Sacramento Sellers Hounded By So-Called Short Sale Agents

short-sale-agents.300x225I don’t ordinarily like to expose or discuss the underbelly of the real estate business, but I will if I believe it has value to the consumer. There are some agents who talk trash about other real estate agents just to make themselves look better by comparison, which is kind of scummy and throws a person into the same camp. But there are good and bad professionals in any business, anywhere you look. Sometimes, it just might seem like there is more disparity in real estate. Perhaps because there are so many of us — something like one out of every 35 people in California holds a real estate license.

Take one of my new clients, for example. While talking to this seller last week — who is about to embark on a short sale — he told me something must have happened recently to trigger all the calls from short sale agents. He said his phone had been ringing off the hook with offers of “assistance.” He was very surprised at the nature and tone of some of those calls and wondered how they got his number. The sad thing is, nowadays, falling behind in your mortgage payments can trigger such a flood of harassing soliciting calls.

First, nobody should attempt to do a short sale by hiring some agent who calls out of the blue or shows up on their doorstep. You should get your short sale agent from word of mouth or through research. Ever since the booming end of the colossal short sale era in 2012, agents have been frantically trying to grab that elusive golden ring of short sales. Even if they have no idea what they are doing or they have attended a half-day class and are now calling themselves an “expert” in short sales — how is a seller supposed to know if they are fakes?

Second, a seller should not be forced to do a short sale, pushed into a short sale or talked into doing a short sale. If a seller doesn’t want to do a short sale, why should that seller be harassed called by other agents who are trying to get some business? Agents typically don’t go around calling complete strangers and pushing them to sell. But some agents will do it to a seller who has an underwater home.

The way they get the seller’s phone number is by subscribing to a service that provides it or by getting it directly from the bank. Some banks such as Wells Fargo and Chase Bank have been reaching out (ack, I hate that term and look, here I am using it) to real estate agents and promising them short sales in exchange for a little mortgage business. They give the agents a list of sellers who are in default (behind in their payments), and agents cold call this list and try to persuade a seller to list with them as a short sale. It wouldn’t be so bad it were only one agent doing this, but it’s dozens of them and. in many cases, these are first- or second-year agents without a lot of experience. Because veteran real estate agents typically do not cold call.

The other way they find out is by asking a title company to provide them with a list of homes in preforeclosure or by subscribing to a private service that provides them with this very public information, or going to the office of the county recorder to find the information in person. Some agents belong to a program called HR 3648, which I suggest you steer clear from. A nonprofit director called me the other day to say she received a letter from HR 3648 that made it look like it was part of Keep Your Home California.Org. I did a search on that website and could not find Program 3648. No surprise.

If you’re looking for an experienced Sacramento short sale agent, ask for a referral, and you might very well be referred to me. I have a lot of previous satisfied short sale clients, hundreds of them. You can research my professional stats, or you can just call Elizabeth Weintraub, at 916 233 6759, Lyon Real Estate.

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