Friday, January 14, 2011

My buyer wants to offer on a short sale. Now what?

Our attorneys and settlement officers have been busy providing training to agents on the nuances of short sales, and we recently launched our Short Trac Short Sale Coordination Program. We've closed hundreds of short sales over the past two years, so we have more than a cursory understanding of them and the lenders who approve them.

One question that we've heard a lot recently is, "OK, I have no interest in listing a short sale, but my buyers are interested in buying one. How do I avoid the black hole of 'offer and non-response'?"

Greg Doherty, an agent in Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Alexandria office, has created a very simple yet thorough questionnaire which he presents to listing agents BEFORE he'll submit an offer. With his permission, I'm reproducing the body of the letter here.


Dear [Listing Agent]:

Can you share any information about this Short Sale?

  1. Is the property fully available?
  2. Do you have any offers at the moment?
  3. If so, how many?
  4. If you do have current offers, were any of them written by you or someone on your team?
  5. How many lenders are involved?
  6. Who are the lenders?
  7. Have you submitted the “Package” to the Lender(s) ?
  8. Has the BPO been done?
  9. Do you have a time frame from the lenders?
  10. Are the sellers cooperating?
  11. Do you have a clear line of communication with the lenders?
  12. Are the lenders participating in the new government sponsored programs?
  13. Have you been notified by the bank regarding foreclosure status?
  14. Is there any additional info that you can share that would be helpful?

I appreciate your help. I look forward to working with you to reach a successful conclusion.

Thank you.


Greg Doherty, Realtor®


The answers to these questions - or sometimes the lack of answers - may provide some good insight as to how this deal may go for your buyer. Wouldn't you rather know before you submit the offer, and not six months later?

BONUS TIP: Ask your title company if they'll provide a "current owner search" of the property to determine how many deeds of trust are of record and what the approximate amount of indebtedness is. This will tell you just how much of a short sale it really is!

As always, our team is here and willing to help you should you need help with a short sale!