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Real estate short sales: what’s in it for me?

With the volume of defaulted loans, there is a lot of business for short sale practitioners, so what’s in it for you? Business. Leads. Money.

3.25 Million Defaulted Mortgage Loans

If you are in tune with the ups and downs in the short sale world, then you may have already read that Barclay’s Capital stated that in May of 2012, there were still 3.25 million defaulted mortgage loans across the nation. That’s a lot, and it means lots and lots of business for short sale aficionados.

It’s absolutely true that short sale leads are everywhere and if you buy what I’m selling then you could really amp up your real estate career in the coming weeks, months and years.

Once you have identified short sale leads, you may need to focus on lead conversion. Prospective short sale sellers (especially those facing foreclosure) want to know “What’s in it for me?” “Why should I list my property when I can let the bank foreclose?”

As a short sale listing agent, you need to be on top of your game. Not only do you need to know how to process the short sale, but you need to be familiar with short sale programs and policies: that is, you need to be able to explain the benefits of the short sale to your prospect.

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Perhaps the most obvious benefit of the short sale transaction these days is the relocation assistance. There are many short sale programs that offer short sale sellers money in exchange for their participation in the short sale.

Three Relocation Assistance Programs

  1. HAFA This is the program that is offered by the U.S. Treasury as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The most enticing benefit is the $3000 available to short sale sellers (if they reside on the subject property) at closing. Other great benefits of this program include the credit reporting and the waiver of rights to pursue deficiency balances.
  2. Bank of America Short Sale Assistance Program This program also offers relocation assistance to short sale sellers—up to $30,000 for those who qualify. Don’t forget that the short sale must be initiated into Equator without an offer, and the transaction must close prior to September 26, 2013.
  3. Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac  Effective November 1, 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have aligned their short sale processing guidelines. They will offer up to $3000 in relocation assistance and they will also be working to improve their short sale processing timeframes. Both of these features will definitely benefit short sale sellers.

The next time you are scheduled for a short sale consultation, plan ahead. Learn about the property and the loans so that you can advise prospective short sale sellers about the different programs that may be available based on their unique situation. Don’t forget that they are probably going to ask you, “What’s in it for me?”

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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