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3 things to consider before taking your next short sale listing

There is a difference between a generalist and a short sale expert, so know the difference and establish trust in your community and with clients by focusing.

eliminating asking prices

eliminating asking prices

Agents, Can You Deliver?

If you are a real estate agent anywhere in the United States (and likely beyond), then you may get excited at the prospect of a listing appointment—especially if you have not had one in awhile. Often, agents begin using their mental calculators and spending their commission checks at the same time that seller is signing the listing agreement. But, as you and I well know, there’s a lot that goes on between the listing date and the closing date. And, it is the agent’s responsibility to deliver: that’s what he or she is hired to do.

But, can you deliver? Can you bring a ready, willing, and able buyer to the closing table? Or, did you bite off more than you could chew? While it is admirable to be a jack-of-all-trades, it is generally unlikely that a single agent can have experience selling land, commercial buildings, apartment houses, new construction, residential properties, ranches, and mobile homes among other things.

The same applies to the distressed property world. Now that short sales have been a common transaction for several years, agents and consumers alike may be under the false impression that a distressed property transaction is very easy—that everyone can list, sell, and negotiate a short sale in no time flat.

Can Generalists Negotiate Short Sales?

Unfortunately, that is not the case. While short sales have taken on a life of their own over the past few years, they still require certain specified knowledge. This specified knowledge includes being is attuned to the subtle nuances required in order get a transaction through the bank’s system quickly and efficiently.

3 Ways to Differentiate a Generalist from a Short Sale Specialist

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  1. A short sale specialist will be able to immediately identify whether a seller may or may not qualify for some sort of relocation assistance at closing. While the specialist cannot guarantee the short sale lender’s response, an agent experienced with short sales can immediately assess and identify which loans will NOT qualify for the incentive money.
  2. A short sale specialist will immediately look into institutional and non-institutional liens. He or she will not wait until the short sale is approved in order to research personal liens (such as tax liens or abstracts of judgment) that may impede the closing.
  3. A short sale specialist will know which documents needs to be collected at the very beginning of the transaction—at the listing appointment. He or she will immediately identify whether you need a 4506-T, whether the lender has special documents, and whether a profit and loss statement is required.

Establishing Trust Means Telling the Truth

In Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch’s book APE, Kawasaki writes about trustworthiness. He states, “Trustworthiness means that people can depend on you because you are honest, forthright, and effective.” He continues by saying, “Tell people what you don’t know. No one knows everything. There’s nothing wrong with this. You can build trust explaining what you don’t know. Then people will believe you when you say you do know something.”

If a real estate agent’s job is to provide excellent service and get a deal closed, then he or she needs to be trustworthy. Part of trustworthiness involves not taking a listing on a property about which you have no experience selling: telling people what you don’t know. A better solution would be to explain to your prospective client that something is now within your area of expertise, and that you would not want them to be disappointed if you could not deliver. However, you would be more than happy to refer them to an excellent specialist that can assist them.

When you admit that you are not a generalist, your prospective clients will trust you more and refer you to others. In doing so, you won’t burn any bridges to future business. Again, you would be silly to bite of more than you can chew. You might choke.

Written By

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.

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