Making calls you don’t want to make: Calling your seller because of a Notice of Default list

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Respect Realty LLC 200311024

About a year ago, I had listed a home for sale in Beaverton, Oregon and thought it was going to be an easy sell. In the taking of the listing I had asked how much they owed, what their interest rate was and when they bought the home. (You know all the traditional questions)

Short sales in Oregon (Behind on your payment)

But, it seems the one question I forgot to ask was… Are you current on your payments? This one was a very important question because it seems they were not. I do have to admit that this was a mistake on my part because when I heard how much they owed and how much equity they had, I thought it was going to be an easy sell even if they were behind on payments. (BOY WAS I WRONG)

Two weeks later I received my Beaverton area real estate Notice of Default list from my local title company just like I do every Friday. That is when I noticed the address on the list as one of my listings. I immediately called the seller and asked them how they were doing and then asked them if they were presently making their payments on time.

Their answer actually rocked my world a little! They said “NO, we have equity and we need the money for a down payment on something else in another state that we are buying” I then said “That is great there is one little problem with your theory and I’m hoping we aren’t too late!”

The problem was that what they thought they would get by not paying payments was more money in their pocket at close, but the exact opposite was true, they were actually going to get less because of interest and penalties from their bank. Then to top it off, their credit was going to be affected enough that they may not be able to even get the home in this other state.

Don't lose your savings when selling your home

Lucky for them, they were actually already buying this on contract, so there was no bank on the other end to deny them the loan at the last minute, but the catching up on the payments almost still cost them the new home because they ate up their savings to do it. We did close about 2 months later after getting a great offer and they ended up selling their RV to make up the difference they lost in penalties to pay the down payment on their new home.

So, if you are thinking of selling your home in the Beaverton area, please consult your real estate agent, lawyer and CPA before making any decisions on making or not making payments, what you think you are doing may not get the desired result and could cost you thousands in the end.

Todd Clark and the Friendly Home Team
Capstone Real Estate
Phone: (503)524-9494
Fax: (503)622-8739

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Todd Clark is a licensed Realtor who specializing in Washington County, Oregon and also works both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties including the cities of Aloha, Beaverton, Canby, Clackamas, Gladstone, Gresham, Happy Valley, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Sherwood and Tigard.
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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Tammie White, Broker 09/13/2010 05:51 PM
  2. Tammie White, Broker 09/13/2010 05:51 PM
Home Selling
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Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Todd -- It's like a John Grisham novel that slowly takes curve after curve, who would have thought?

Sep 13, 2010 04:17 PM #27
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Todd - This is absolute perfect timing. This is not something I normally do but I am going to team up with an agent and door knock some of the client TIPS I will be getting on some of these distressed owners. It won't be fun but if not me, someone else. I want to be able to help people before the desperation. You have some wonderful tips in this post.

Thanks for the timing.

Sep 13, 2010 04:17 PM #28
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

An excellent post.  I think it is difficult for sellers to access the correct information... This is a reminder for all of us to remember to ask ALL of the questions.  I also do so when I am representing a Buyer and we add something in the addendum where the Seller warrants they are not behind, have not gotten a notice of default and will inform the buyer if anything changes.

Sep 13, 2010 04:57 PM #29
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

This is a little scary.  It is so important for sellers to tell their real estate agent everything no matter how embarrassing.

Sep 13, 2010 05:24 PM #30
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate


Why don't they just volunteer that they haven't made their payments?  I'm going to have to remember to ask the question and not assume that they are current going forward.

Sep 13, 2010 05:25 PM #31
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Good post Todd,

Oh - I guess I am not the only one to notice!!


Sep 13, 2010 05:44 PM #32
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Todd!
Congrats on the feature!  I guess we don't realize how naive some of our clients are...not a day goes by that there isn't a new tact to get what they want!

Sep 13, 2010 06:41 PM #33
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond least they were honest when you asked them...i had a client who didn't tell me they were behind & that's when you realize there's alot of work to be done...good feature post..

Sep 14, 2010 12:22 AM #34
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ

Todd - Amazing what folks will do based on no or poor advice!

Sep 14, 2010 12:33 AM #35
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Yikes that is not the kind of lesson you want to learn when buying and selling Real Estate!

Sep 14, 2010 01:19 AM #36
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

We now have that question written in our local forms?

Then we know...good job getting this closed...too bad they didn't contact your right away.

Sep 14, 2010 01:20 AM #37
Keith Sellers
Sellers Real Estate - Kalamazoo, MI
Greater Kalamazoo and Lakeshore

Good thing that had a quick-draw agent in tow!  Good thinkin' on your feet, and even though they lost a bit, I hope they were happy that you were doing your job in finding them out and setting them straight!

Sep 14, 2010 02:03 AM #38
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

You are right Todd this is a hard call to make and a tough question to ask, but it was a good thing that you swallowed hard and did it anyway. Glad things turned out ok.

Sep 14, 2010 02:34 AM #39
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA


Thanks for the reminder Todd....this is an all important question we do need to be asking....

Sep 14, 2010 03:08 AM #40
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

Have to add that to my list of questions to ask all sellers

Sep 14, 2010 03:38 AM #41
Virginia OnullConnor
Realtor®, Photographer, Artist - Temecula, CA
Realtor - Temecula, Anza, SoCal

Amazing. It astounds me - the level of ignorance so many people have, yet they may still make major financial decisions and commitments like buying property, and as someone pointed out earlier, voting. Scary. In the dog show world my best friend and I have a code word for them. TSTL. (Too Stupid To Live) If they had to truly fend for themselves in the wild, they'd be lunch for the first predator to walk by them. Sad and scary.

Sep 14, 2010 04:57 AM #42
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales


Oh by the way your signature ROCKS!

Sep 14, 2010 04:59 AM #43
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Wow - talk about getting a big surprise! Sometimes you wonder if people take the time to think things through before acting.

Sep 14, 2010 06:27 AM #44
Keisha Hosea-
KASI Homes - Chino Hills, CA
Real Estate Solutions For Real People

Great advice, Todd. So many sellers are misinformed but we have to know the full story.

Sep 15, 2010 08:07 AM #45
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Todd, sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get the information needed from sellers.

Sep 16, 2010 01:57 AM #46
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