real estate short sales

What short sales and puppies have in common

December 4, 2012

real estate short sales

Puppies Require Patience

I got a new puppy last weekend. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a puppy or a baby, or anything small for that matter. After observing the puppy for a short period of time, I was suddenly reminded about how much patience was going to be required when dealing with the new pet. The puppy was gravitating towards some yummy plant material over and over and over again. So, in addition to the patience and attention required to assure that Puppy did not eat the plants, we also had to develop a strategy (a workaround) for dealing with the tempting plant materials.

It’s the same with short sales; they require both patience and good problem-solving strategies.

Here are three of the most common short sale problems and some useful strategies for resolving them:

  • Authorization is declined. At the beginning of the transaction, the seller will provide you with written authorization to speak with the lender on his (or her) behalf. Bank of America has a specific form for that, and some of the other lenders even have a dedicated fax number for submission of the authorization form. In order to avoid having your authorization declined, make sure that the seller signs with the very same name and signature that was used on the Deed of Trust. For example, if the seller has since gotten married, the seller may be signing differently now. Also, avoid using electronic signatures on the third-party authorization.
  • The bank’s value is very high, and your offer is declined. After the short sale lender conducts a Broker Price Opinion (BPO), the bank employee may come back with a property value in the form of a counter offer to your submitted short sale offer. If the bank’s appraisal or BPO is high, the counter offer will also be high—perhaps well over market value. That’s when you need to inquire about the required documentation for valuation dispute. After all, if you want the bank to accept your offer, you will probably need to dispute their value. In order to do this, certain paperwork may be required. Submit that in a timely manner, and follow up regularly.
  • Sometimes things are just not working out. Just last week, one of my deals was declined out of Equator because of a glitch in the computer system. So, they wanted us to start the process all over again. Another time, I had a negotiator continue to offer me HAFA after the seller had already been declined for the HAFA program. Those kinds of issues can arise during the short sale process. And, they can slow down the process significantly. The best solution for frustrating issues is to escalate the transaction. You can do that by asking to speak with a manager or by using social media.

Short sales require patience on the part of all parties. In addition, short sales require good problem-solving strategies in order to get issues resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s why short sales are kind of like puppies—except puppies are so much cuter!

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Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.


  1. Hey Melissa -this was a very entertaining look at short sales :)  I’m been kicking around the idea of getting a puppy for the last year or so. I think sometimes I’d rather take the stress of real estate investing :)

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