chase short sale

What is the Problem With 2014 Sacramento Short Sales?

Short Sale Sign in SacramentoThe problems with Sacramento short sales in years past used to lie with the banks and the buyers, but those days are long gone. Buyers and short sale banks are not the source of our misery today. Most of the buyers who enter an agreement to buy a short sale are willing to wait it out and realize there are a few fees the bank might not authorize such as pest and home warranties and 100% of the escrow fee. They possess realistic expectations. The banks have invested money and effort into establishing entire short sale departments that mostly did not exist from 2006 to 2008. They’ve put systems and procedures in place, and are constantly tweaking their efficiency and effectiveness.

There are some banks that face little struggles now and then such as the Chase HELOC departments in Equator and the banks that try to satisfy regulations and cope with the fallout from the National Mortgage Settlement, yet cause months of delays due to ineptness, but for the most part, you can’t really blame the banks anymore when a short sale takes forever. OK, you can blame Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but even those guys are shaping up their systems. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t receive a timely email from somebody at Fannie Mae to say by golly they have received the BPO, and they’re still working on a pre-approved value. It’s better than a poke in the eye with a stick, even if it’s sorta meaningless after 2 weeks.

I’m not getting a lot of pushback and attitude from buyers either because they are educated now. They do their own homework online, they talk to their buyer’s agent, and they’re prepared to wait for short sale approval. They realize that when they go into an escrow in which the Best Sacramento Short Sale Agent is negotiating, that escrow is likely to close. I cannot remember the last short sale that did not close, and I’ve closed hundreds of them — more than any other real estate agent in a 7-county area since 2006.

The problems I’m seeing today do not stem from buyers nor the short sale banks. Nope. They cannot shoulder the blame anymore in today’s Sacramento short sale world. Instead, the problems tend to stem from the sellers themselves. There’s not always a full proof way to figure out which sellers deserve help and which don’t really give a crap. So, try not to blame the agent if the short sale goes south because the sellers messed it up. Most of the short sale agents I know are professionals who care deeply about their sellers and sometimes can inadvertently overlook their shortcomings.

Short sale agents need to be more vigilant, especially since short sales make up such a small portion of our market (about 10%) — short sales now appeal to smaller pools of buyers and will take longer to sell. Fact, Jack. My advice to fellow Sacramento short sale agents is try to make certain the effort you expend is for a seller who is willing to cooperate and see it through to the end. Otherwise, cut the losers loose. You owe it your own sanity, and you owe it to the buyers. You may represent the seller, but you still owe honesty and good faith dealings to the buyers.

Sacramento Real Estate and Yoda: Times They are a Changin’


Sacramento River in South Land Park Hills

As I look over my listings and escrows in Sacramento this morning, I see a pattern. I’m not talking about those free flashbacks we were promised and never received — what a rip. No swirls and dots nor peacock feather trails. Nope, the pattern I see is every single one of these listings and escrows has a challenge, for lack of a better term. All of the challenges are different, but they are challenges just the same. Not insurmountable, either, but it’s not the same for a Sacramento real estate agent in 2014 as in previous years. Selling real estate the last half of 2013 and early 2014 is harder. The times they are a changin’. You wonder where Yoda got his manner of speaking? I tell ya, he stole it from Dylan. But I digress.

For example, one Sacramento short sale presents a peculiar difficulty with Chase Bank. To provide you with further clarity, consider the fact that every short sale agent probably felt like that Meg Ryan scene in When Harry Met Sally when Chase Bank last year began using Equator. However, this year, its HELOC department is stuck in bureaucracy and over the course of two months can’t seem to open the file. I kick, I nudge, I push, I sweet-talk, I escalate; I set that Chase short sale underwriting department on fire and run out the back door, and they aren’t budging. Feet glued to the floor. It’s as though they are lobotomized. But eventually, Chase will get it together; it’s the Peter Principle in action.

Another escrow is stuck in limbo until the bankruptcy court releases the home or authorizes the sale. The court date has been pushed forward, just when I had hoped it would be resolved. Are you involved in bankruptcy proceedings is not usually a question I ask a seller when I accept an equity listing. I imagine in this economy the bankruptcy lawyers are doing a ton of business, though.

The ripples of the past are still present. We Sacramentans haven’t completely emerged from the sea like Bo Derek: all cornrows and smiles and tan. Nope, we’re more like Tank Girl coming home to discover the earth looks like steaming lava fields on Big Island and treasuring that baby tree sprout, straining toward the sun from a sidewalk crack.

I have another escrow that’s nearing 45 days and the buyer’s loan is still not approved. That’s because the buyer wasn’t actually approved by the bank at the inception — like most of the bogus crap passed off as meaning something, the pre-approval letters make better paper airplanes. The buyer also could not satisfy loan conditions for the longest time, and it seems like nobody really pushed the buyer to perform, except for my sellers. Hello? Clock ticking.

Experience has taught me that these issues will get worked out, and we will close. Moreover, eventually the overpriced listings will be reduced or we’ll find one of those tasty Bay area buyers. Sacramento real estate is a fairly tight market that often moves in circles, it can be like a roulette wheel. Make sure you have a good real estate agent at your side. Sellers today need a smart agent who can offer sensible advice on such matters like always double your odds on craps and let’s not overlook Kenny Rogers: know when to fold ’em and back off. This is a great time to sell if you know what you’re doing!

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email