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Short sale listing appointment – maybe I am off my rocker?

As part of my ongoing journey providing tips and tools for agents working short sales, I wanted to give you with some additional tips for taking the short sale listing.

Before attending a listing appointment, tell the prospective short sale seller that you will need some specific items to forward to the mortgage lenders. These items include paystubs for all borrowers on the mortgage loan(s), tax returns for all borrowers on the mortgage loan(s), and bank statements for all borrowers on the mortgage loan(s). Be prepared to collect those at the listing appointment.

A short sale package generally includes more items than the three I have listed above, but many of those can be managed and generated in the appointment itself (i.e., hardship letter, authorization, and financial statement). The goal of the request for paystubs, bank statements, and tax returns is two fold: 1) the listing agent or individual doing the short sale negotiating can pinpoint whether or not there is an identifiable hardship, and 2) the listing agent can gauge the motivation of the prospective short sale seller.

Strategic Default and the Short Sale Process

Many individuals are interested in participating in a short sale as a form of strategic default. If fact, strategic default has become a phrase du jour as it refers to short sale and foreclosure. While there are lenders and investors that will accept and approve a short sale for a borrower attempting strategic default, there are other lenders who will absolutely refuse to approve a short sale unless the seller can demonstrate a hardship that meets specific investor guidelines. So, in collecting all of the items at the beginning of the process (even before you are entertaining offers on the property), you (the listing agent) will be able to review and get a good picture of the seller’s financial situation as it relates to the presentation of the short sale package to the bank.

Gauging the motivation of the seller is another great reason to collect the documentation at the listing appointment. Any seller who wants to sell a property as a short sale needs to demonstrate some level of interest in cooperating with the bank in order to get the deal closed. Banks require very specific items. If the seller does not want to present these items, the bank may refuse to approve or even review the short sale package. Motivated sellers will provide their documentation quickly and efficiently. They will make their home available for showing and be flexible throughout the process. A seller who hems and haws about giving you a copy of his or her bank statement may really slow down the short sale process.

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Collecting all of the short sale documentation at the listing appointment was one of my Top 11 Suggestions for Getting Those Short Sales Closed in 2011. You may think I’m a little off my rocker. (After all, I work short sales, right?) But, as I’ve explained here, there is a method to my madness 😉

Photo: flickr creative commons by AvaLowery

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. Agent for Movoto

    January 18, 2011 at 11:14 am

    The motivation factor is the most important one – on both the buyer’s and seller’s sides.

  2. Short Sale Artisan

    January 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Good post Melissa. I wrote at length on my own blog over the summer about the importance of understanding motivations in a short sale transaction. At the end of the day, the actions of all parties involved are based on their motivations – and understanding that helps you politically navigate the many complexities of dealing with lenders, homeowners, etc.

    My blog post here:

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