WHAT TO ASK WHEN INTERVIEWING A REALTOR TO HANDLE YOUR SHORT SALE:
How long have you been doing short sales? Short sales are highly complex transactions and very different from traditional real estate sales. Financial consequences for short sellers can be significant. It’s critical to have your short sale handled by a highly experienced professional. Most real estate agents simply do not understand short sales, though they may still volunteer to take yours on.
How many short sales have you personally closed on the listing side? Representing buyers in a short sale is a totally different ballgame than representing a seller in one. You are looking for someone who has closed multiple short sales on the seller side, and not just a few short sales here and there along the way. Tens, if not hundreds of closed short sales is preferable.
Out of short sales listed, how many have you closed? Listing short sales does not mean closing them. You are looking for someone with a good track record of actually closing their short sales. Less than half of listed short sales actually close, the number one reason being mismanagement.
Who does your negotiating? Is the agent negotiating the short sale? Is negotiation being outsourced to a third party? Is the Realtor expecting YOU to negotiate your own short sale? Best to find out now.
Do you have experience with my lender? Ideally your agent will have closed many short sales with your specific lender(s). If your loan is with one of the big guys– Bank of America, Chase, Ocwen, Wells Fargo – you can definitely expect to find an agent experienced with those specific lenders. If you have a small unknown- this may be more difficult.
What kind of a timeline can I expect? Although no short sale timelines are set in stone, an experienced agent with a track record of success will be able to give you a general time frame as to how your short sale will go.
What will happen with my second mortgage? A second mortgage or other junior liens add some variables to the mix…if you have a second mortgage it is critical to find someone with experience working with multiple lien holders, and they will be able to prep you in advance for what to expect.