"I tell my buyers that I don't show Short Sales"

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Centre

This is the comment I heard yesterday while I was walk through the common area in my office by another agent.   This comment caused me to pause and head towards the file drawer to pretend I had an addendum that I needed to find at that exact moment.    But in reality I wanted to eavesdrop of the conversation.    The agent continued by saying that he tells his buyers up front that he does not show short sales and if they are interested in seeing short sales he will refer them to another agent.     His reasoning was he had a lot of short sales contracts that never went to settlement and he felt it was a waste of his time and caused the buyers to become discouraged with the process of buying and often they stopped looking all together.  


Of course short sales are difficult and often times never go to settlement.   However, I disagree with his line of thinking for two reasons.   One, I believe this agent is giving up a lot of business.    However, this is his personal decision and trust me I plan to approach him to offer to take on his short sale clients if he wants to refer them to me.   When I work with buyers who express interest in short sales I spend a lot of time preparing them and educating them on the reality of the situation.    My buyers who do move forward with short sales are reminded by me before and during the process of the reality of the situation.     However, I do tell them that some short sales are successful and often times you can get a great price on a home if you are willing to deal with all the crap that goes along with short sales.    


The second reason that this agents comments upset me is even more important.    Whenever a home is not sold as a short sale and heads towards foreclosure  the real estate market recovery is delayed.   I believe it is every Realtors duty to try to get as many short sales to the settlement table.  This is one way we as Realtors can positively impact the real estate market.    The sellers of a short sale believe in home ownership.   They want to own property - this was demonstrated by their initial decision to purchase their property.   If they did not have a hardship they would not be headed towards foreclosure or trying to sell their home as a short sale.    These sellers are potential buyers in the future.   However, the length of that future is determined by whether they are successful in their short sale or not.    If these sellers have a foreclosure on their credit it will take a minimum of seven years before they can consider purchasing another property.   If they have a short sale the wait time is typically two years.     


So I ask you and this Realtor in my office - would you rather wait seven years for all of these short sale sellers to become buyers again or would you prefer it to happen in two years!   Personally I will take the two year time frame.    I believe it is each and every agents responsibility to try to get as many short sale properties to the settlement table.    What are your thoughts?

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Comments (7)

Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I'm glad there are agents who have decided to pass on the difficult transactions.  It means more business for the agents who understand the market and dig in. 

Jan 11, 2011 12:08 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Short sales are a challenge. Showing short sales to legitimate short sale buyers is a major part of the market today...unless the agent has so many other buyers, that is.

Jan 11, 2011 12:27 AM
Gary Pike
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Powder Springs, GA

It is best to educate the buyer about short sales and if they should consider them.  If short sales fit the clients time frame I have a duty to show them those houses. 

Just closed a short sale in December were the problem was my Buyer's Lender, not the seller's.  The selling side went smooth as cake since we adjusted time frames giving the lenders time to react.  The Listing Broker knew what he was doing also so it ended up closing the day before it would have hit the court house steps.

Jan 11, 2011 12:28 AM
Laura Strunk
Keller Williams Realty Centre - Ellicott City, MD
Howard County Maryland Realtor

I agree that if the agent isn't qualified to deal with short sales then they should not . . . however, this is not the case with this agent.   He has the knowledge and experience but has just decided not to show them.  I know it is his personal decision to pass on that business.    It is a decision I would never make because of the responsibilty I feel toward the real estate market in general. 

Jan 11, 2011 12:32 AM
Richard Strahm
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA
Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate

I feel like it's ALL I'm showing right now!  But honestly, I pick and choose.  If I have a buyer that has a house that just sent under contract and settles in 30 days -- and he's just starting to look for a replacement home . . . I'd tell him why short sales might not be right for him (unless he wants to live in a rental for a while).  But for many first time buyers, short sales can be great deals!

Jan 11, 2011 12:34 AM
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

Unfortunately that is the reality.. .some agents will never understand short sales and their ignorance is being passed onto their clients.

Jan 11, 2011 12:51 AM
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Laura,

I understand that agent's frustration, but for the right buyer willing to take on the risk, a short sale can be a good option.  Our approach is more akin to yours, full disclosure before and during the process.  It has to be a buyer who is willing to wait.


Jan 13, 2011 12:31 AM