Agents Who Represent Themselves on a Short Sale

Pretty Young Girl Child Pulling Loose Tooth with PliersTrying to buy a short sale for yourself is like yanking out your own tooth with a pair of pliers. Some people say the whole experience of a short sale reminds them of a root canal. When I was a kid, my mother used to tie a string around my tooth, and she tied the other end around a door knob. Then, she slammed the door. Sometimes, it took a couple of tries. Yikes. But it beat grabbing the pliers and doing it myself.

I don’t know of a single lawyer who would try to practice law in a field in which the lawyer had no knowledge. Yet, real estate agents try to do it all the time. In fact, when I represent lawyers for short sales — and I work with a lot of lawyers — I always suggest they get legal advice from a real estate lawyer. If a lawyer is in corporate law, she doesn’t know the ramifications of a short sale. Likewise, agents who work in residential real estate should not try to sell commercial property. It’s bad for the clients. It’s probably a violation of the Code of Ethics as well because it’s not in an agent’s clients’ best interest to hire a novice who knows nothing about the field to represent them.

The only thing that’s worse than representing a client when you should not is when that client is yourself. Because that’s just plain stupidity at the worse levels. I have an agent from southern California who is trying to write an offer on a short sale for herself. She apparently knows little about residential real estate in Sacramento, much less a short sale. She is also not a member of our Sacramento Board of REALTORS, so we are not required to reciprocate with her.

I have explained to the agent that she was missing the correct forms in her offer to make it a short sale offer. In short, the offer she dropped at my office because she doesn’t “do the computer” is not written correctly. I explained some of this to the seller when I sent it to her and suggested the seller ignore it. The offer has not closing escrow written all over it. The proposed buyer did not follow instructions in MLS because she cannot read the instructions as she is not a member. Her loan is complicated, involving several community agencies, which makes her not a good candidate for a short sale, even if her offer was written correctly, which it is not. Short sale approval letters from the banks on this particular short sale stipulate a 30-day closing, and her loans would take at least 45 days. Her preapproval letter is outdated and does not include a calculation for HOA dues, yet she is trying to buy a condo. And to keep a small commission because she has a real estate license.

One in about every 35 people in California has a real estate license. Having a real estate license does not make a person a real estate agent. You know what makes a person a real estate agent? Earning your living as a real estate agent, year after year. It’s experience.

When it comes time for my husband and me to buy another home in another area, I am certainly not planning to represent myself. I will hire an experienced local agent who works with retirees. There is just too much that could wrong. This particular real estate agent is doing herself a grave injustice trying to save a couple of bucks. She should hire an experienced Sacramento short sale agent to help her to buy a short sale. When I told her in the nicest way I could think of that she deserves her own agent, she raised her voice, threatened to call the NAACP and accused all agents in Sacramento of discrimination. What?

I wanted to say: Lady, I can’t see you over the phone. I have not seen a photo of you. So, I do not know the color of your skin and even if I did, which I don’t, it would not make any difference. Moreover, to imply that this Sacramento short sale agent would discriminate is simply preposterous. It’s completely ridiculous. Insulting. The problem is this poor woman needs help. She says she has a friend who is a real estate agent in Sacramento. I sure hope she calls him.


Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.