Short Sales Are Not the Ugly Poster Child of Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

sacramento short saleI'm tired of short sales being regarded as the ugly poster child of real estate by ignorant people. As a Sacramento short sale agent, I know how exactly Rodney Dangerfield feels. It's one of the reasons I bought that Bash 'Em in the Head t-shirt the day Myrl Jeffcoat and I went to Old Sacramento for Gold Rush Days. Because it expresses my sentiment in words and in a manner I would never display.

We all have to get our amusement somewhere to regain our sanity. My sense of humor is perhaps a bit more twisted than most.

I've got turkey agents asking me if they can offer 30 cents on the dollar. Other turkey agents acting as though I should be grateful that their buyer even wants to shoot an offer in my direction, although that buyer has little intention of committing to the transaction. The buyer won't put an earnest money deposit into escrow nor will the buyer promise not to write offers on any other homes. Well, I've got news for ya, buddy. You're not working with a buyer. You're messing with a player. And the odds aren't very high that you'll close on anything.

Yeah, you heard me. I like the odds in my favor. In my seller's favor. I like to work with a buyer who will close escrow. What listing agent doesn't? Oh. Could it be the short sale agents who are not closing escrow? There are plenty of those turkeys to go around.

But what really floors me is when we're close to closing and the buyer whines about the keys. Or the buyer insists on bringing over a contractor so the buyer can get "an early start remodeling the kitchen." The home doesn't belong to the buyer until escrow actually closes. Have a little respect. Just because the seller moved out doesn't mean the home has been abandoned. Just because it's a short sale doesn't mean that nobody cares. It's still the seller's home until the day we get confirmation of recordation. Cowabunga.

Now, I'm gonna go beat up on a loaf of Wonder Bread as yet another of my short sales close. Take that you bread crumbs. Yup, I'm stuffing the turkey this year. It sure beats being a turkey, let me tell ya.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends on Active Rain.

Photo: Big Stock Photo

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

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 RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Denyse Naylor 11/24/2010 07:10 AM
  2. Denyse Naylor 11/24/2010 07:10 AM
  3. Jon Quist 11/29/2010 01:47 PM
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John MacLeod
Partners Real Estate Professionals - Brighton, MI

I'm rather new to AR, but man I love it. You get more out of one post and comments than an 8 hour seminar. You guys are amazing.

Nov 25, 2010 02:23 AM #36
Patrick Schutte
Flex Realty - Prescott, AZ

k, thanks for the perspective...I have successful listed and bought short sales for clients, but the success rate for buyers has been abysmal...there are only about 2 agents in our marketplace that I can rely on for short sale negotiations with the banks (like you do)...

Listings short sales like most agents do is a breach of the code of ethics in many areas:

Standard of Practice 1-3

 REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.

Standard of Practice 1-7


When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS® shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller/landlord has waived this obligation in writing. REALTORS® shall not be obligated to continue to market the property after an offer has been accepted by the seller/landlord. REALTORS® shall recommend that sellers/landlords obtain the advice of legal counsel prior to acceptance of a subsequent offer except where the acceptance is contingent on the termination of the pre-existing purchase contract or lease. (Amended 1/93)

Standard of Practice 3-6

REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation. (Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04)


Article 11

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth. (Amended 1/10)



Nov 25, 2010 02:25 AM #37
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Elizabeth,  I actually think the shorts are getting a little better press than 6 months ago.  More agents have fumbled their way through a short ( and are therefore now experts ! ) and found some actually do close.  Well done !litchi

Nov 25, 2010 03:44 AM #38
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Elizabeth, I don't envy you with all of those short sale listings you have.  Dealing with mostly buyers, we encounter a lot of them though and a lot of "turkey agents".  I can't tell you how much I appreciate the agents like you who obviously know what they are doing and how to make it happen!   Happy Turkey Day!!!

Nov 25, 2010 05:01 AM #39
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

All I know Elizabeth, is Sacramento is VERY fortunate to have you in our area.  You are likely one of the more knowledgeable Short-Sale agents I know.  You have the fortitude and emotional constitution to handle them with skill and care.  That's a great combination, and we should all be THANKFUL for that! 

Nov 25, 2010 05:56 AM #40
Brien Berard
Remax Professionals Laurel MD - Laurel, MD
Maryland Real Estate Agents - Laurel Real Estate

Sorry, I disagree, Short sales are awful.  I try never to show them.  Just the other day I was chatting with a listing agent who has been waiting ten months for the bank to respond.  I have had several encouters with short sales and none of the them have been good.   That includes two that went to closing.   If things are changing out there, thats great.  I will keep my ear to the road.

Nov 25, 2010 06:10 AM #41
Svetlana Stolyarova
Local-n-Global Realty, Cleveland and International Real Estate Solution - Mayfield Heights, OH
Local-n-Global Realty, Broker 216-548-4663

Elizabeth - Happy Thanksgiving Day and thanks a lot for your post. I think, more buyer's agents should get a better training in regards of dealing with the short sales. It's still a gray area for many agents, and "turkey" agents just misguide their clients.

Nov 25, 2010 07:10 AM #42
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

This was a fun post. I'm in the middle of a fun one right now where the banks are really cooperating and now the seller doesn't want to move. I am actually thankful for short sales because I have learned more about real estate then I every though possible as a result of working them these past years.

Nov 25, 2010 07:16 AM #43
Sam Fischer
Coeur d'Alene, ID

You go girl! Love the verbiage, and the attitude.

Nov 25, 2010 07:24 AM #44
Paddy Deighan JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

Loved your blog....I  represent a lot of cash buyers for short sales and I point out that the reason there is a low earnest money deposit is because it has taken up to nine months to get a short sale approved; there is no guarantee that it will be accepted; what is wrong with spreading earnest money deposits around on several offers since it takes so long to get approval and there is no guarantee??


I have had situations where I asked for permission to get into the property early - and yes, my client does not own the property yet, but they are improving it at the buyer's time and expense. If the buyer fails to close escrow, your client has a better property!!

Nov 25, 2010 09:34 AM #45
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Ya gotta always look for that silver lining! Love your attitude, Elizabeth. Happy Thanksgiving,

Nov 25, 2010 09:39 AM #46
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Featured in the group Bartender, Make it a Double.

Nov 25, 2010 11:26 AM #47
Eugene Lew
RE/MAX equity group - Happy Valley, OR

Short sales are just like agents, buyers, and sellers. There are some good, and some bad. A good short sale is one with good progress, adequate communication, and has a chance of closing. You cannot blame a buyer for keeping their options open when the bank takes 3 weeks to ask for a piece of information, then when you give it to them, they come back 3 weeks later to ask for another piece!

How long is a buyer expected to wait, when the banks take  a month to assign a negotiator? That is why short sales are so viewed as a no harm, no foul to the buyer and in many cases not taken seriously. I've seen homes on the market, by a "short sale expert", that said in the listing "approved at X price". When I called the agent, they said they had an offer for that price 2 months ago. Huh? What does "approved at X price mean?". The games some banks play, make buyers wary of waiting for short sale. There is no reason at all, other than incompetence and bureaucracy, for a short sale to take 6 or 9 months to get approved.

Nov 25, 2010 11:56 AM #48
MJ Anton
Ormond Beach, FL

Short Sales are a good option for a homeowner that wants to "start over" & leave their house...for those that want to stay then Principal Reduction is an excellent option, at least for those that are not in default

Peace in the Neighborhood is possible with Mortgage Note Reduction

Nov 25, 2010 12:41 PM #49
Nick Tukmanian
RealWorks Residential - Colts Neck, NJ

Great post, very informative. Short sales do have a bad rep, and unfortunately, agents are partially to blame for this. We shouldn't encourage it.

Nov 25, 2010 01:10 PM #51
REALTOR - Buy or Sell in Any Season!

I find short sales are mostly about managing expectations - on both sides of the transaction.  I do think Buyers should get a better deal on a short sale for being willing to endure the process - which is not for everyone.  Buyer agents need to understand that it DOES matter to the seller what offer they accept -- they are being 1099'd or asked to sign a promissory note for the shortfall, or if they own other property, it can be attached - -a short sale doesn't give the seller a free pass.  I've heard that so many times when an agent submits an offer - - "it's a low offer, but it's up to the bank to decide."  Guess what, the bank never sees it if the seller rejects it!

Nov 25, 2010 11:35 PM #53
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Love your post. .

Short Sales have become the low end abused stepchild of all real estate transactions. 

Nov 26, 2010 01:00 AM #54
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Short sales are here to stay, whether we like them or not.  It's better to make the best of a bad situation which could be worse -- FORECLOSURE.

Nov 28, 2010 02:13 PM #55
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

I like your anology to the recent holiday. These transactions are hard, but nothing compared to what the families are going through.

Nov 29, 2010 03:15 PM #56
Dennis & Terri Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se

Agents need to understand a few things about short sales.

  1. The banks will only take a realistic price.
  2. This will take 2-4 monts to close.
  3. A listing agent with experience can make the process smooth.
Nov 30, 2010 10:48 AM #57
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