Exceptionally well written post regarding the significant differences between REOs and Short Sales.
Pay close attention to the comments - some great analogies made by those commenting - here is a sampling:
"I can't imagine any of them trying to do the job of another. You make your nitch and you work it. No jumping on the band wagon where you see success. It just doesn't work like that."
"REO agents that think handling short sales is the same as what they are doing now are in ffor a rude awakening."
"Like I mentioned to Chris Ann, a short sale is to an REO as a psychiatrist is to a high school janitor."
My managing broker asked me yesterday about my short sale production. She wanted to know how many I closed in 2009 and how many short sales I expect to close in 2010. When I looked at my sales record for the first two-and-a-half months of 2010, I realized that after my next 2 closings this month, I'll earn Master's Club status this year by the first quarter. And, believe it or not, neither one of my next 2 closings is a short sale. But I've closed 8 already and could very well do over 40 short sales this year.
I fully expect to double (again) my production in 2010. I've been doing that for the past few years. My managing broker said I am the #2 short sale agent at Lyon Real Estate. I didn't ask her who the number one agent is but it's probably an agent who employs a team and gets MLS credit for somebody else's sales, not an individual agent. But I don't need to be number one. Heck, I don't even need to be number 32 or number 1002. I do wish that when I had accepted the award last month for Most Improved Overall #1 in Closed Units and unexpectedly found myself in front of the microphone at Lyon's Awards Ceremony, that I had given credit to my short sale success, instead of wondering what in the world was I doing standing up on the podium in front of all those agents.
So, I'll say it now. Short sales are my secret. Lots of agents won't touch a short sale with a 10-foot pole. They say they don't close, yet I'm proof that they do. About 50% of my sales production last year was short sales. I've been selling short sales in Sacramento for 4 years straight. I keep my finger on the pulse of our market, or at least I like to delude myself that I do. When I saw price declines happen at the end of 2005, I figured out that lots of people would be under water in 2006, and I was right. So I focused on short sales, eventually wrote my book about short sales and worked hard to become a specialist in that market.
I make an ideal Sacramento short sale agent because I have a background in title and escrow dating back to the 1970s; and I believe I am compassionate, detail oriented and negotiate well. Over the past 35 or so years in real estate, I've made my share of mistakes so I don't have to make them now. I also don't give up on my sellers. Even when a bank demands a seller contribution and it looks like the whole deal is about to blow up, I generally find a way to piece that short sale back together.
These are generally not the qualities one finds in an REO agent. Many REO agents don't return calls. They handle astronomical volume. List it, sell it "as is," close it. I don't see how they have time to sit on hold waiting for short sale negotiators at the bank to pick up, sell a home 4 times when buyers walk away or solve the increasingly difficult demands made by second short sale banks. But REO agents are jumping into short sales because the foreclosure market is dwindling. I hear them say that selling a short sale is no different than a bank-owned home, but I suspect they are deluding themselves.
REO agents are not short sale specialists. It takes an entirely different type of personality to handle a short sale. I see that many banks are designating former REO agents to handle the loan modification rejections that turn into short sales when the new HAFA program starts in April. I predict nothing but trouble ahead for those guys and that program. I wish them all my best, though.
Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying columnist for The New York Times-owned About.com, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout Sacramento. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you. DRE License # 00697006.
The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available through bookstores everywhere and at Amazon.com.
Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.
The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate.