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You don’t need anti-bacterial gel to write a clean short sale offer

In the state of California, we have all sorts of rules and forms that we can use for our short sale transactions—making it a little bit easier on the agents when presenting and receiving short sale offers. The California Association of Realtors® created these addenda and advisories in order to cover many of the problems and concerns that may arise in the course of the short sale transaction.

One common problem with short sale negotiations and short sale offers occurs when buyers demand items that the seller’s lender will not approve. For example, buyers in certain states often ask for a home warranty, yet it is extremely unlikely that the mortgage lender will approve payment for the home warranty out of their net proceeds. Often buyers request a closing cost credit, but certain investor note holders make it a policy to never approve closing cost concessions to the buyer. Other buyers often want the bank to approve payment for pest control and termite treatment. Many banks will not approve this line item either.

Best way to get a short sale approved quickly?

When writing an offer on a short sale, make sure to write the offer as clean as possible. By clean, I mean two things: 1) make it physically easy to read (it will be faxed and emailed about a zillion times over the course of the transaction), and 2) make it as clean or uncomplicated as possible. Most banks would prefer not to pay septic, pest control, and home warranty. So, buyers with cleaner offers will have a much better chance of getting their offers approved by the bank.

Short sale listing agents need to know that cleaner offers are more likely to close. So, when working with the seller to accept an offer, consider the fact that less complicated offers may result in more quick and efficient closings. As a listing agent, I would check to see the dates and time periods that the buyer requests. If there are multiple offers on the property, I would help my client to identify the strongest offer–the “cleanest” one–a buyer who is, perhaps, willing to wait and perhaps even willing to make an earnest money deposit in order to maintain their first position status.

Short sales are tricky transactions that require the agents to be extremely attentive to all of the terms and conditions of the contract–perhaps even more so than ever before. But, working these deals is also a great opportunity to do just that–familiarize yourself with all of the text of the contracts. Since we position ourselves as experts in the field, it is important to be familiar with the ins and outs of these contracts—and that doesn’t necessarily require anti-bacterial gel.

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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.


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