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How to survive a short sale listing appointment

A scary meeting

The short sale listing appointment can be a super intimidating and scary meeting for any borrower that is considering listing and or selling his/her home as a short sale. Some borrowers will to tell you all about how awful their experiences have been with the lending institutions, how many months they have spent on a loan modification to no avail, and how much equity and sweat equity they have put in their beloved abodes.

When the prospective seller is unloading this information, it is important to be both patient and sensitive. Even though you are already calculating the list price and quite possibly the commission, this may not be the meeting where you lay all the cards on the table. And, for this very same reason, it is often difficult to go through almost insurmountable number of items that need to be collected and discussed in one fell swoop.

Here’s how you can tackle that problem without overwhelming poor Mr. and Mrs. Seller:

  1. Seller Document Preparation  When the listing consultation appointment is set, tell the sellers that you will need to review all of the following items at the meeting: mortgage statements, pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns.
  2. Agent Document Preparation  Attend the listing appointment with your state and local paperwork completed already. Be prepared to write in the few items that need to be discussed before obtaining signatures.
  3. Short Sale Package Item Collection  Collect and review the items that the seller provided. Discuss the hardship and have the seller write a five-sentence hardship letter before you leave the appointment.
  4. Financial Statement  Bring a blank financial statement to the appointment and have the sellers complete it while you are dotting i’s and crossing t’s on paperwork or taking photos or measurements of the property.

The short sale listing appointment can go on for hours and be completely overwhelming. The above list keeps it manageable, and the good news is that once you are gone, you are gone—out of your sellers’ hair for awhile: that is, until you meet again to present what will hopefully be multiple offers on their property.

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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.



  1. Benjamin Ficker

    February 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I found that the listing appointment, overall, is still much easier in terms of closing the listing. If you go in with 3-5 completed short sales under your belt, you know more then 99% of your competition. Also, my team has been toying with the idea of having videos on our site for the homeowners to watch before the appointment, which is ALWAYS handled in our office rather then the home.

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