Short sales are not a walk in the park. Actually, it’s more like a walk through a demilitarized zone. Even with extensive certification through a highly reputable company, there’s no replacement for first-hand experience. When looking for a short sale agent, try to find one that’s represented both sides of the fence. (Both the buyer AND the seller in these situations) Find one that’s gotten their hands dirty in the world of short sale and foreclosure on numerous occasions. No one said it better than the great C.S.Lewis:
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
Here are a few questions for you to ask to see what they have learned.
- What is your experience with short sales?
Finding a listing agent with a knowledge and understanding of this type of process should be your #1 priority. You don’t want to waste time, money, and energy dealing with someone who has never bridged this ever changing gap of constant rules, regulations, and expectations. The short sale agent should be on a first name basis with many lenders, have a realistic understanding of procedures, and they should also know the “How? When? And Why?” of foreclosures.
- Where’s the financial package?
Any short sale agent should know the first step of the process is getting short sale packages from major lenders filled out immediately and sent back, like, yesterday. There has to be proof of finances, check stubs, bank account information, tax returns, and the promise of your first born son. (Well, maybe not that one, but it sure feels like it.)
- Are there multiple lenders and liens?
If, in fact, there are multiples, then get ready for quite a long journey with that agent. All parties involved will have to come to an agreement on how much money they will receive. This isn’t often an easy feat. It will be the agent’s job to get them all to reach an agreement amid the squabble.
- Which offer will you submit to the lender?
Lenders DO NOT want to sift through mountains of submitted offers. Only one executed contract should be sent to them along with an HUD-1. Quite frankly, the only offer should be the best offer! The agent should know this, and if he/she doesn’t you may want to move on to someone else.
Depending on the agent and their knowledge, this process could be very easy for you or extremely hard. Ask the questions listed above and be sure to find the agent who knows the answers. They will be right for you.