Another Snake Oil Ploy in the Short Sale World?

Real Estate Agent with ExecuHome Realty 636336 (since 1991)

What will these short sale artists try next? Will they ever pause to ask "How does my action affect my industry?" Or, "Geez, what will the innocent buyers think?" I doubt it.

I have an anxious First Time HomeBuyer family of 4 whose apartment lease expires in 60-days. They are buying in the lower end of our metro price range: $180,000-$200,000 3BR/2BA townhouses. Reasonable. We've been into a ton of apparently abandoned properties, AKA foreclosures that the bank hasn't even bothered to run a vacuum before putting on the market.

They've written a couple of contracts, but have lost to multiple offer situations. That's good/bad: Good because they know they are picking excellent opportunities; Bad because they haven't won although they've bid the maximum they can muster. Still plugging away every day using every online tool available, including several of mine.

Today, they sense great opportunity, again: "Hey, Curt, we found a GREAT property, please check it out. We'll tour it immediately." Upon MLS lookup, I agree: Fantastic house for the money. A little out-of-town, but a great buy. Aha, maybe too good of a deal, heh? Y'all know the saying...

Sure enough, a "potential short sale", but "Pre-Listing Appraisal $355,000 & Home Inspection Report Available For Review." WOW!!!!

Snake Oil Real Estate Salespeople


I should be comforted by the phrase: "Will Be Facilitated By Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE). You Can Have Confidence That You Have Selected A Home Marketed By A Broker With Previous Experience & Expertise In The Short Sale Process." (Always be suspect of people who capitalize every word!!!)




OK, quick check of MLS changes. WOW again. Follow this sequence:

  • 5Aug-$345,000
  • 19Aug-$325k (OK, need to be aggressive)
  • 26Aug-$305k (now I'm suspicious)
  • 30Aug-285k
  • 31Aug-$265k
  • 1Sep-245k
  • 2Sep-225
  • and 3Sep(today) at $205,000 (my client max price, period).

Obviously, the bank will NEVER approve a short sale below $300k, yet the wonderful CDPE is out there advertising it for $205k. S/he can say "Hey, look at all the showings/offers/whatever." The rest of the world? Too bad.

NOT NICE, as I imagine the tear trickling out of my buyers eye....but instead, my buyer reacts to the bad news with a cheery "that's ok... That's what we have you for."

I want to strangle someone. You call this Ethical? You call yourself a REALTOR?


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Eddie Brown
Eddie Brown ~ FM Realty a Long & Foster Company/ Raleigh NC - Raleigh, NC


It is criminal what some of the banks are doing to homes owners and builders in our area. Appraisals are all over the map...your buyers are spot on with one thing...THAT'S WHY THEY HAVE YOU!


Sep 03, 2010 03:52 AM #1
Larry Bergstrom
Crescent Realty, Inc. Spanaway, WA. - Spanaway, WA

Curt, I often wonder who we're really "comforting" in a short sale. The seller gets zero money, they're credit is already ruined, the bank takes a hit, and the agent makes a commission.


Sep 03, 2010 03:52 AM #2
Katherine Fornale

I agree with you Curt.  Short sales should be priced correctly, the bank will never approve a contract with these 'come-on' prices.  The important thing is to be able to convince our clients that we know what we are talking about when we advise them.

Sometimes I think some agents price it low so they can get an offer to start a dialog with the bank to feel them out.  Then when the bank counters, they put in the listing that the bank approved a certain price ... which is also untrue because every offer is looked at separately.

Sep 03, 2010 03:54 AM #3
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker -

I agree this is snake oil at it's finest.  Through my BPOs I attach a listing history so the bank can see that reasonable time was not given.  Usually these homes are "no show tenant occupied" and 8 times out of 10 the listing agent has taken both sides.  It's a pity really.

Sep 06, 2010 06:11 AM #4
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

With so many short sales on the market, shouldn't there be a better way to identify them for the potential buyer? 

Sep 07, 2010 07:43 AM #5
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

It continues to amaze me what goes on in the world of banking!

Snake Oil.. sounds like a good name for it.

Sep 08, 2010 02:23 PM #6
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT

My short sale experience, in the last few months, has been terrible.  Even with a good agent, the bank's are not cooperating.  You would think that they would be happy to sell these properties and get them off of their books!

Sep 09, 2010 10:42 AM #7
Jason M. Keith
WR Starkey Mortgage - Parker, CO
Lending in 5280

Great post Curt, I think the last line sums it up for you nicely "thats what we have you for.."  Those agents need to see that when they play those games they don't even help themselves.  Showing the bank multiple low offers won't help.  The bank will still do it's own appraisal or BPO and make the decision from there.  IF they find the agent is listing below market in many cases the bank will just wait for the forclosure, pull the listing from that agent and use one of their own "approved REO" agents.

Sep 13, 2010 05:08 AM #8
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Curt Hess

Luxury Home Consultant, Team Leader & CEO
How Much is My Home Worth?
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