Short Sale Road Rules: Getting Buyer and Seller on Same Page

Education & Training with Short Sale Processing Inc.


Short Sale Road Rules: Getting Buyer and Seller on Same Page


One of the most neglected, and yet, most important part of a successful short sale is getting both buyer and seller on the same page.  This may stem from the traditional way of thinking on a traditional “retail” sale:  It’s “Us against them.”  This does not apply to short sales, and if you can over come this mentality, your closing success will skyrocket.  Getting the short sale approval is only part of your responsibility; the other part is getting your buyer to the closing table. This is how I do it:


Locking the Buyer Down: The Stick

As I have gone over in my other articles, locking the buyer down into an airtight commitment is part of my “Rules of the short sale.” We do not allow a buyer to have any “outs.” To recap, here are the “Rules:”


  1. 90 day contract close date-We need enough time to get approval
  2. Ernest money up front
  3. Inspection time normal 10 days (NO “upon lender acceptance” allowed)
  4. Attorney review normal 5 days (NO “upon lender acceptance” allowed)
  5. Proof of funds for cash buyer
  6. Mortgage Pre Approval (NO Pre-Grades from loan officers-only banks)
  7. Buyer agreement on use of professional negotiator


These rules are non negotiable.  If they are refused, we recommend to our seller that this is not a legitimate buyer and we get another offer.  Period.  Trust me, a buyer that refuses is a buyer that will find some excuse down the road to walk away or not close.  Don’t waste your or your seller’s time with these tire kickers.


Sounds like a tall order?  I hear it all the time…”Joe, out here in (pick an area) my buyers will NEVER go for these rules….”  WRONG!  They WILL go for it, because you are going to DEMAND IT! It’s just that you are going to do it in a way that brings the buyer over to your side and gets them involved and excited about the process. Remember, the time where agents could make money by being order takers is long gone! You need to put on your big boy (or girl) pants and go out and be a salesperson.   We accomplish this by giving them incentives to play by our rules.


The Carrot

We get our buyer on board by offering them incentives. The most obvious one is Price.  Remember, no matter what the objection, Price cures all ills.  Sounds simple, and it is, but like anything there is an art to it.  First, as a listing agent, it is your responsibility to do a detailed CMA on your listing.  We need to know what the true comparable properties are selling for, both distressed and non distressed. As discussed before, we have set out price aggressively at the very low end of the comp range.  This attracted buyers. Now once an offer has been tendered, we set about to find the most important key to our strategy, the buyer’s “All In” price.  This is where you have to get the buyer and their agent on your side. 


Coming Together

How I do this is simple.  I tell them that I have a duty to my seller to get this deal closed, and that if we work together, not only can I help my seller, but we can help your buyer as well. We know that it is in our best interest to make your buyer happy, and to get a great deal for them.  This is why they need to be committed and honest with us.  Remember, WE HELP OUR SELLERS WHEN WE HELP THE BUYERS BUY.  This puts the deal in perspective, and softens the edge a little so we get a more honest answer when we ask for the all in price.  As explained before, no matter what offer was tendered, we need to know the buyer’s absolute, top dollar, price, fees, extra costs, everything price.  This is the ALL IN price.  Once that is established, I then like to ask the buyers to REDUCE their offer by 5%-7%.  You heard that right.  I said drop the offer.  This accomplishes two if things:


  1. It gives us negotiating room with the seller’s lenders
  2. It gives the buyer and incentive to stick in the deal.


The possibility of a discount is a powerful motivator for buyers, and once you show them that you are allowing them this opportunity, most buyer objections melt away quite rapidly.  In fact, they become your new best friends.


Now, I know many of you are telling to “Hold on, how is this benefiting our seller..” Well, again, we help our seller when we help our buyer buy.  What the seller owes is irrelevant.  Our objective in a short sale is not TO GET THE HIGHEST PRICE, BUT RATHER TO PUT THE SELLER IN THE BEST POSITION TO CLOSE. Of course, we have to be quite clear to the buyer that by lowering their offer, they must be willing to bump it back upwards should the lender counter.  This also means the buyer should be ready to bring a little extra cash to the table to buy out a seller deficiency on a second, pay ancillary fees, or cover any seller cost not paid for by the seller’s lender.  As long as our total amount stays below the ALL IN price, we should be good to go.  If you do this right, you will close at a number somewhere between the low offer and the all in price, and everyone will think you are a hero. If, by chance, we end up beyond the all in price, most of the time it’s close enough that you can negotiate some sort of settlement. For those of you who can’t believe that the seller’s lender will go for this…they can and they do everyday.  What some of you don’t realize is that most investor guidelines allow for up to a 20% variance from appraised value if you know how to work the short sale right…hence the insistence of using a professional negotiator.


Remember, short sales are a strategy.  You should plan ahead because if you don’t, you will be doomed to react to lender actions and that, my friends, is why most agents fail at short sales.  Get the buyer on board and the rest of the deal will follow.


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Comments (3)

Satar Naghshineh
Satar - Amiri Property and Financial Services Corp. - Irvine, CA

Joseph, excellent blog. A lot of real estate agents approach the short sale with the "Highest and best" mentality. Your blog articulates the logic in a short sale transaction.

Feb 06, 2012 03:43 PM
Joseph Alfe
Short Sale Processing Inc. - Chicago, IL

Thanks Satar

Feb 06, 2012 04:01 PM
Satar Naghshineh
Satar - Amiri Property and Financial Services Corp. - Irvine, CA

No problem my friend. It's so refreshing to come across another person who understands short sales. Any agent or client who utilizes your services are real lucky that they got one of the best in the business.

You wouldn't believe the things the "experts" state in their blogs! I even challenged Alex Charfen (co-founder of CDPE) and he had to admit his education strategy only had a 47% success rate. If you want a good laugh, click here.

Also, for more exposure, try adding groups to your blog. I re-blogged you and added the short sale groups that I know of.

Take care and I am glad to see you still helping other people.

Feb 08, 2012 05:16 PM

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