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Crash course for short sale beginners – how to get and stay productive

Short sale productivity

Short-sales are just about the only properties to list right now if you don’t have an REO account in most regions of the US. If you have a lead pipe to get the listing, you can make a great living listing and selling them, but if you have ever done a short-sale, you know it is very time consuming, with one of the longest sales cycles. That is why it’s important to have a very specific scalable management protocol to move them through to a close.

Get the listings:

This is a little bit tricky because the whole situation around a short-sale is not good, and the last thing people want is to be barraged by agents wanting to sell their house for a loss. The more successful strategies I have seen to get leads is by referral, and incoming sales strategies which means people contact you, and you don’t contact them. This is usually done by passive promotion with mailers or positioning yourself in front of people specifically looking for short-sale information in your area. You will need a lot of them because the close rate is low and you are very dependent on other people coming through for you on a certain timeline.


Banks using Equator have made this a little easier, but you still have to call to wait on hold with most places. And of course, they lose your package and papers a few times (every time)! By setting up a system, you can cut down the brain damage and jam these through as quickly as possible.

Do the upfront work:

Short sales generally need the same things to get going, and clients need to fit a certain mold to work. Just establish a package collection protocol. Get the bank info, and make sure they have filed all of their taxes. Then, use your template forms like authorization paperwork and have them fill it out. If you have these items written down somewhere, you will never miss something you need. You just have to collect from the client first then collect from the bank.

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Check for hold ups:

Make sure to check any outside lien holders that may hold up the process right from the start. Are the taxes paid? Utilities not in collection? HOA hasn’t racked up a massive fine list? Generally, they will work with you to resolve i,t so it’s best to do this work upfront (not including taxes). Here in California, junior liens get wiped out in foreclosure, so if the lien holder won’t negotiate the get 100% of nothing, it has some incentive.

Checking progress:

Delegate phone calls if possible. If not, schedule your call times in an easy to manage, time conscious way. Depending on the number of listings, try once a week to a maximum of five calls. If you have more than five, do the other weekly calls on a different day. Call for some on Monday morning, and do the next set on Thursday. As you get more files, fill in another day. Just keep them spaced if you can so that you don’t go crazy and need to be sent away!

Keep it organized:

The nice thing about long sales cycles is that it is pretty slow moving and easier to keep organized. If you create one system and progress plan, you can just continually plug listings into it to be processed. This includes the call schedule, and would also include buyer agent or seller updates. You will also need a way to store all data and documents in a way that is easy to access. Plus, you will have a lot of offers and backup offers in the wings you will need to keep track of. Create it once, and it can be used for as long as needed.

With these systems in place you should be able to get your time back to go out and do fun sales outside in the sun again. Short-sales are becoming more and more prominent in the market, and homeowners really need your help. If done correctly, everyone can walk away with their sanity, and without a foreclosure on their record… which will give them less time to qualify for a new loan on a home that you can sell them down the road.

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Written By

Ryan Schattner is a real estate broker associate with RE/MAX Gold in California, specializing in investment properties. He is also the creator of the Escrow Coordinator PLUS real estate business platform. His writing focuses on increasing productivity and efficiency through the use of technology, and planning.


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