Four Questions to ask a Potential Short Sale Realtor

15 Jan

Choosing a real estate agent is an important decision! If you’re pursuing a short sale, selecting the right agent is even more critical than a traditional Real Estate Transaction. Short sales require specific knowledge and expertise that not all real estate agents possess. Just as your agent is responsible for marketing your property and ensuring that you get the best possible deal in a traditional transaction, in a Short Sale transaction your agent is responsible for providing all required documentation and negotiating with your lender(s) for the best possible outcome. Here are a few questions to ask when you interview your short sale agent candidates.
1. What kind of experience do you have with short sales?
There are many realtors who have taken a class or course onshort sales and even may have earned a designation of some kind that indicates they are a short sale expert. However, some agents actually specialize in short sales and foreclosures. You’ll want to find an agent with this expertise. Navigating through the short sale process is much different than negotiating a traditional home sale. An experienced short sale agent will help you prepare your materials properly for the bank, increasing your chances of being approved for a short sale in the first place. Rather than asking about longevity, ask about the number of short sales actually completed as well as how many years experience they have in short sales.
2. How will you market my property?
In addition to completing your paperwork and negotiating properly, your real estate agent must also figure out how to make your property as attractive as possible to other buyers and “get the word out” about your home. This goes beyond listing your home on the MLS. It includes determining the ideal buyer for your property and the type of financing the property will qualify for. Some homes listed for short sale work for investors, while others are better for owner occupant buyers. Marketing a property to investors is certainly different than marketing it to first-time home buyers!
3. Do you see any issues with my short sale?
A real estate agent can’t give legal or financial advice, but an expert agent can explain some of the common pitfalls of short sales and outline what you should expect. For example more liens on the property can make it more difficult. Different servicers and investors offer different types of short sale programs. HUD rules for FHA loans have different rules than other types of Short Sales. If there is mortgage insurance on the loan they have a say in the approval process. Obtaining a release of the deficiency with no recourse is imperative and requires a great deal of expertise in understanding the different programs, lender programs, and requirements. Avoid an agent who tries to make the short sale process seem overly easy or simple. You’ll want an agent who gives an honest, accurate evaluation of your short sale situation.
4. What percentage of the Short Sales that you take on get approved and close?
It’s one thing for a realtor to market themselves as a short sale expert and take on a short sale. It’s quite another to get it properly prepared, conveyed to the lender(s), and negotiated for a Full release including not only the lien but also the note obligation with written agreement that there will be NO recourse opportunity for any lien holders after the transaction successfully closes.
In addition to choosing an agent with the right experience and credentials, you’ll want to select someone who makes you feel comfortable and confident going into the short sale process. You’ll be working closely with this person on an incredibly important transaction and trusting them with sensitive financial information.

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Helpful hints, Short Sales


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