5 Tips for Short Sale Listing Agents: If followed The Sun Will Shine Brighter... (at Least in My Opinion)
I must admit I have only been in Real Estate for just a little over 5 years but I come from a family of Realtors who have been selling homes since well before I was born. Yes, Real Estate paid for my baby food and now its paying for my son's food and all those other bills and not to mention my dreams, hopes, and inspirations.
When things started to go wrong I expressed my concerns to my grandmother as she is always a go to person for advice. She is now a retired broker and has seen her share of ups and downs since the late 1960's when she first began. When I came to her with a "what's next "and a what am I going to do expression on my face, she said she seen this all before and soon would come the short sales.
It's funny to say this now but I had never heard of a short sale back then and so she explained and it wasn't long before the short sales came. I was warned by my broker that we should stay away from short sales with our buyers at all costs as they hardly ever worked out.
Well it soon became impossible to stay away and I ended up becoming a short sale listing agent. There was a lot of trial and error and I learned from each sale. I also read up on all that was available and took a 2 day certification class with CDPE. Now I enjoy over 90% success rate with my short sale listings and although they are hard work, I know that with hard work and dedication I will more than likely get the job done.
Now the problem is with over 1 year of putting in offers on short sales for my buyers, I have never had any success on this end, so I decided to write this post... Here are 5 things I believe all short sale listing agents should do. If most agents did this, I believe, the sun would shine a little brighter... or at least it would in my world...
1. A short sale listing is still a listing... treat it like you would any other: I cannot tell you how many times I come across short sales without a photo or a lock box. The listing agent asks for an appointment to be made with the tenant or owner or says go direct someone always home. A buyer who cannot see a home will not buy the home. It can cause a lot of wasted time for buyers agents who drive to a home only to find no one is there. And about pictures... This is the LEAST you could do to market the home.
2. When your seller signs an offer, they are accepting the offer: This is a big one... Oh how much time I have spend calling agents simply to see if the house they have listed as active is actually active. The truth of the matter is when your seller signs the offer/counter offers then they have accepted the offer. " But the bank has not accepted" the agents usually argue. That really does not matter because usually banks will only look at 1 offer at a time and you cannot do anything with other offers until the other backs out anyways. And your client is the seller not the bank. A home with an offer under review should be put in back up offer status. But what if the buyer backs out? I got this one covered... its coming...
3. Only send one offer at a time to the bank: I also run across agents who say they are accepting offers and sending them all to the bank to let them decide: This is usually the worse thing you can do. You are the agent and you know better than the bank what is a good or not good offer. Of course you are going to send the highest and best. If an agent tells a buyers agent or a buyer that there are 5 offers and perhaps theirs will be chosen but the bank will decide in 1-4 months than this leaves everyone in limbo. In this example we have 5 buyers, 1 house, and 0 transactions. Your buyers are likely going around town making other offers and 3 months later when things are all said and done, you may end up with nothing. And not to mention the bank has enough paperwork to deal with. Keep it simple and things should go faster.
4. Open escrow right away (this goes along with number 2): So you don't want to put the property as back up in fear of losing your buyer? Don't make the buyer's agents suffer. Open escrow at the beginning when you are starting the short sale negotiation. Opening escrow does two things that is GREAT for everyone. For one the buyer and buyer agent can rest assured that they have put in their deposit and the house belongs to them should everything go okay with the lender. Remember those buyers who run around making offers all around town? Your buyer will be less likely to do this if they knew that they have secured a home. Not to mention, their deposit is in place so that money is held up. It also helps you out because you know you have a serious buyer. You also can avoid spending months working on a short sale for a buyer who has since gone into escrow on another home (without giving notice to you of course). If a buyer decides to cancel during the short sale negotiation you will definitely be made aware right away and then you can begin searching for a new buyer.
5. Follow up weekly: Buyer's and buyers agents love follow up. It shows them that the file is progressing. Even if I do not have much to say, I always make it a point to email or call the buyers agent at least once a week. I also request an email back verifying everyone is still on board and nothing has changed. The better relationship and follow up you have, the better the result will be.
So there it is... It is the formula that has worked for me... hopefully you will find something useful to help with your business. Short Sales can be successful I have learned that from experience, but it does take structure, dedication, and time....
Happy House Selling...