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The Beauty of the Short Sale Transaction (No Folks, I’m Really Not Kidding)

melissa zavalaPlease welcome our newest writer, Melissa Zavala, Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties, who is a Short Sale Expeditor that has become so well known for her work in pre-foreclosure sales that her expertise is sought out by industry professionals. Melissa brings with her a fascinating background, having earned a BA and Masters in English from Northwestern University and was a Senior Editor at McDougal Littell before her work as an Educational Consultant at Harcourt. Upon leaving the educational publishing world, she chose to work with her husband in the real estate industry and has since become a recognized expert in short sales.

Melissa will be showing agents how to prepare for the changing world of real estate and you will see her passion for her work as you learn how to navigate the tricky waters of short sales. Please welcome her in comments!

Almost everyone complains about a short sale: the sellers, the buyers, and even the agents.

Wilted PlantEveryone rants about some aspect of the transaction. The biggest complaint by far is that it takes too long for the bank to generate lien holder approval. By then, buyers are tired, frustrated, and have, quite possibly, moved on. Sellers are just “over it” and possibly considering other options. Agents are extremely frustrated by the process, particularly given how much energy and work a typical short sale transaction entails.

But, I say . . . bring your short sales here! Short sales are truly a blessing in disguise. They are an ideal opportunity to polish your listing skills by taking more listings than ever before. Plus, you have the added benefits of helping others and re-familiarizing yourself with state and local contracts.

When you take a listing on a short sale transaction, the traditional seller stalls and objections are gone.

Long gone are the listing appointments where you sit on the clients’ sofa for a “chat” about the list price. A few years ago, sellers began to use the Internet to investigate the home’s value and then met you with that price when you walked in the door. Well, despite the fact that the seller may still not concur with your value, the list price is not a hot button topic any longer. Since the seller will not walk away with any money in a short sale, it is far easier for sellers and their agents to come to agreement on the list price.

Also long gone are the conversations about commission and how So-and-So with Down-the-Street Realty will be willing to accept 4% commission so that Mr. Seller can net a little more money. Since the commission is paid by the bank out of the net proceeds, this discussion of commission is now a moot point

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Short sale listings are also easy to find. You’ve heard of the “six degrees of separation” theory, right? Well, almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who is having trouble making ends meet. There must be someone out there in your sphere of influence who could use your help today—someone who might need to participate in a short sale.

Don’t be that agent in the office whose attitude makes the plants wilt.

This current economic climate has created a unique opportunity for you to challenge yourself, obtain more listings, and polish your skills so that you can become a master listing agent.

While it is extremely upsetting that folks must give up their homes, there has never been a better opportunity to help someone out of a jam. If you can help the client and he or she is happy with your service, you will receive referrals for life.

What better way could there be then to start off the year with a few short sale listings?

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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. Nanette Labastida

    January 15, 2010 at 12:38 am

    I am taking a short sale class in a couple of weeks precisely because of these thougths and the realization that Short Sales are possibly going to be a more plentiful in the upcoming year.
    I am currently in the middle of one as the buyers rep, and altho it has been a bit frustrating, the expertise and knowlege of the team representing the seller has been so helpful and educational it has inspired me to learn all there is to know. they have made the entire ordeal a breeze.

  2. Mike

    January 15, 2010 at 6:09 am

    You can also make your SS listing more atractive to purchasers and BAs by, I don’t know, HAVING MORE THAN ONE OR ZERO PHOTOS IN YOUR LISTING. We all know that NAR’s study a few years ago showed that listings with multiple photos get 3 times the clicks as with zero or one. A lack of photos is incredibly unprofessional. Also, if you have, “I close all of my SSs” in the listing remarks, remember that BA’s can look up your history in the MLS to see all of your failures. LAs need to treat SSs with the same professionalism that they would a traditional listing. Submit positive remarks such as, “Only the best offer will be ratified and sent to the bank.” If it walks like a duck… If you have a reputation as a profession, you have a better chance of getting offers on a SS. It’s pretty obvious.

    • Melissa Zavala

      January 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      Mike: In our neck of the woods, there does seem to be a trend which sometimes includes not dedicating quite as much time to such details as the photos on the MLS, and the property description on the MLS as well. As Realtors®, we all have a fiduciary obligation to our clients–not matter who they are and what their needs are. It’s always a shame when some of our colleagues do not strictly adhere to that Code of Ethics!

  3. Broker Bryant

    January 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Welcome to AG Melissa!! This post hits it right on the head. The beauty of short sales is that the actually listing and selling of the property is so much easier than a traditional transaction. The time delays on the back end or more than made up for on the front end.

  4. Christy Ruschel, Realtor, CDPE, SFR, HRC

    January 15, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Great Article Melissa! I hold both the CDPE Designation & the SFR. I have been doing short sales for a period of time now. Even though there are still agents that won’t even
    show them. I have been very successful in this and look forward to doing many more.
    There are some lenders that still don’t get it but for the most part they are not too bad!!
    It is diligence with them that prevails for everyone…

  5. Brad Officer - Jacksonville Real Estate

    January 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Completely agree Melissa! While most are turning them away or complaining about taking them, I’m actively hunting down Short Sale listings. They are more difficult, take far longer to close, but in this market it’s about as good a listing as you can get.

  6. Shar Rundio

    January 15, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for the great outlook on a fairly sore subject in the market these days, Melissa! While I’ll whine about the banks periodically, I completely agree with your points.

    I meet with a short sale mastermind group 2x/mo and just yesterday we were laughing at ourselves and how sick we were that we are actively looking for more short sales.

    From a business point of view it’s about market share. In our market 37% of the listings are short sale so if you don’t work short sales you’ve effectively eliminated 1/3 of the potential market.

    From a personal point of view there’s nothing like the feeling of helping your clients avoid foreclosure…and that’s what it’s really about for if you ask me.

    Looking forward to seeing more coming from you, Melissa!

  7. Kathy Jerzak

    January 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Welcome Melissa. Look forward to your posts and just entering the short sale arena. My first one was approved yesterday at 6 weeks so I am not discouraged.

  8. Janie Coffey

    January 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

    can’t wait to read more of your posts Melissa. Things are changing quite a bit in the SS realm, I am interested to read more of what you sense, hear about and experience in SS transactions.

  9. Russell Shaw

    January 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Welcome to AG. Excellent points. Glad you are here.

  10. ShortSaleArtisan

    January 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Welcome Melissa! Great post and article! It’s funny – you can spend your time complaining about the difficulty of short sales, or get on the ground and get them DONE! 2010 will be a great year!

  11. MIssy Caulk

    January 28, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Welcome to Agent Genius, sorry I have not stopped by before. You will be a tremendous asset to AG as one who has success in short sales.
    No, I can’t say I “adore” them but I do them…have too in Michigan.

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