I L-O-V-E- short sales. I love everything about them. Okay, maybe not everything but most everything… I love how they introduced me to the world of loss mitigation. I love how short sales keep me on my toes and how I will never be able to say “I can do these with my eyes closed”. I love how they make me a better real estate professional.
But what I love the most about short sales is how being a short sale listing agent helps me(makes me) connect with my clients at a level that standard transactions rarely do, if ever. And I love how doing this work positions me in the perfect place to make a substantial difference in the lives of struggling families and how there often is a decent paycheck waiting for me at the end of that journey. The short sale universe is a do-gooder’s imperfect paradise and I feel great in it.
When I began to list and negotiate short sales almost five years ago, many of my colleagues thought I was wasting my time. Short sale listings were considered by many to be substandard(I guess they still are). They took too much time; involved too much work and if anybody did the math, they’d discover that I could probably make more money taking a “real” job during the downturn. Regardless of all that, I kept making my way through my new niche and -through the twists and turns of it- got pretty good at making them happen.
Once it became evident that short sales were going to be here for a good long while, I got props for being ahead of the game by deliberately seeking short sales while other agents were still going after the shrinking standard market or impacted REO pool. While this was great for my ego, I could definitely understand why real estate agents stayed away from short sales, especially in the beginning. There was so much to get through- few successful systems in place, not enough follow through on behalf of agents and negotiators, sellers distracted by bogus Hail Mary offers to keep their home, buyers getting impatient and walking away. All of this made closing these transactions extremely frustrating. There were more than a couple of times when I fantasized about how nice it would be to fold sweaters at The Gap for a living but alas, I’m still here.
Today we have better systems in place(Equator is our friend). Sellers and buyers are more familiar as to what to expect. Many of us know what to do, more or less. Still, short sales are a moving target. Success comes as a result of thorough and meticulous work. And while I believe that most of us working this market have a genuine desire to serve, I cringe when I see real estate agents -newbies and seasoned pros alike- jump into the wacky world of short sales and try to figure them out, oftentimes at the seller's expense.
So, please read Part 2 of this post for a list some big things to avoid when working your short sales. The goal here is to do preemptive work in order to save yourself(and your clients) valuable time and to make the short sale process as painless as possible. Happy short selling!