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And A Time For Every Purpose

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven.....

And isn’t it true that the key element in that verse finds itself involved in everything?  That element is time.  In the world of real estate that one item rules with an iron fist, and nowhere does it do so more than in the “Short Sale” arena.

Mortgage Finance and Campbell Communications released a study that indicates roughly 20% of all U.S. home sales in March 2008 were short sales.  This number would be much higher but for the fact that approximately one-third of short sales never go through.  So who is generating all of these transactions?  According to the survey two-thirds are initiated by homeowners and one-third by lenders.  But no matter how it gets initiated, in most cases it is a very time consuming process and the lender is most often the cause of the delay. 

The best advice a Realtor® can give to a homeowner facing foreclosure is to move quickly, because waiting too long may eliminate the short sale option.  But whether you as an agent can help your client move quickly or not is dependent upon how well you understand and facilitate the process. 

In the words of the Byrds … “A time to win and a time to lose,”…….

The short sale process is replete with road blocks encountered at the lender, and the first one may well be the first person you talk with.  If you don’t start the process with the lender’s “loss mitigation department”, you virtually have no chance of completing a short sale. This department is also known as the Foreclosures Department, Short Sale Department and Loan Modification Department.  If the lender doesn’t have a specialized department you may have to go through their legal department; but make that your last resort.  The bottom line is that if you don’t open the correct door you’re burning time that you and your client don’t have.

But getting in touch with the right party is just the beginning.  You need to be fully prepared to deal with the process under the terms and conditions established by the lender.  Each lender's loss mitigation department varies in their short sale procedures and they rarely offer short sale agreements unless all other options have been exhausted.  This is where a Realtor® trained in facilitating and negotiating short sales can fill a great need in today’s market – expediting the process and protecting their client’s interests.

Time is a critical element in the foreclosure process and knowing and understanding how to minimize its loss in the process is a highly valuable skill in today’s market.  The paperwork involved in a short sale alone can be a daunting task for those who don’t know what the lender requires and in what format it is to be submitted.  Patience and understanding are the watchwords in a short sale because the lender is going to take a long time to respond; let alone perform. 

Time – your sellers don’t have a lot of it and what they do have they can’t afford to waste.  The buyers also need to understand that the process is a daunting one at the outset and be encouraged to exercise patience.  Your task is not only managing the process but keeping the buyers and sellers engaged as time slips by. The answer is for all parties to exhibit great patience, but when you are sitting in the sellers’ or buyers’ shoes that’s not the easiest thing to do – and that’s your opportunity. 

Loss mitigation and the short sale are an excellent opportunity to expand your business, but they can become lengthy and time consuming if you aren’t trained in the process.  One of the best places to learn the skills necessary to compete in this opportunistic market is to take the Certified Short-Sale Professional (CSP) course from RealtyU that is now offered in a highly visual online format.  To learn more about this exciting new course visit …

-Jay Medley, Director of Corporate Marketing, RealtyU, Inc.





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