Should a Sacramento Short Sale Agent Get Paid?

Short Sale OffersI received an obscure email yesterday from a person who was very upset because the writer realized a Sacramento short sale agent gets paid to do a short sale and, in his words, the seller gets nothing. At first, I could not believe my eyes, but as the words on the page popped out at me, I understood it was simply the frustration and anger of the person writing, and logic didn’t enter into it.

Because if pure logic entered into it, the writer would be upset with himself. He’s the one who, for better or worse, is saddled with an underwater home that he could no longer afford. Maybe it was bad timing, which is nobody’s fault, or maybe the person lost their job and can’t find another, which is also nobody’s fault. Or, maybe the person knew from the beginning the dangerous waters, hard to say, and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is where one is with the property now and what one intends to do about it. If a person doesn’t want to keep an underwater home, this homeowner faces two basic choices: short sale or foreclosure.

A Sacramento short sale agent really wants to help. It’s far easier to sell a home that is not a short sale, believe me.

For many homeowners, the short sale is the better solution:

  • A short sale removes personal liability.
  • Gives the sellers a clean break.
  • Transfers ownership in a dignified manner.
  • Relieves a seller of any further responsibility for the property.
  • Provides a closure.

And yes, an agent who sells the home and negotiates a successful short sale earns a commission. All of the fees — to the listing and selling brokers, the listing agents, the selling agents, and the costs of sale — are paid from the proceeds of sale; there is no upfront or out-of-pocket expense to the seller.

Try hiring a lawyer to give legal advice for free. They won’t do it. Well, they might if you offer to buy a martini — dry, with a splash of vermouth and a couple of jalapeno-stuffed olives. However, agents don’t sell homes for free, either. A Sacramento short sale agent sells a home on a contingent basis. When finally the home is sold and the seller receives short sale approval, the agent gets paid for services upon closing. Sellers are not paying that agent in advance or writing a check.

Moreover, simply because the short sale agent is receiving a commission doesn’t mean a seller is getting the short end of the stick. If a seller wants to see the short end of the stick, stand back and let the home go to foreclosure. Don’t bother trying to buy another home in 2 years after a foreclosure, because it won’t happen. Every time a seller applies for credit for the next 7 years after a foreclosure, the seller will need to disclose the foreclosure and the credit will most likely be denied.

If a homeowner wants to stick it to the man, do a short sale. If a seller wants to do the bank a favor, then by all means, let the bank seize the home in a foreclosure. Sellers are very angry with the way some employees at short sale banks talk down to them and treat them. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I hear from sellers. I bet most short sale agents and support staff who are involved with distressed sellers feel their pain; it’s hard not to.

However, to get angry with an agent because the agent is getting paid to perform a service is like getting mad that you get a paycheck when you go to work.

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