Short Sales: Do you have what it takes?

Mar 16, 2011 9:06:58 AM

By Bryon Ellington, Chief Products Officer and Roger Higle, Course Writer, Keller Williams Realty International

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
- Thomas A Edison

How many of us know someone who has foreclosed on their home, or is at least close to being in foreclosure? If there were 100 of us sitting in a room, 40 or more of you would have raised your hand.

As most Americans are aware, more than 40 percent of all residential real estate transactions are either foreclosed homes, or are on the road to foreclosure. Of those “on the road,” nearly one-third become short sales in which a homeowner and an agent negotiate a settlement with the homeowner’s lender to sell the property – and settle the homeowner’s debt – for less than the amount owned.

While some indicators point to positive momentum, the fact is best estimates from data firms such as CoreLogic and RealtyTrac report there are conservatively 4.5 million homeowners who are in default on mortgage payments in the United States right now.

That’s almost as many as were sold in all of 2010!
It’s time to get on board and help.

Any agent who is in the short sale trenches will agree that short sales are hard work that call for drive, dedication, persistence, patience and resourcefulness, attention to detail, organization and knowledge of local property values.

Ultimately, success in the short sale sector comes down to mindset – along with a lot of networking. Are you prepared to help? Here are three questions to ask yourself before you get on board.

Do you have the right mindset?

The short sale business includes plenty of fear and worry, conflict, resistance, intimidation, lack of focus and poor communication. Your challenge is to drive through these to success.

Fred Weaver, a short sale expert out of Tempe, Arizona puts it this way:

“Begin short sales with the end in mind. The homeowner is normally in trouble. The buyer is impatient and so is their agent. The lenders are demanding. Your task is to get the homeowner to the end – a settlement and no worse liability than in foreclosure.”

Before you begin working in short sales, make sure your mind is aptly prepared to take action amidst many challenges.

Are you aware of the expectations?

There are many players in the short sale transaction. Each one of those individuals has a motivation and even incentive to get the job done. Your ability to tap into those expectations can determine how and when the short sale transaction is resolved.


Are you committed to learning?

Best practices say you MUST be a student of the business every single day. Along with regular lead generation and an understanding of negotiation scripts and dialogues, it’s good to know local board and MLS rules, understand state recourse law, use experienced title and escrow people, and build relationships with BPO agents, appraisers, as well as lender/servicer relationships.

Keller Williams Realty has a powerful network of short sale agents who are giving of their time, ideas, and specific suggestions for how to navigate the rough terrain of short sales. They blog, teach, and advise other agents all the time. For many of them, reducing foreclosures in their markets is a crusade – it’s a serious business that enables them to help people in personal and financial distress every day.

Says top short sale agent Brett Tanner of Phoenix, Ariz., “There’s plenty of opportunity for anyone who really wants to do this. This market will be with us for years to come.”

Think you have what it takes?


Keller Williams Realty’s upcoming Short Sale Mastery tour launches on March 31, 2011 and runs through the end of June with 30 stops in regions throughout the United States. The one-day, intensive workshop covers every step of the short-sale process and includes the insights and expertise from top, local short-sale agents. For more information or to register, click here.