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Shadow Inventory or Not? Agents, Get to Work!

I’ve been thinking about the future of real estate.

Shadow Inventory of REOsFellow Agent Genius Contributor, Russell Shaw, wrote a thought-provoking blog post a few days ago about the rumored shadow inventory that is (or is not) coming our way. I have to admit that I loved this post ‘cause it got me to thinkin’. It got me to thinkin’ about why so many folks are on the fence about taking a short sale listing. After all, why bother taking a short sale listing that will take months to close when you may get a major REO account later this year?

A few months ago, I got a call from a local Broker who wanted me to come to his office and give his agents a pep talk—wanted me to motivate them to start embracing the short sale transaction. He mentioned to me that he had been waiting a year for some Bank of America REO listings, but they never came. After a year, he decided it was time to make a change to his game plan.

While I adore this particular Broker and was happy to visit his office, I was surprised that he allowed his whole slew of agents to sit on the fence for an entire year. What a waste of time!

What could I do in that year?

I could have easily taken at least 15 or 20 short sale listings. I could’ve closed most of them. I could have helped that many families to avoid foreclosure, and I could’ve made some money doing just that!

What is my point? My point is this: while I would love to postulate about whether there may be a shadow inventory, it is just not productive to do so. All of the time spent speculating about what may or may not be coming could be time spent improving myself, making money, and helping others.

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Agents moan and groan about the current market and how they miss the way it used to be . . . about how many listings they had “back in the day” and about how much money they made. When, oh when, will we return to normalcy?

Guess what, folks? This current unique and challenging real estate market (with or without its shadow inventory) is the new normal. Get used to it; enjoy it; embrace it. There has never been a better time than the present to polish your real estate skills and take more listings than ever before. And . . . if I have not gotten you off the fence and you are still going to wait for your big REO account, feel free to send those short sale listings my way!

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. Ken Brand

    January 28, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Amen Sister. To WIN (survive) you have to run like Forrest Gump.

    Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
    It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.
    Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
    It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle
    when the sun comes up you’d better be running.
    ~ Anonymous

    • Melissa Zavala

      January 29, 2010 at 11:43 am

      Ken: I love the metaphor that you have shared here about Forrest Gump (and the anonymous poem as well). Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to make a comment!

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 28, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I think we’re going to keep reporting the news and debating the merits but your point is well taken, and you’re so right. I was just reminded of the head spun depressed agents in the office I’d talk to from time to time that were just negative that inevitably ran me out of the office to avoid catching their funk- great message, and great attitude.

  3. Bob Stahl

    January 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    While it’s always a good idea, in my opinion, to think about what may be coming in the future (to position ourselves for it), it’s most productive to move quickly to take advantage of what is happening right here, right now. In the Phoenix and Scottsdale real estate markets, what’s happening right here and right now is certainly a lot of short sales and bank-owned sales. They make up well over half of all transactions, so agents who haven’t moved into those arenas are. . . I don’t know, looking for new jobs?

    • Melissa Zavala

      January 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

      Bob: I wonder if the phrase “A bird in hand equals two inthe bush” was created as a result of some previous era centuries ago with similar problems in real estate. (LOL)

  4. Lisa Oden

    January 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Great post! You nailed it. My area has been hit very hard. Guess what? It’s going to be rough going for a while. People need help and solutions, not whining about days gone by. That’s why I obtained my Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR) certification. This way when I encounter those who need help (which is very often), I can be part of the solution and help them look ahead to better days.
    When the shadow inventory gets here, we’ll just have to adjust again. Good or bad – Nothing lasts forever!

  5. Bruce Dietz

    January 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Agents should embrace short sales…it is a huge market. It takes diligence, but it is rewarding to help people in a difficult situation and make a living at the same time.

  6. Paula Henry

    January 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Last year I wasted a lot of time on investor short sales. I worked hard and the banks were slow. I still do short sales because people need help and don’t know where to go. I have adjusted and learned to qualify better. I have also teamed up with another agent who helps me on the bank end. It’s a perfect match and everyone wins.

  7. Jeff A Smith

    January 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Shadow Inventory or Not? Agents, Get to Work!

  8. Carin Arrigo-Zimmer

    January 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    So agree with you Melissa and appreciate your insight! I think I’ve avoided short sales for the simple reason of still thinking of myself as a newbie in the biz as I enter my 3rd year as a full-time agent. Didn’t want to touch short sales last year, in part, because #1.) no training at my previous company, which leads to #2.) little to no self-confidence. Then I read an interview with an seasoned agent who refuses to do any short sales at all! What to do? What to do?

    Now with a company who provides their agents’ with effective, useful tools and education, I’m looking at short sales much differently than I did a year ago. That said, I suppose it’s never too late to learn, right? Compassion for others can be a powerful motivator…. Thanks.

  9. Cathy Ryan

    January 28, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Melissa, thank you for the great article. I have been doing short sale for the last 3 years. My marketplace has been hit hard with foreclosures. People need our help now! Besides, if the trends go the way they are going, it will look more favorable for a homeowner to short sale than foreclosure. This means the distressed homeowner’s financial future. I don’t believe that the lenders are going to revert back to just foreclosing on these homeowners. Besides there is enough data to show that the loss to the lender is not as significant as it would be if the lender foreclosed and sold the property as an REO.

  10. Derrick Barnett

    January 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Shadow Inventory or Not? Agents, Get to Work!: In the Phoenix and Scottsdale real estate markets, what's happening…

  11. ShowingSuite

    January 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Shadow Inventory or Not? Agents, Get to Work! #realestate #shortsales #realtor

  12. Melissa Zavala

    January 29, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    @MDHouses @TMH_Sacramento @OCShortsalehelp @mrshortsales Shadow inventory of REOs. What do you think?

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