How to Find the BEST Short Sale Agent in Your Area
As a nationally recognized short sale expert, I hear horror stories all the time about how the very Realtors that are supposed to be helping the homeowner in their distress are actually the ones placing them at risk of foreclosure.
In fact, I have personally witnessed these kinds of Realtors myself and words cannot describe the frustration that this causes with every party involved, from the bank to the negotiators to the buyers.
Here are the top 5 most common mistakes that BAD Short Sale Agents make that have ended up costing clients their home to foreclosure.
1. Zero communication. When a short sale agent does not actively communicate with every party involved, from the negotiators to the sellers to the buyers agent, everyone assumes the worst. This causes a number of problems, from the buyer losing faith in the transaction to the negotiator simply being stuck at a particular stage in the short sale due to a lack of feedback from the agent.
2. Laziness. When the short sale agent is lazy, nothing gets done. For example, homeowners are often confused as to how to fill out their “short sale package.” When the agent does not actively review the short sale package to make sure it is accurate & complete, the package ends up being returned & resent a dozen times before the bank ever receives it. Also, there are action items that agents must carry out on a weekly basis, from price drops to making sure that buyers & their agents are being taken care of. Agents cannot simply sit around for a buyer in a short sale, since buyers generally lose steam very quickly with these transactions. A short sale agent is not only a salesperson, but a transaction manager, and the agent is responsible for juggling every aspect and make sure everything is going smooth, or the transaction can very well collapse.
3. Weak marketing & consulting skills. Again, buyers lose steam very quickly with these transactions. A bad short sale agent will make the mistake of simply listing a property, asking for an offer and taking the first one that arrives to the table. Like any good salesperson, the agent must have a strong marketing strategy in place to generate a large amount of buyer interest. Thus, the agent must carefully choose the right offer that is most conducive to a quick closing. After that, the agent must hold that buyer’s hand, even if they have a buyer’s agent and do everything possible to retain them as buyers until closing. This is not an easy task and is only accomplished through an authoritative yet consultative style of communication.
4. No experience. To this day, I still do not understand why agents attempt to negotiate their own short sales, when there are teams (like ours) who have collectively negotiated over a 1000 short sales with a 95%+ success rate. To try and negotiate a short sale with no experience is like getting into the ring with a trained boxer and attempting to beat them, even if someone else’s livelihood is on the line. It is downright foolish, since most negotiation services are free to the agent. A successful short sale agent will not negotiate their own short sales, but rather will hire professionals to do the negotiating so that the agent can focus on the agency work. In order to negotiate short sales, one must have a proper understanding of mortgage/foreclosure/bankruptcy law, negotiation dynamics, lender communication methods, insight on the lender’s best and worst alternatives “in the event of_______,” so on and so forth. Explaining all of what a negotiator needs to know could be an entirely different article.
5. Being too anxious. When the agent is too anxious, lenders hate it, buyers lose faith and sellers have no peace of mind. Do not be anxious because it produces no results.
So what should you do if you are working with a short sale agent that is actively making these kinds of mistakes?
Don’t drop them if the agent is willing to work harder. Yes, don’t simply terminate your agency agreement and go on looking for another Realtor in the middle of a short sale. Transitioning a short sale file from one Realtor to another Realtor is a headache and when time is of the essence, transitioning Realtors is simply not functional.
Rather, my recommendation is that you kindly but firmly ask them to work with a professional short sale facilitation team, who will aggressively instruct the agent on what to do, how to do it and when to do it. They will know exactly what to tell the lender, the buyers agents, escrow, etc. to keep the transaction afloat. They would also take over the negotiations with the lender at no charge to the agent (apart from a few rare exceptions).
If the goal is to close the short sale, it is best that you give your agent the chance to carry out their fiduciary duties without “performance anxiety,” and the only way to prevent that is to have a professional take over the file and provide positive encouragement to that agent.
I have seen the worst agents close their short sales with the help of a strong short sale facilitation team.
Quite frankly, nobody is perfect, so my philosophy is two fold:
1. All agents deserve grace and none are perfect. You will never find a perfect agent.
2. It is better to empower the weak agent with the tools to close the short sale then to have a strong agent take over and be overwhelmed with a “short sale in progress,” especially when strong agents are typically very busy people.
If you do not have an agent yet, you are in luck! We have a network of agents that can help you close your short sale.
Remember, the key is to work with a strong short sale agent or to empower your current short sale agent with a strong team of negotiators. Either way, make sure that you have one of the above professionals working on your behalf and you should be well on your way to closing your short sale and walking away from this season in life.