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When to escalate your short sale transaction

There are times when a complaint during the short sale process will be ignored, and other times when it is appropriate and will produce results. Here are the differences between the two.

Short Sale Agents Need to Stick Together

On Saturday night, a pack of coyotes ran in front of our car as we were heading home after an evening out. Those coyotes… they seem to really stick together. They passed at lightning speed… one, then another, then another, and then the fourth.

We short sale agents need to stick together, too. And, while most of us are much more civilized than the coyotes, we definitely need to share information with one another. One thing that I’d like to share with you is information about how and when to escalate your short sale or attempt to get a supervisor involved because it is not going as you had expected.

There’s a Time and a Place

Here are four appropriate occasions during the short sale transaction when you may want to make a complaint or express a concern to upper management:

  1. Bank employee has missed internal deadlines extensively and has not stepped it up when you have reached out to him/her about the missed deadlines.
  2. Bank employee appears to have a lack of familiarity with a pending issue (e.g., doesn’t know the difference between HAFA and a Cooperative Sale, has never heard of a Natural Hazard Zone Disclosure Report).
  3. Bank employee will not allow a specific line item to appear on the final settlement statement.
  4. Foreclosure sale date is around the corner and loss mitigation employees are paying attention to your short sale file.

There are some times when you may be frustrated with the short sale process and are considering expressing a concern to upper management. However, some concerns may fall on deaf ears. Here are a few examples:

  1. File is with mortgage insurance company, investor or senior management for final sign off and seems to be taking a lot of time. (It just takes time; be patient, take a listing or sell a house while you wait.)
  2. File has been knocked out of Equator because you did not complete a task on time. (I’m sorry, but that may have been your fault.)
  3. Bank employee has God complex. (If you experience this, just go with the flow. The transaction will end some day, and it is best not to burn too many bridges.)

While I am not a philosopher or a psychologist, I do believe that it’s best not to burn too many bridges when it comes to short sale processing. Thus, I try my best to go with the flow and be as accommodating and understanding of the banks’ policies and procedures as possible. But, when the short sale seller (my client, that I have a fiduciary obligation to represent) may end up losing out, that’s when I step up to the plate.

In order to get the short sale approved, will I run in front of a moving car like that pack of coyotes? I doubt it. I’m not quite as savage, but I tend to do what it takes to get the job done.

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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. Michael Kara

    April 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Great article – my team does hundreds of short sales and I would say your lists are completely accurate. Also, I couldn’t agree more about how short sale Realtors need to stick together; great point. Thanks for sharing!

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