Before I give my opinion on the best questions to ask an agent when selling a short sale, it is prudent to ask one question: were all the sellers whose properties were lost or failed trying to short sale their house? The answer would be that 90%-plus of why the short sale did not go through and the foreclosure did, was because the listing agent had insufficient experience or hired a short sale negotiator with the same problem.
Any agent who hires a short sale negotiator after taking the listing and does not interview for the job at the same time the listing is taken should not be hired. The agent can say they hire negotiators because they do excess volume, or use them for all their sales so they are fine while they don’t have the time to come to the appointment or the agent says they don’t have the time to do the work because they are busy getting new business, but the bottom line for a seller is to know exactly what the game plan will be for their particular situation, while meeting the pertinent parties face-to-face.
Wouldn’t you want to meet the doctor doing heart or brain surgery on you, the attorney handling an extremely important case for you, or the carpenter/contractor remodeling or building your home? I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the so-called gurus fail in a short sale because they do not get involved. Or worse, they really don’t know how to handle certain situations that come up. Since every transaction is unique in its own right, especially in a short sale, that is the simple reason why there is an unlimited price you can put on experience and handling business successfully.
Why do you think that I don’t care for agents who hire short sale negotiators even though they close a high percentage of their transactions? The answer is that, as a seller, you are hiring the person you sign up with on the listing agreement to handle all facets of your sale, correct? Actually, when a negotiator is hired in a short sale, the seller is not charged their fee which can run 1% of the purchase price, nor will the short sale lender pay it, so it should be charged to the agent taking the listing because they can’t or don’t want to do the work. But instead, it is charged to the buyer’s agent which is totally wrong. The market is getting extremely ugly with these circumstances after a buyer’s agent gets knocked out of getting properties time after time.
Now the question that comes to mind is: what do I do with this circumstance? Do I believe the agent when he says everything will be fine or interview the negotiator–what is their experience and do they have a real estate license (since this is required)?
The only questions to ask are:
1. Do you negotiate the short sale yourself? Must be a yes.
2. How many short sales have you closed in the last 10 years? Should be an average of 20 closed per year, per agent or negotiator. Did you know most negotiators are agents who did not do enough business to survive in the real estate agent industry in the recent past?
3. What is your ratio of closed short sales? Minimum standard should be 10 a year for the past 10 years, minimum.
4. What knowledge do you have in settling liens? These include liens such as: IRS, HOA, child support, credit cards, etc.
5. If the laws are changed in the near future back to the way they were before the law was in place, how many transactions did you close as short sales then? Should be a minimum of 20 per year for the previous 5 years. These are just some of the questions to be asked, so to be completely confident, you would want to call me to help you with your particular situation.
6. Do you know how much your home is worth?
7. What do you do if the property might be upside down?
Do you know how your agent or negotiator would answer these questions? If not, call me for honest, expert short sale advice.
– John A. Silva | (619) 890-3648