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Keep Communicating and that Short Sale Actually May Close

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about the top 11 ways to get a short sale approved in 2011. I then spent the next several weeks elaborating on each of the pointers that I mentioned in my Letterman-style top 11. Agents frequently comment that many of my tips are common sense. That’s true. I never claimed to invent the wheel; I’m just here to help you drive the car.

One of the pointers that I haven’t really discussed much is the importance of communication. Again, this ain’t rocket science, but effective communication is a vital part of the short sale process.

In traditional real estate transactions, the buyer begins to move forward with inspections and the appraisal almost immediately after the seller and buyer agree to the terms of the transaction. Most traditional transactions close quickly—generally in 30-45 days. Not so with a short sale. And, because the period between signed contract and short sale approval can be very long, all parties may get a little bit antsy.

During the lengthy waiting period, buyers often wonder, What’s going on? When is the transaction going to be approved? Is anyone even communicating with the bank?

Sellers frequently think about those very same things. Also, sellers who are still occupying the property are often unsure of when they should begin packing up and making plans to move to their next destination. With the time frame of the short sale a bit of a gamble, it can be a stressful and confusing time for both buyers and sellers (and agents, too).

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All it takes is one quick email

I’ve seen the most success with short sale closings when the individual doing the short sale negotiating provides weekly updates to all the parties involved in the transaction. For example, telling the buyer and seller that the BPO has been completed or that the negotiator called and requested some updated documentation is a welcome relief because all parties see that progress is being made. It may be slow progress, but it is progress to say the least.

When there is good communication in a short sale transaction, the buyer generally sticks around and, as a result, there is a successful closing. Again, this ain’t rocket science. If it only takes a few minutes a week to send out a quick email to all parties, you’ve gotta wonder why many agents do not take the time to do this—especially if it helps to cement a successful closing.

What say you?

Photo: flickr creative commons by colindunn

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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. Heather Walton via Facebook

    March 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Effective Communication is the KEY to the success of any transaction!

  2. Melissa, I think this is key! I’ve been able to keep a very high closing ratio on my short sales, and I believe it’s due to the communication with the buyer’s agent. Buyers go through several cycles of emotions in a short sale: Buyer’s remorse, anxiousness for an approval, angry threats of walking from the contract, and finally just giving in to waiting because they’ve waited this long already. Along the way, continued communication keeps them involved and eventually they get the bank approval for closing. Communication is the key.

  3. Dean Ouellette

    March 15, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Melissa as always you are spot on. You dont need to be a rocket scientist (like my business partner) to get short sales closed. It is all about the basics, staying on top of your files, keeping in touch with the banks and realizing they are not saying “no” they are saying “know” as in they dont know enough to make an informed decision so keep educating.

    Of course even then agents wont close 100%, but it will get the number much close to 80-90% instead of the industry average of 40%.

  4. Jill Kipnis

    March 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Melissa, this is a valuable post for buyers going through a short sale. The key is also patience; remember that “slow and steady wins the race.”

    Here’s another interesting article that buyers might find helpful:

    –Jill Kipnis, Community Builder

    • Lani Rosales

      March 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Jill, thank you for stopping by. Melissa is writing an ongoing series for real estate professionals about short sales and not addressing buyers directly (as AGbeat is an industry outlet), but you’re SO right that slow and steady wins the race.

      -Lani Rosales, Editor-in-chief @AgentGenius

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