Michael Hellickson: Why Was His License Suspended?
Important Disclaimer: I am not claiming, supporting or validating any of these allegations but simply outlining recent events that were publicly broadcasted on a local news station. It is my duty to do so as my blog is one of the highest visited resources for local short sale news. I recommend all home owners & agents to avoid pointing fingers before any of these allegations are thoroughly substantiated (that is – if these allegations are even proven to be true).
If you are a resident of Washington and have considered pursuing a short sale (or have done one in the past), then it’s likely that you have heard of Michael Hellickson. For many years, Michael has been a spokesperson and widely recognized opinion leader on the topic of short sale negotiations & pre-foreclosure.
Which is precisely the reason why I was completely shocked when one of our short sale experts informed me today that Mike’s license had been suspended due to “illegal practices during short sales.”
Now in no way am I claiming to support or agree with these allegations. Rather, I am simply here to state the facts as described by Amy Clancy of KIRO 7 Eyewitness News. According to her recent article, there have been 27 complaints filed against Michael Hellickson’s team in the last two years, outlining nine patterns of practice that supposedly posed a risk to the public. Some of these allegations included:
1. Promising to purchase their own listings if they did not sell in 90 days
(Properties should be listed at market value, then slowly reduced with the consent of the lender until an offer is made on the property. Promising to cancel their listings is one thing, but purchasing them? Illegal or not, I don’t think that’s wise).
2. Encouraging property owners to stop making payments on their mortgage payments
(It is neither an agent’s responsibility nor part of their fiduciary duty to tell a homeowner to stop making their mortgage payments. The choice has to be left entirely to the homeowner).
3. Listing homes at artificially reduced prices and prices that were not authorized by homeowners
(All price adjustments including reductions should be done with the consent of the agent, lender & homeowner).
4. Telling property owners they must vacate before they were legally obligated to do so
(While vacant properties are easier to sell, this kind of demand makes it unnecessarily inconvenient for homeowners who prefer to stay in the home until closing).
As a fellow short expert, I will be the first to say that the above practices are indeed wrong and should not be occurring in any short sale transaction. However, whether Mike committed these actions or not can only be left to further investigation and no one should assume anything. It’s hard for me to believe that a short sale expert of his magnitude would deliberately overlook these practices. Lots of misunderstandings & frustrations can happen in a short sale and it is more then likely that Michael is simply bearing the brunt of that. I am not saying that he is completely “guilt free,” but what I am saying is that every short sale organization whether non-profit or for-profit will experience their occasional hiccups. My hope is that Michael Hellickson quickly gets his license back, given that he is not guilty and/or will not partake in any questionable business practices like the ones referenced above. Why? Because our community as well as the entire US population desperately needs real short sale experts and let’s face it, there is no way that my team is going to be closing every single one of them. Saving America from foreclosure truly is a group effort.
I wish the Hellickson team the best of luck. Feel free to leave a comment or response with any further knowledge or insight on this matter as I am curious about this whole issue and whether these allegations hold any weight within our community.