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How to

When receiving short sale advice, consider the source

You wouldn’t ask your neurologist for real estate opinions, nor your barber about the economic history of Brooklyn, so why not be clear on who is advising you on the short sale process?

short sale expert

short sale expert

Obtain Reliable Information

Back in the days when I taught high school English, we always used to do a research paper. So, each and every year, we would discuss how to select reliable sources when writing on a given topic. For example, you may not want to ask Katy Perry for information on the American Revolution.

The same goes for any information you are looking in the field of real estate. Say, for example, that your client wants to know whether he or she will qualify for a the new short sale incentive program at Bank of America or for the HAFA Program. In these examples, you need to do a proper and thorough investigation and consider the source of your information.

Just a few weeks ago, I ran into a situation where a seller allegedly called one of the major lending institutions and inquired as to whether he would qualify for an incentive program. He told me that the bank employee said that he would not qualify for anything. I thought that I could get him some relocation assistance, and he kept on insisting that the bank employee told him ‘no’. He even stated that I was just wasting my time. The thing is that I know that the first line of triage at many of the major lenders does not have access to all of the information required to address certain borrower questions. And, it seems that I was right: three weeks later, the short sale lender has verbally approved several thousand in relocation assistance.

How to Assess Reliable Sources

That’s why you need to consider the source. When you contact the short sale lender, you need to keep the following in mind:

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  • Not everyone bank employee that answers the telephone has been thoroughly schooled on the short sale process.
  • Not everyone who works at the banks is familiar with the ins and outs of all of the short sale programs available
  • Unless agents are actively working the distressed property market, they may not be familiar with some of the subtle nuances associated with short sales.

One of the best ways to work around these issues and to be able to get answers is to know when it is time to make a call. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything. But, the one skill I have in my pocket is the ability to know when and who to call to get the answers that I need.

That’s what I did for Mr. I Don’t Qualify. I was so confused to why he was asserting that he was correct that I called one of my friends at the bank (someone who is in the know) and confirmed that he may have gotten incorrect information when he dialed in.

So, the short sale lesson of the day is to consider the source. Make a list of people ‘in the know’ and use it when you need answers to tough questions about the distressed property arena.

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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