Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn’t Be a Dilemma
This article titled: Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn’t Be a Dilemma, was written by Elizabeth for another publication back in the sorry years. Enjoy. — JaCi Wallace
Many Sacramento listing agents are receiving multiple offers, and not just on REOs or short sales. Any attractively priced, well appointed home in a desirable Sacramento location is likely to draw the attention of more than one buyer. The listing agent plays an important role toward helping the seller figure out which offer to accept because the highest offer isn’t always the best offer.
On top of that, sometimes the listing agent will bring his or her own buyer to the table. In that case, the agent is operating in dual agency but it does not relieve the agent from protecting the seller’s interests.
Take, for example, California taxation on debt forgiveness. Although the federal government will not tax mortgage debt forgiveness on an owner-occupied dwelling in 2009, the state of California is no longer exempt. The exemption expired Dec. 31, 2008. That means it is extremely important for a short sale listing agent to get the seller the highest price. A higher price equals less debt forgiveness. The lower the short fall, the lower the tax.
Yesterday an agent emailed to say she was about to write an offer on one of my Sacramento short sale listings. I told the agent that a buyer had expressed interest in writing an all-cash, full-price offer, so she would need to beat that offer. Fortunately, the buyer hadn’t yet contacted me directly to write the offer, so I had no fiduciary relationship to the buyer. Giving the seller highest and best as a listing agent means exactly that.
The thing is I don’t know if most agents would sabotage the chance to double-end their own deals just to net the seller more money, but that wasn’t my first thought. I was focused on getting the seller the highest price. After I clicked “send,” I watched my chances of earning twice the commission slip silently away. I thought about it before I clicked the send button, so it’s not like it just dawned on me, yet it was the right thing to do. I don’t think we can ever go wrong in this business by listening to our conscience and doing the ethical thing.
Having been on the other end as a buyer’s agent, I’m wondering how many agents would agree with me. Giving the seller highest and best is what we do.