It feels like we're all moving in slow motion these days in the real estate industry. Or maybe we're just wading through deep mud that's slowing us all down!
Or choose your own mental image here.
And, there's one segment of the real estate industry that's almost single handedly responsible for the slow down...lending institutions.
With foreclosure sales making up 2/3 of Culpeper sales last month and 1/2 of those in Fauquier, a lending institution is actually the seller in most of the sales happening these days. If you add in short sales, where the lender has to approve any deal you're definitely dealing with the vast majority of transactions.
Lenders are moving very slowly on these things. On one foreclosure sale I'm working on right now it took my buyer clients about three weeks to even get a response to their offer. And there are enough stories around this to fill up a blog!
But lenders aren't the only ones slowing up the process. Listing agents who handle foreclosures are typically specialists in this area. Foreclosures are about all they do. Lenders typically offer less compensation on each individual deal in exchange for providing large volumes of transactions. And, so you get agents who are completely overwhelmed by the number of listings they have, but can't afford or won't pay to get help.
I heard one story last week about a buyer's agent bypassing the listing agent when he wasn't getting anywhere and asking the settlement company to talk to the lender directly to get things done. A week after settlement had taken place the listing agent still claimed to be unable to get an answer from the bank on outstanding issues! (This agent was completely unaware the deal had already settled!) More likely the agent wasn't even trying to get an answer as the issue had fallen through the cracks.
Documenting everything I do, every conversation I have, every fax or e-mail I send and who I talk to have become even more important than usual.
If you're trying to buy in the midst of all this, be aware that you will need a lot of patience. You may very well get a good deal buying a foreclosure or short sale. But it may require that you have the ability to wait several months to get the deal closed and get into your new house. Keep that in mind as you search for your next home.
Me? I'm getting just a little tired of slogging through all this mud. But like everything else, it's cyclical and this too shall pass!