Ahem, what would you think if I told you I love short sales?

Real Estate Agent with Crossroads Realtors

Happy Friday and I would like to introduce myself to the Active Rain community. 

I know it sounds a bit crazy but it is the truth. Myself and Advanced Title and Settlements, LLC. started negotiating short sales over three years ago and it is hard not to feel passionate about something that has helped so many families avoid foreclosure over the years. 

There are no indications that this economy is going to drastically improve over night. Unemployment held at 9.1% in August and that does not even count the long term unemployed the under-employed (part-time workers looking for full-time with no luck). I can remember when the indications were that this economy was going to turn around in 2012, but last night I heard a projection of 2015 for recovery.

In the meantime, it doesn't take long to look around and see a friend, co-worker or family member affected by this "soft" economy. So many people have lost their job, lost part of their income or are facing hardship in general. It was just yesterday that a Realtor that visited my office shared with me that they have started a  food bank at their office for those that are not doing so well. 

Short sales have been a light at the end of the tunnel for so many families and it has been a pleasure over the years to work with agents that are helping families in their greatest time of need. Realtors are a priceless resource for families that need to develop a strategy to avoid foreclosure. An Realtor that is educated about the short sale process can help a family navigate through a difficult time and help them to avoid foreclosure often without any upfront costs. 

There are so many families that break down crying at the settlement table and share that they wish that they had known about a short sale process a year before. They are thankful and appreciative of all of the hard work and effort that the Realtor and our team put into obtaining short sale approval and ultimately closing the transaction. Often times, the time frame after a short sale for a homeowner is an opportunity to take a deep breath, make assessments and plan for the future without the overwhelming burden of foreclosure looming.

Last year I felt the need to take that message to the streets, a calling of sorts to help homeowners facing foreclosure. To educate them about the alternatives to foreclosure and more importantly to take control back in their lives by mapping out their future and making decisions about how to move forward. I started a radio show but it was costly and it reached about five people total... Just kidding but not really. The radio show was geared at bringing in local agents to share what they were seeing on the front lines and share their experience to help homeowners make better decisions. 

Realtors are key in that process. At no upfront cost to a homeowner the Realtor help assess the current market value of their property, get their home listed, get a contract and seek short sale approval from the lender. The key here that homeowners don't understand is to get it listed for current market value and not what they owe. From our experience currently the entire process is taking anywhere from two to four months total. Sometimes it is shorter and sometimes it is longer. The benefits are clear of a short sale vs. a foreclosure. The homeowner has a chance to raise their hand and tell the lender that they are in trouble and that they are facing hardship. When the property goes to foreclosure they no longer have the ability to negotiate with their lender and will be responsible for the full deficiency and the attorneys fees associated with the transaction. 

Let's also be honest about short sale approval ratings. Recently I saw an article stating that only 50% of short sales are approved. I would implore anyone that is avoiding short sales transactions to seek out individuals that have consistently displayed an ability to successfully negotiate and obtain approvals from lenders. From my perspective one should expect 90%approval rating and nothing less. Advanced Title and Settlements and their team members have been consistently obtaining short sale approvals and a good deal of the time, if a short sale is not successful it is because the homeowner waited to long to reach out to the Realtor. 

In short, no pun intended, there are too many homeowners in distress and they need Realtors to help them avoid foreclosure. I would hope that by sharing some information about what we are seeing on a day-to-day basis may help to inspire you to get out and find those folks in need and also help increase your business.

Short sales are not without hope - they are a small correction in the marketplace each time one goes to the closing table. The seller gets out of a situation that is hopeless, the buyer is getting the property that they want a valuable price and the community wins by not letting the home fall into foreclosure.

 Lastly - thanks to Markita Aldridge-Woods that was kind enough to share how Active Rain works. It is my goal to post often!

Have a great weekend!







Comments (38)

Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Congratulations on the featured post. Welcome to Active Rain . Good luck.

Sep 30, 2011 11:44 PM
Scott Fogleman
Richmond, VA

Great post and outlook. We all need to come to grips with the reality of short sales. But as an agent they can be so frustrating. We do them also..but would prefer to not have to do them at all.

Oct 01, 2011 12:00 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Welcome Heather, I'll be looking forward to your insights from negotiating with the 'evil empire'.

Oct 01, 2011 12:31 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Good job, Heather, and welcome to Active Rain.  It's always nice to see another Virginian on the site!!

Oct 01, 2011 01:45 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Heather, welcome to ActiveRain and congratulations on the featured post. You have a great success rate for preventing foreclosure. Good job!

Oct 01, 2011 01:57 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Heather. I'm with you. I LOVE short sales too. Some mey think we are warped but really...what's not to love? We get to help folks through a very difficult time in their lives and we get paid to do so.

Oct 01, 2011 02:16 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

I agree that banks are on board, the factors that lead to a  denial of a short sale is the seller waited too long and the bank sets a foreclsoure sale date. The sales price is way below market value and never had a chance or the listing agent is inexperienced and submits an incomplete short sale package. I recently got a short sale approval in 14 days and 21 days from start to close.

Oct 01, 2011 02:42 AM
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX

Welcome to AR Heather. Short sale is not for everyone but some people who does well will excel. Good luck.

Oct 01, 2011 03:28 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I look forward to the day when the word short sale becomes a memory and a ""remember the time"? conversation..until then, yes, it has to get done. By the time all parties get it running effectively and efficiently, it will probably subside...Whatever happened to normal Real Estate...?

Oct 01, 2011 03:41 AM
Amanda Howard
Century 21 Garner Properties - Independence, KY
NorthernKentuckyHomes.com 859-363-9900


Thank you so much! As a newbie agent, I will be following your posts to learn more about short sales. Even though I was told to avoid them as an unexperienced agent, I believe more and more that they can work if you have great people on both sides!

Oct 01, 2011 04:05 AM
Tamara Inzunza
Realty One Group Capital - Alexandria, VA
Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living

Hi Heather!!!  Not only are you in the Rain but you are FEATURED!  Woohoo.  Congratulations.  Hope to see you soon :-)

Oct 01, 2011 06:13 AM
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Short sales are a great way to provide support to folks having trouble making ends meet.

Oct 01, 2011 07:25 AM
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

I would say you need one of those snazzy little jackets where your arms cross over your chest  and you hug yourself! No but really to each their own! Someone has to do them! Have a good weekend!

Oct 01, 2011 08:36 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I love short sales, too. Short sales have exploded my career. I was doing very nicely before short sales, but becoming a short sale master has literally altered my life and those associated with me for the better. I feel good about the service I provide for sellers, and yes, there are days I bitch about it until the cows come home, but I never lose my sense of humor. That's the key to surviving short sales.

Oct 01, 2011 11:54 AM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Heather, welcome and congrats on the feature. Glad you love them because it will be on the horizon for a while.

Oct 01, 2011 03:37 PM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Heather, I like short sales for how they help the market, but I do not like the process. I guess there is not a better way to get things done.

Oct 01, 2011 05:27 PM
Laurie Clark CRB Angel Realty LLC Your Monument Realtor 719-502-6572
CRB-CCSS-ASD-HBS-RSD-Denver Short Sale Agents - Monument, CO
Angel Realty, LLC

Short sales are most definitely a useful tool in helping a distressed seller and they ensure a better market recovery. Your positive attitude regarding short sales is refreshing!

Oct 02, 2011 11:55 AM
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales

I like short sales too. I've taken the classes, actually hours of classes. Got my system, package, and schedule in order. Let's get them moved on.  

Oct 02, 2011 06:53 PM
Heather Mergler

Thank you so much for the warm warm welcome Active Rain! My only is mistake is not having reached out sooner! Thank you for all of the feedback and kind words. I'm really looking forward to getting involved with this community. 

Homeowners need to be educated to help them avoid foreclosure and they should seek all avenues including speaking with their attorney and accountants to consider all repurcussions. Short sales are a good alternative for the right person - but there are still additional alternatives to avoid foreclosure.

Also - in regards to deficencies I like to make sure that all parties understand that we are negotiating on their behalf but cannot gurantee whether or not the lender will pursue a deficiency. All terms are outlined in teh approval letter and the seller is ultimately the person that has to agree to move forward to the closing if they have read and understand all terms and are comfortable with them.

Can't wait to engage again and have a great night everyone!


Oct 03, 2011 10:44 AM
Mark Edwards
East West Realty - Suffolk, VA
East West Realty

Heather, GREAT info, thanks for sharing!


Mar 04, 2012 02:56 AM