Lessons Learned During a Short Sale

Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate

Last week, I successfully closed a short sale property that I listed on March 28.  The house went under contract on May 15.  It settled 142 days later on October 7.  Even though it settled relatively quickly for a short sale, it was not an easy transaction.   There were 3 appraisals, numerous extensions, monthly updates of the seller's financial condition and, of course, lots and lots of calming conversations with the understandably nervous sellers and the buyer's agent.

I can't help but to reflect a bit using the transaction as a learning experience. 

First and foremost, short sales often involve the loss of a home due to an inability to make mortgage payments.   Sellers are drained financially and emotionally.  Children could be involved. The gravity of the situation shouldn't be taken for granted.

It's impossible to communicate too much during the short sale process.  In the case of last week's settlement, I made a point of calling the sellers nearly every day and visiting them often in person.  I gave them honest updates as events unfolded.  As you probably suspect, the news wasn't always good.   I also made a point of building a strong relationship with the other agent, calling or texting him often.  

While I didn't perceive my role as that of an emotional crutch for the seller, I feel that compassion and understanding are necessary character traits for any agent who wants to work with short sale listings.

Patience was the thread that held the transaction together.  Even though the buyers knew that it would be a lengthy process, they asked their agent often to call me for updates.  Several times they considered looking for a different home rather than signing an extension.   I explained constantly to the sellers that the process took time.  How much time?  No one really knew until the short sale approval was unexpectedly received by email.   Fortunately, the age-old virtue of patience prevailed.

It seems to me that the short sale process could be be, and desparately needs to be, shortened and standardized.  For example, why did the bank need 3 separate appraisals before accepting the contractual price?  One appraisal makes sense to me while 3 appraisals strike me as wasted money and time.   

I have a great deal of respect for agents who regularly list short sales.  There's no way this particular transaction was a money maker considering all the time and effort required.  It was, however, a personally rewarding experience and one that tested and honed my professional skills.  









Comments (3)

Sarah Rummage
Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233 - Nashville, TN
Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area!

Glad you stuck it out with the clients. This is good information as I wasn't sure if short sales are still prevalent. I do believe there are fewer in our area these days. 

Oct 10, 2016 11:47 AM
Ed Rybczynski

I would expect short sales to be dropping off in my area, Harford and Cecil County, Md,  as well.  However, there still seem to be a fair number of them currently on the market and more coming on the market.

Oct 11, 2016 01:08 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Congratulations on getting the short sale through the process.  Communications is key as is patience on all parties.

Oct 10, 2016 12:52 PM
Ed Rybczynski

Thanks, Ed!  Patience can pay remarkable dividends when practiced regularly. 

Oct 11, 2016 01:09 AM
Kathy Stoltman
Balboa Real Estate - Ventura, CA
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793

Ed, anytime you can close on a short sale these days, you need to be mighty proud of yourself and all the players in the transaction. We have so few short sales in our area now, that it is hard for a buyer to stay in the game unless the property is exceptional.

Oct 11, 2016 08:16 AM
Ed Rybczynski

Thank you, Kathy.  Curiously, we are still looking at short sales in the local inventory.  

Oct 11, 2016 10:26 PM