In My Short Sale Business, It's Better to Represent the Seller

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

This week in review has been tit for tat. By that I mean I've received 3 short sale approvals and also lost 3 short sale buyers. Well, the buyers I have no control over. Buyer's agents are supposed to manage their buyers' expectations and explain to them the short sale process. But from what I've seen lately, agents are probably finding it easier to say, "Press hard, third copy is yours," than to educate. Or maybe there's something in the water.

An agent called me this week to say her buyer did not want to extend the short sale addendum. He had waited 60 days and that was long enough. Even though the file was in review at the Mortgage Insurance company, which means MI will respond within 10 days. 10 days to go, and the buyer flipped out.

In the second cancellation, the buyers had received approval and we were set to close. Like any short sale, the buyers are purchasing the home in its "as is" condition. The buyers decided all by themselves that the AC unit wasn't big enough to adequately cool the home, although it's been functioning fine for the existing owners. The buyers wanted to renegotiate the price with the bank. This is not an REO. As a general rule, short sale banks don't negotiate repairs.

In the third, the buyers simply developed cold feet, according to their agent. They went on vacation and talked about buying this particular home. Somewhere, probably between the hotel bill and champagne on ice, the buyers decided they were living outside of their means and canceled. Better now than later, the agent said. Not really. Later I'd at least have had hammered out the seller's contribution.

The thing is I will go on to sell each of these short sales once again to another buyer. I'm like 007, never say never. The likelihood is my sellers will close escrow eventually. Not every buyer is a flake. But the buyer's agents who represent these buyers are starting over with them. These agents will probably mirror the same steps and end up with the same result. Buyers who can't or won't perform. Isn't that the definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Although I did close a short sale this week in which I represented both the seller and the buyer. I don't really like dual agency. It's difficult to be fair to all parties under dual agency. I like crisp, clean lines drawn in my transactions. But I had sold this particular short sale home 3 times, to 3 different buyers who were each represented by their own agent. All 3 of them blew up. Over squirrelly reasons which,  if I told you, you would not believe. So, to heck with the indecisive and confused; I sold it myself. As a Sacramento short sale agent, sometimes the only agent I can rely on, besides Linda and Barbara, is myself.

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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 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jon Quist 04/24/2011 09:16 PM
  2. Jim McCormack 04/26/2011 10:39 AM
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Jim McCormack
Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343) - Murfreesboro, TN
Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure
Good work. Unfortunately, I have found that many short sale buyer agents in Nashville cannot even write a correct offer (i.e. they don't even include the standard Short Sale Addendum). That is why I have detailed offer instructions.
Apr 26, 2011 04:08 AM #41
Jim McCormack
Nashville Short Sale Specialist - Jim McCormack - Edge Advantage Realty, LLC - 615-784-EDGE (3343) - Murfreesboro, TN
Nashville Short Sale REALTOR - Stop Foreclosure
I make the buyers of my Nashville shortbsales do inspections prior to submitting to the bank for short sale approval. This one strategy will drastically reduce your fall through rate. After all, why would any buyer wait 2-3 months to get short sale approval on a home they would not buy anyway?
Apr 26, 2011 04:15 AM #42
Thomas OBrien
RE/MAX Platinum Properties - Margate City, NJ
Atlantic County Short Sales Agent, CDPE

Education and constant communication is so important. Thanks for a great post. 

Apr 26, 2011 04:59 AM #43
Jennifer Manchester
Suburban Properties of Charlotte, LLC - Mint Hill, NC
GRI, ePRO, ASP - Broker/Home Stager

Hi Elizabeth:


I agree that the buyer's agent is usually the issue.  I have very slowing crept into the shortsale business and have found that perserverance is key if you are going to survive.  Congratulations on all your successes with your short sale closes, I have a whole new respect for agents that can truly get these to close.

Apr 26, 2011 05:18 AM #44
Ray Waisler
Finance of America - Atlanta, GA
NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA

Elizabeth, there's nothing like taking control of the situation yourself when others are incapable or simply won't do their job.  

Apr 26, 2011 05:20 AM #45
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Elizabeth:  Great post and thanks for writing it.  I use an Addendum that I created, which actually mirrors much of what was said in #3 post.  They have to open escrow and it is hard for 90 days.  By keeping their dollars in place, and the addendum pre-written and posted, it helps to keep their skin in the game.  And yes, I councel buyers before I even send a short sale listing to them to review.  They have to really want this house.  I'm not going out to write multiple offers on multiple homes and see which one sticks.  That is a waste of everyone's time.  I feel for listing agents who receive offers from agents like that.  Best of luck to you!

Apr 26, 2011 05:48 AM #46
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Andrew #37: Your #3 is unenforceable and can't be inserted into contracts in California because buyers can't agree to forfeit a deposit like that. Believe me, we've tried.

Also, can't enforce #1 because by California standard CAR contract default buyers have 17 days to do inspections. I've tried making the inspection period commence upon seller acceptance but buyers don't want to pay for a home inspection nor appraisal until approval is received, and I can't fault them for that.

Trust me, I do everything but nail the buyers to the front door. And they still wiggle out. I could make them sit in escrow until the end of the short sale addendum period, but why? The end result would be the same. If they want to cancel, it's best to just get rid of them.

Apr 26, 2011 09:06 AM #47
Marsha Cash
RE/MAX Advantage - Stockbridge, GA

Everything has two sides.  I haven't done that many short sales but on a recent one (Feb), the listing agent told me in response to my question if they knew how long it might take, I was told two weeks.  We are moving forward and will probably close in May.  It's my understanding that depending on who has the loan, the time can vary greatly depending upon if they allow you to start the process prior to receiving an offer.  Everyone needs to be realistic and honest about the transaction.

Apr 26, 2011 09:11 AM #48
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

It is definitely much better for everyone involved if both buyer and sellers' agents understand the ins and outs of short sales.  I also very much dislike dual agency, however with short sales I don't.  It's easier to have control of both parties, and though confidentiality is still important, the reality is that both buyer and seller are typically working toward the same goal, getting the banks approval, not fighting against one another.

Apr 26, 2011 10:03 AM #49
Ann Wilkins
Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

I have represented buyers in several short sale transactions and have waited up to seven months to close.  The buyers have been thrilled with their homes.  Since we often have multiple offers on REO's I've found that the short sales are less competitive and my buyers have a chance of getting something nice.  I work closely with the listing agent and provide any help that I can.  Now - my gripe about short sale listing agents - if you are in contract and have a good back-up offer, can you please put it pending?  Nothing is more frustrating than showing an 'active listing" only to find out it is due to close in a week. 

Apr 26, 2011 10:28 AM #50
Kent Dills
Broker, Dills Real Estate - Bellingham, WA
Real Estate 817-495-8028, Bellingham, Washington

Elizabeth, I fee your pain.  I've learned to always quiz the buyer's agents after they get done quizing me with their little "10 Questions to Ask the Short Sale Listing Agent" that most buyer's agents get from their broker/office.  It's a good list and I don't blame them for doing their due diligence on me; but, I also use it as an opportunity to do my due diligence on them too!  Not to boast, but by doing a good job of qualifying my buyer's reps I've been able to retain a very high # of them and their clients!  

Apr 26, 2011 10:30 AM #51
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

I do not know who is worst the Buyer or the Buyers agent! The best was a request from the Buyers agent to talk to the bank direct.

Apr 26, 2011 03:22 PM #52
Alicia Stukes
Exit 1 Stop Realty - Bowie, MD
GRI, CDPE, Notary


Good post however I have to share my recent experience with a short sale that was my personal purchase with the seller's agent who assurred me that because she was working closely with the negotiator and because the BPO had already been completed that she would get the transaction closed within eight weeks.  I am very familiar with the short sale process and I specifically asked the seller's agent if she was sure about the bank being able to get this transaction completed within eight weeks and she was very adament about her "talents".  Needless to say the closing date (eight weeks for the initial contract being submitted) is April 29th (yes this Friday) and the transaction will not close on that day.  The bank still has not forwarded the approval letter and as far as I know the negotiator is still waiting on the payoff.  Needless to say this contract will probably be cancelled because I communicated to the seller's agent at the beginning what my needs were and she assured me that she was able to deliver so I took her at her word. 

Apr 27, 2011 02:23 AM #53
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

The problem with buyers is holding the financing together.  Those short sale negotiations can drag on and then you get approved and then they find another issue with the loan.  The other issue is many of these buyer are waiting and not knowing if they will ever get the home; while they see others coming onto the market that they can get - now!

Apr 27, 2011 05:22 AM #54
Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070
Golden Gate Sotheby's International - Oakland, CA
Opening the Doors to California Homes -East Bay

Have you found being a Certified HAFA specialist has been helpful?

Apr 27, 2011 10:03 AM #55
Robert Courtney
Lihue, HI
Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS

Buyers financing can be stipulated in their offer.  Educating our clients is so important in a short sale.  What we do will have a profound impact on the lives of a client on either side of the transaction.  

Apr 27, 2011 08:27 PM #56
Marcy Moyer
eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales - Mountain View, CA
Probate, Trust, and Investment Specialist


Buyers in my market are sticking with short sales longer because there is so little inventory. When there is not much to buy buyers tend to have more patience.

Apr 29, 2011 06:09 AM #57
Justin Morgan - Justin Morgan Real Estate Team - Saint George, UT
Investor/Agent with

Great post. 

I really like the CDPE scripts and process of working with a buyers agent.  As another tool you might find asking a buyers agent the right questions (even consider earnest money from the buyer) and these tools might be a way to keep them around.

May 02, 2011 08:17 AM #58
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

I am primarily a short sale listing agent, but when I represent buyers I avoid short sales like the plague.  I know it sounds like I'm being a major hypocrite, but that's not the case at all.  My experience is simply that most agents don't know how to do short sales, and so my buyer and I are probably wasting our time because it won't be approved.  If it's an experienced SS agent, like yourself, then I'm OK with it, otherwise...we keep looking.

Nov 11, 2011 10:09 AM #59
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

You are absolutelly right Matt, I track expireds in my area, more than half are/were short sales~ never happened, went probably into foreclosure. Too late to step in....wasted time of all people involved in it.....sad.

Mar 18, 2012 05:49 PM #60
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