they can move ahead with their lives even if that means dealing with the added complications of a short sale.

A few stats as of the writing of this blog - these are active listings of houses and condos:

City Price Total Regular  Short Bank-owned
Daly City <$500K 48 17 (35%) 21 (44%) 10 (21%)
San Bruno <$500K 37 13 (35%) 18 (49%) 6 (16%)
Pacifica <$500K 23 9 (39%) 11 (48%) 3 (13%)

So, as a buyer's agent, would it make sense to stay away from short sales if it means ruling out 44-48% of the options upfront?  And many experts are predicting that the number of short sales will increase in the coming year.

 Caveat - short sales are not for everyone (for example, those who need to buy in a limited timeframe).  Like the disclaimers for any medications would say, please consult your local real estate professional to make sure a short sale is okay for you.  Common side effects may include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, irritability, depression and anxiety...Sorry, I just had to throw that in there...

Comments (6)

Linda Graves Arnold
Coldwell Banker Gundaker-St. Louis, MO - Chesterfield, MO
St. Louis Real Estate Pro - 314-422-2762 - Referr

Interesting post.  Thanks.

Apr 04, 2010 01:48 PM
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Jean, short sales are not fun, but they can't be ingnored.  If the buyer can wait, and if the listing agent knows what they are doing, there can be a happy ending for all parties involved.  Good luck with your short sale market!

Apr 04, 2010 01:54 PM
Drick Ward Property Management / Broker Assoc
NEPTUNE REALTY - Virginia Beach, VA
"RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation

If the client was coming to you for a listing, I applaud the agent who didn't get into what he/she doesn't know - I wish more listing agents who don't know what they are doing with short sales would instead refer them to a colleague who can get them done correctly.  However, I would also doubt that agent will be around for long given that they didn't realize the opportunity to get a referral commission.

If the client was coming to you as a buyer, then I hope for that agent's sake, they know what they are doing.  Some agents do specialize in markets that support it.  (Condos only, waterfront only, million $ plus only, etc.)  If he/she can specialize in serving non-short sale buyers only and make enough of a living at it, then that's their choice as a business person (though I would again question why no attempt to get a referral.)

All in all - sounds like it was GREAT news for you :)

Apr 04, 2010 01:55 PM
Jean Joh
8z Real Estate - Millbrae, CA
SF Peninsula RE Specialist

Thanks for the comments thus far.  I for one will be happy when we finish wading through the short sales phenomenon, but have actually been pretty successfully both as a buyer's agent and a listing agent.  It takes patience and perseverance, and most importantly, a matter of keeping all parties well informed, especially buyer clients.

I definitely wouldn't describe my whole real estate career as "going after easy money" (like Pete mentioned), but it's really gratifying to be able to help people purchase homes or be able to get out of a difficult financial situation without the stigma and negative impact of foreclosure.

Apr 04, 2010 02:00 PM
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Interesting numbers. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about how it's bad in my market to focus only on foreclosures as there aren't very many, and it seems you've got the opposite problem.

Apr 04, 2010 02:05 PM
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

It's becoming harder and harder for agents to avoid short sale transactions.  In some markets, short sales account for more than 50% of all deals.  For those agents who still feel squeemish about this type of deal, education is the answer.  In all areas of the country, there are numerous short sale training opportunities that these agents should take advantage of.

Apr 05, 2010 01:13 AM