Posted by: Catherine | November 26, 2010

Short sale? Where to start…


Short sales are complicated. It’s tough when so many around you are going through short sales and foreclosures, its easy to be lulled into thinking that not only are they easy, without consequence and your best solution – but be wary of where you get your advice.

I’ve written many , many blog posts over the years about short sales, what to watch out for, where to get help and now more than ever it is VITAL you get experienced, thoughtful advice before proceeding.  Get information from resources in all facets of the deal.  Lastly, it’s a real estate transaction – FIRSTLY it is a legal matter, a tax matter and a financial and emotional decision that must be made with careful thought.   Have you tried everything to save your home? Have you worked with your bank directly?  Have you worked with a free HUD certified counseling agency?  You must know the possibilities of consequences.   Words like recourse, debt cancellation, senate bills, IRS decisions, debt forgiveness, state tax rules and more you must know and a REALTOR can not advise.

And, I may surprise you by saying this, but that good advice should come from an attorney, your CPA or a HUD counselor – not just a Realtor. If you interview a Realtor, and they don’t tell you in your FIRST conversation to seek the counsel of these folks – be suspect.

There are far too many real estate agents out there who only took a course to become an ‘expert’ with no real life experience and knowing just enough to be dangerous.

And, its not just me thinking this. Recently our Department of Real Estate put out a consumer warning. This consumer warning is specific to agents with these designations. So beware. Every designation related to short sales that I know of are based soley on paying for a course, and one of the biggest is a for profit company, several hundred dollars and requires no experience at all.

Check out the consumert alert here:
http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/ca/ConsumerAlert_ConsumerIndustryWarning.pdf

Make sure any agent you talk to has referrals to reputable attorneys, CPAs, and HUD counseling agencies.  If short sale is YOUR best alternative, who will be handling the negotiations and processing with your bank?

I received an ad myself the other day from a third party short sale negotiation service offering her services to me. In California you must be a licensed real estate broker to negotiate short sales. I recently did a blog post on this very subject. This person is not licensed. These are the kinds of groups agents may be suckered into using for YOUR short sale. Be very careful. This is too important a decision to leave to inexperienced agents, using inexperienced, unlicensed “companies,”  looking simply to jump on the bandwagon. Experience and a full network of resources is vital.

My wonderful colleague in Arizona, Frances Flynn Thorsen, has worked tirelessly in her state to raise awareness of these issues. She has earned my deepest respect for all she’s done to educate homeowners, and to keep home RETENTION as the goal.  She founded the “Truth in Housing Matters” television show, and you can read some good posts on her Facebook page here.

She recently did a hard hitting PSA about what she calls ‘short sale hawks,’ take a look:

Beware of Short Sale Hawks

Just as location is the buzzword in real estate, experience and resources should be the key words in any short sale discussion.

Check out the many free homeowner help resources such as:

www.makinghomeaffordable.gov

And those found at this page on this blog:

Get free foreclosure and short sale help free locally

Catherine Myers
Real Estate Broker Assoc
DRE 01337829

Windermere Bay Area Properties
Walnut Creek, CA
925-683-2125


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