Distressed Homeowners Ask for my Help- A Realtor's 1st Short Sale Appt.

Real Estate Agent with Teles Properties

Having been in the real estate business since 1999, I have come across almost every type of situation imaginable:  Someone died in the house, divorced spouses fighting with each other, probate courts, flooded homes, and ghosts.  I thought I had seen and experienced everything.  Until today.

I met with a couple who had called my office a few weeks ago looking for information about selling their home.  Based on the initial conversation, I knew they were in financial trouble.  They bought their home in 2006.   The couple, along with their 2 children,  had intended to live their "American Dream".  Then came the recession.


I listened intently as they explained their story and what led them to their current predicament.  The husband, a general contractor, has seen his business decrease over 60% due to the current recession.  The wife was laid off last year from a very high paying, lucrative position.  They have not paid their mortage payments in over 6 months, their property taxes are late, and are having troubles paying their other bills.  A Notice of Default has now been filed against their home and are now facing foreclosure.

I could see she was starting to cry.   The husband tries to comfort his wife.  I could see that both of them are scared and do not know what to do.

In my 11+ years in the business, this was probably the most heart-breaking appointment I ever went to. For last few years, we have all heard in the news about the collapse of the financial & housing markets and the effects that it has had on the American public.   Now I am seeing  the face of the American public for the first time.

I was trying hard to keep my emotions in check and stay in control but the next question that was asked of me nearly floored me:    "Can You Help Us?".   Quietly in my mind, I think to myself:  "No one has never asked me for my help as a Realtor".  I now have a responsibility to these  people, and I say to them, "Yes I Can".

I explain to them what options are available to them and determine that a short sale would be the best course of action for them.  We sign the necessary papers and now their home will go on the market for sale.  I gather up my papers and I say goodbye to the couple and their kids.

I get into my car to drive back to Palm Springs and I start to cry.  I don't know if was their situation or that they asked for my help that made me cry.  Either way, it touched my heart.

Past Due photo courtesy of PhotoBucket

Posted by

About the Author

Harold Watts of Scott Lyle Realtors has been a REALTOR in Palm Springs since 1999. Focusing on the 2nd & Vacation home market, Harold has been helping Buyers and Sellers achieve their real estate goals. If you want to know what is happening with the Palm Springs Real Estate market, give Harold Watts a call at 760-218-8209 or email him at Harold@HaroldWatts.net

Website:  www.PalmSpringsCityLimits.com

Comments (3)

Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
Serving the metro since 2003

Harold: Hopefully you can help them. I'm sure you've done this, but you want to make sure you get all the short sale docs from them before you get an offer.

Jun 05, 2010 03:50 PM
Harold Watts
Teles Properties - Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs Real Estate Blog


Even though this is my first short sale listing, my office has successfully completed over 50 short sale listings in the last 2 years.  We have a specific checklist of all the documents that are required from the homeowner: 2 years of tax returns, bank statements, paycheck stubs, hardship letter, release of authorization, etc.

I needed to pursue this listing in order to get over my fear of short sales.  I know the mechanics of how the short sale process works, but I did not know to respond to the emotions of the situation. 

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my article.


Jun 06, 2010 04:26 AM
Kent Dills
Broker, Dills Real Estate - Bellingham, WA
Real Estate 817-495-8028, Bellingham, Washington


Had to check your blog out on AR after our conversation today. 

Great blog post on the emotions evoked in working short sales.  It's partly why I LOVE DOING SHORT SALES.

I've closed 25 shorts in the past 18 months so if you come across anything that seems "funky" during this process, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!  I'd be more than happy to be a sounding board or offer advice.

FYI: I'll get you that valuation we spoke about via alternate means.


Aug 09, 2010 12:29 PM