Should Sacramento REO Agents Convert to Short Sales?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

Lyon Real Estate sponsored a luncheon yesterday for its top producers from our office in Midtown. This is an annual event that I've missed the last 4 or 5 years because of schedule conflicts, but yesterday, come hell or high water, I planned to attend. Turns out it was high water. The rain and flooding did not let up. Awful weather.

The wind turned my umbrella inside out, twice. That's how bad it was, and I only had to walk a block from my dentist's office on 22nd through the alley to 21st. We had lunch at Kupros Bistro, which is located on 21st Street between Capitol and L Streets on the alley. It's a 100-year fully restored and updated Craftsman -- a beautiful historic structure with stained glass accents, polished wood paneling and beams. It's a joy just to sit inside this building and soak up the vintage architecture.

I ordered a beet salad, made with fresh spring greens, red and yellow beets, and deep-fried goat cheese balls that melted on my tongue. Followed that delight with a beer-cheese macaroni dusted with crispy crumbs browned in the oven. I ordered it simply because I liked the name of the ale-cheese: Arrogant Bastard. But I could eat this for lunch every single day of my life and gain so much weight I couldn't fit through the door, it's that good. Decadent. The pan-fried mahi-mahi was just OK but cooked to perfection.

I sat across the table from an agent who works out of our office but is never there, sort of like me. Well, I do show up for office meetings on Wednesday but I rarely see this guy ever. He was telling me that he handles a lot of bank-owned homes and how the banks are not willing to promote their REO agents as short sale agents. No joke. And thank goodness for that. Being a Sacramento short sale agent is a lot more than knowing how to sell a property or rollover a mold-infested bank-owned piece of crap.

You don't just wake up one day and decide to become a Sacramento short sale agent because you've sold bank-owned homes in the past. Short sales are a specialty. They are complicated. And yes, in some situations, they are almost rocket science. The success of a short sale depends on so many different variables that all need to come together in one place. It's like blowing up a balloon -- if you squeeze one end, the other end gets big. You don't want to pop it. Short sales are delicate transactions.

I had a seller call me last week to say that Bank of America suggested she get in touch with me because I am a certified HAFA specialist.  Luckily, this seller has received preapproval for a HAFA short sale. Another seller called and said Wells Fargo recommended that she call me. Wells Fargo? And I've said so many awful things about Wells Fargo short sales, too. But I don't take any of it back. Wells Fargo needs some help in its short sale department. But all the banks do.

At least Bank of America is smart enough to figure out that it can sell those short sales at higher prices if it streamlines the short sale process to entice a buyer to make an offer. Buyers offer lower prices when they have to wait forever for that short sale approval. They'll pay more if the turnaround time is faster. Plus, B of A wants control over pricing, which is one of the reasons it rolled out its cooperative short sale program and evaluates every seller for HAFA. I love Bank of America short sales. And I recommend Kupros for lunch or dinner, too. Fabulous restaurant.

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



Elizabeth Weintraub reviews




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


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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

I don't like short sales, but I surely do like beet salad!

Mar 25, 2011 05:19 AM #1
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Three years ago I started doing short sales because all I saw was the market going down, down, down and could not advise people to buy.

Now that it's gone down so much in our neck of the woods... all I can say is buy, buy, buy. The cash flow is there with fantastic returns EVEN if values still go down.

So de we continue putting up with some certain banks and their short sale fiascos... or do we move on to more productive income producing endeavors?


Should REO Agents convert to Short Sales? I certainly would not if I was a REO agent...


Mar 25, 2011 05:43 AM #2
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Short sales require more education and experience than an REO sale.  They are also fraught with so many problems.  Our office legal counsel is continually warning us about the pitfalls of short sales and the liability that may be incurred.  I think she would rather we don't do them.  Even with as HAFA certification.  Sounds like you know how to handle short sales very well.  Thanks for the your post.

Mar 25, 2011 05:51 AM #3
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Elizabeth, Glad to hear that the banks are not willing to promote their REO agents as short sale agents. REO agents likely do not understand that they will need to “work” and “fight” the short sale process; take months to get paid for their hard work; have their commission cut; and possibly lose the short sale to foreclosure because the lender will not approve the sale at fair market value … only to list it as an REO for substantially less. True rocket science!

Mar 25, 2011 05:55 AM #4
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

Elizabeth:  This is indeed good news and it makes total sense.  Two different ball parks in the same City but need to stay in their own league.  It takes a lot of skill, knowledge, tenacity, coupled with experience to get these Short Sales done. 

Mar 25, 2011 06:26 AM #5
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Never had beet salad before. I've worked some REOs and whole lot more short sales, and I sure like short sales way better than REOs.

Mar 25, 2011 06:41 AM #6
James Loftis - West Palm Beach, FL

Short sales are the way the appars to be going. Good to get all the knowledge now  for the future.

Mar 25, 2011 07:48 AM #7
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

I wish they would pre-approve, pick an EXPERIENCED SHORT SALE AGENT and run the show like REO with pricing and reductions.  Terms & conditions up front too.  That would sure save many agents, sellers, and buyers some heartache!

ps:  Thanks for pushing your weather to the southeast!

Mar 25, 2011 08:25 AM #8
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Love short sales. REOs not so much. Completely different type of transaction.

Mar 25, 2011 10:36 AM #9
Melanie Ross
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828

My business partner and I handle some of Wells Fargo REOS but most of our business is short sales as I saw that coming like a freight train.  We never pushed to get with all the other REO asset companies as we did not want to be just known as REO agents.  That said, REOS are easier than short sales, hands down. BUT short sales are where it is at and that is where we want to be. And you are right, just because you do reos does not mean you can do short sales. 

Mar 25, 2011 11:38 AM #10
Robert Schmalz
West Los Angeles Real Estate Group - Santa Monica, CA
Cal. Lic Broker

I read on one of the posts yesterday in the rain, that Bank of America was going to start pre-qualifying short sales by getting the seller financially approved and the price approved before you even put the house on the market. This way you can put it on the market as an approved short sale price. Have you heard anything about this.

Mar 25, 2011 12:44 PM #11
Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022

It would be nice if all of the bank would pre-approve the short sale first before marketing the property...they'll figure it out 5 years from now...

Mar 25, 2011 01:32 PM #12
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey Evelyn: There are a lot of legal problems associated with short sales. I must sound like a broken record to my clients sometimes when I tell them they need legal advice.

Melissa: You would like a beet salad if you like beets. Heck, even if you don't like beets, you'd probably like it.

Hey Renee: There are approved short sales. Bank of America has a program it rolled out last year called the Cooperative Short Sale Program. Preapproved. Also, all the HAFA short sales are preapproved. Sorry the rain caught up with ya.

Robert: Yes, it's called the Bank of America Cooperative Short Sale Program.

Preapproved, people, it's the wave of the future. Mark my words.


Mar 25, 2011 02:31 PM #13
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I want ale cheese macaroni. I really want it now. 

And funny how agents want to jump on what's "hot".  If you don't put in the time, you never know what you are landing in.

Mar 25, 2011 03:07 PM #14
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Elizabeth - Short sales are certainly an animal of a different color.

Mar 25, 2011 03:21 PM #15
Linda Humphrey
Humphrey Home Connections Realty, Reno, Nevada - Reno, NV
CRS, Broker/Owner HHC Realty

Elizabeth - Great post and I totally agree with you! Carrying an inventory of >100 properties isn't enough? Give me a break, most of these REO agents barely have time to keep up with their current business, now they want to be short sale specialists? Hahahahaha!  I am not an REO agent, but I AM a strong believer in niches, and I made a conscious decision a while back not to list short sales (well, I have one but it's a long story). Mainly because I don't believe I have the personality (patience) for it. We have become de facto buyers' agents in this current market and are happy and busy in that niche for the time being. I feel my training in short sales is best applied to educating buyers on what to expect when buying a short sale property. Give me a true short sale listing SPECIALIST any day (not someone with a bunch of initials, someone with a bunch of experience). Thank heavens for those of you out there that have taken this on with enthusiasm and focus!

Mar 26, 2011 06:30 AM #16
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Beet salad goes with anything is what I am learning here....short sales? sure with lots of butter....

Mar 26, 2011 11:01 AM #17
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

They have a lot to catch up on if that's what they plan to do.  Two completely different animals.

Mar 27, 2011 04:32 AM #18
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