sacramento short sale agent
Whose problem is it when a Chase FHA short sale takes more than a year to close escrow? I get so many calls from home buyers wondering why is that Carmichael short sale still for sale month after month, and I feel like telling them to go look in the mirror. Yet, this home I only sold 3 times, so that’s about right, on average it works out to about 4 months for each buyer. I am one of the few agents in Sacramento who will handle a short sale, which is why I have sold more short sales than anybody over the past 10 years.
That’s because I don’t need it to close in 30 days or 60 days to pay my bills, like some agents. If the lender messes up, I can fix it; plus, I’ll still stay dedicated to the transaction. I don’t bail when the going gets rough. If the buyer cancels, I’ll find another buyer. I don’t give up. I don’t take no for an answer. There is always a way to close a transaction, even a Chase FHA short sale.
We listed this home a year ago. Got a buyer, all documents submitted to the lender right away, and we received the Approval to Participate in the FHA short sale program in record time. Things were looking up. We postponed the trustee’s auction a couple of times and were on the verge of getting the approval letter when the buyer suddenly canceled after 6 weeks. And that’s when the file started to go head downhill.
Sold again immediately to a set of investors represented by their mother, a real estate agent. We burned through 5 negotiators for this Chase FHA short sale when things became very twisted and convoluted. Just as we were about to receive approval, the negotiator at Chase realized the buyer’s agent was related to the buyer and she denied the file. The solution, of course, was for the buyer to be represented by another agent, but the mother said no way, Jose. If I can’t get paid, we’re not closing.
Yeah, way to win Mother of the Year award.
The buyers canceled and we found new buyers and put them into escrow. Submitted all of the paperwork. Then, for some unknown reason out of the blue, Chase decided to approve the first set of buyers as long as the mother substituted a new buyer’s agent. The mother finally gave in, hired another agent, unwound the cancellation and we got approval. Eureka. The poor buyers whose offer we submitted was ignored by Chase. How do you like those apples? Chase approved the wrong file.
We moved through the home inspection and were getting ready to close when the investor buyers and their mom for unknown reasons abruptly canceled. Maybe their mother found them a deal she could get paid more on? Stranger things have happened. I went back to the second set of buyers who were shoved aside by Chase to ask if they were still interested. Their agent said far as he was concerned, they are still in contract. So we moved ahead with them.
Just as we were ready to fund, the negotiator at Chase noticed the buyer’s lender and the buyer’s agent had the same address. So he denied the closing. Conflict, he said. Chase gave the impression it did not want to approve the short sale, but I knew they would. The bank was just inept. So the buyers hired a new buyer’s agent and prepared again to close. This time the negotiator objected to the seller signing on the wrong line and asked to have the arm’s length resigned.
But you know, it closed yesterday. At the 11th hour. Just before the expiration. It closed at the same price we started at a year ago. So when you see a short sale has been on the market for a long time, this is probably what’s going on. If you need a Chase FHA short sale to sell, I’m the Sacramento Realtor who can get it done. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a bank try to discount our real estate commissions, but a Guild Mortgage short sale shows the bank is not in tune with Sacramento short sales. All of the federally insured mortgages, including the HAFA short sale program, pay 6% commission but not a Guild Mortgage short sale. By the time I’m through paying my assistant for handling all of the paperwork, the net result is pretty minimal.
The MLS instructions allow the buyer’s agent to share in that forced reduction. Sometimes, depending on the transaction, including how much work I have to do on the buyer’s side, I let the buyer’s agent share in that reduction, but I have not done that for a long time. Generally, I am generous. I often will absorb the full hit myself rather than pass it along to the other agent. Especially if that agent has cooperated fully with the terms.
No joke, we ask buyer’s agents to hop through hoops before getting into contract on a short sale. That’s because with few exceptions, the short sales I work on close. When the #1 short sale agent in Sacramento takes on a short sale, that buyer better be committed to waiting for approval and fully qualified to close escrow. Although, I worked with a seller recently who decided to bring his loan current and keep the house. So anything can happen.
It’s not as easy as it used to be to start over on a short sale when the buyer flakes out after approval. That is the worst kiss of death that can happen to a seller. But I am not worried about the buyers for this short sale. They are working with an extremely competent buyer’s agent who asks all the right questions and refers top mortgage lenders.
I ask other short sale agents in Sacramento to consider the other side when working on a Guild Mortgage short sale. Just because the MLS rules allow you to hit the buyer’s agent with a commission reduction, is it really necessary to do it? If the agent is a jerk, well, that’s a different story. But if the agent is making your transaction happen, maybe it’s a good idea not to reduce their commission just because the Guild Mortgage short sale doesn’t honor the same fees other lenders do.
Because agents rarely write a Sacramento short sale offer nowadays, especially if there is a similar home that can close escrow sooner, it is not unusual for an agent to overlook how a seller and her listing agent may view the terms submitted. In fact, now that I think about it, many agents, it seems, tend to ignore the other side of the transaction. They don’t always think ahead or consider how the offer might be received, you know, they seem incapable of predicting how the seller may react. They just know what they hope to accomplish when they barrel forward, guns blazing, and then wonder why their offers are continually rejected. Must be somebody else’s problem, not theirs.
Usually there is a little bit of give and take when negotiating, except for short sales. A Sacramento short sale offer is a whole different animal, yet some agents treat it like a regular sale. It is not a regular sale. Everything is subject to bank approval. The biggest mistake that buyers and their agents make is to think the bank gives a crap about them, and they apply all sorts of weird thoughts to the process like the bank is desperate or their offer is in the bank’s best interest, both of which are crazy. They think like Donald Trump and assume the world revolves around them.
We analyze every Sacramento short sale offer to try to predict the likelihood of the transaction closing. I share with buyer’s agents the fact no agent over a 7-county area during the past 10 years has more closed short sales than Elizabeth Weintraub. Not to brag about my track record, no, my point is to set aside any fears that the short sale could blow up or somehow not close. When I accept a short sale listing, I take it because it fits criteria to close. When I discuss a Sacramento short sale offer with my seller, we examine the buyer’s ability to stick with the transaction, rise to the occasion (if required) and to close.
The types of terms that make a good purchase offer for a Sacramento short sale agent are the buyers’ strong commitment to the short sale process and amount of flexibility. This means being willing to wait for approval, even if that approval will take 3 months or longer. Our reasoning lies with the fact the clock for foreclosure is almost always ticking. If the short sale buyer skips out on us, we might not have enough time to sell to another buyer. Banks won’t always postpone a trustee’s sale.
We also prefer buyers who can close within 30 days. Buyers who are strapped for cash, need down-payment assistance or closing cost assistance are not always a good candidate for a short sale because:
a) short sales are sold AS IS, meaning any lender-required conditions are generally satisfied by the buyer, and
b) not every short sale bank will give away a big chunk of its profit to the buyer as a closing cost credit, and
c) there are a number of fees many banks refuse to authorize, which means the buyer must pay those fees.
No money? The short sale cancels. Further, if the sales price is the top sales price the buyer can qualify for, that buyer will be hosed if the bank demands a higher price. Our seller’s market in Sacramento is appreciating. Due to the time lag for short sale approval and due to some banks’ inabilities to hire credible BPO agents who turn in screwed-up values, that sales price could increase. If the buyer has zero flexibility, that’s not a gold-standard Sacramento short sale offer.
You might wrongly presume after all of this that we don’t accept VA offers, but we do. We love VA buyers and will work with VA loans all day long, providing the buyers are committed and meet the criteria of a good Sacramento short sale offer.
The short sale buyers who purchased my seller’s home in Antelope really lucked out on a terrific deal in several ways. As the top Sacramento short sale agent, of course I represented the sellers. The buyers were represented by someone else. We went on the market at the end of March, yet it took us 3 weeks to get an offer for this short sale. Even in a limited inventory market, there were still other homes in Antelope to buy that could close right away, so many buyers passed by this gem. Few want to look at short sales when there is an abundance of regular homes for sale.
Sitting quietly by itself in Antelope Trails among many grander and larger homes, this home seemed larger than it is. And it is larger. The strange thing about this home’s square footage actually affects many other homes in newer subdivisions. Not just in Antelope, mind you, but I have encountered this particular situation in homes in West Sacramento, homes in Lincoln, including homes in Elk Grove. The square footage can often be published incorrectly in the public records because builders made final changes to the floor plans without updating their own records.
This happens because maybe a builder offered a design plan that included a three-car garage but the buyers chose a two-car garage so they could utilize the extra interior space for an office. Or the plan called for soaring cathedral ceilings, and the buyers chose a master-suite retreat option that enclosed some of that space. Enclosing space on the second floor can also add square footage to a home. It’s an inexpensive option.
You might think: what is 300 square feet? These short sale buyers will find out when it comes time to sell. A simple way to figure the square footage benefit is if certain homes in Antelope, say, sell at $160 a square foot, an additional 300 square feet could mean another $48,000 in equity. The short sale buyers didn’t think about that when they trespassed on this property, poking around, peeking in the windows and then claiming the sellers had removed fixtures. You hear a lot of horror stories about short sales, but like I informed their agent, I don’t work with sellers like that. My sellers clean up their homes the best they can and are responsible people.
The short sale buyers who bought this home gained an extra 300 square feet or so on top of receiving a slight discount on price due to the waiting period. Free equity. With two loans, it can take 90 days to get short sale approval. These buyers also had a home to sell, but since most banks will not accept a contingent offer, I suggested that the buyers keep the sale of their existing home, if at all possible, out of the short sale offer.
Lots of moving parts and trust on both sides go into making short sale buyers close escrow. At least these guys didn’t mess up their credit report while they waited, like other short sale buyers I won’t mention.
We just closed a short sale with a tax lien in Elk Grove. Tax liens are not a new thing; often when people fall into financial troubles, they end up owing the Franchise Tax Board (California state taxes) along with the usual suspect, the I.R.S. If things are so rough that you can’t make your mortgage payment, you probably can’t pay the I.R.S either. When you don’t pay the government, federal or state, the government files a tax lien against you, which is recorded in the public records of the county where you own property.
The interesting fact about personal income tax liens is a seller can sell a short sale with a tax lien because they can be released during the short sale. Ordinarily, you can’t close a short sale with outstanding liens in the public records because the buyer’s lender would object and refuse to close. It’s tough enough getting the short sale banks to understand that the personal income tax liens can be released to allow the short sale. The bank negotiators sometimes demand the tax lien be released before they will issue the short sale approval letter, which is ridiculous and impossible, so we just escalate the issue up the ranks until we find a more intelligent person to deal with.
Doing a Short Sale With a Tax Lien
The reason the government will release the tax liens is because there is no equity in the home to pay the IRS and / or Franchise Tax Board. You can’t squeeze blood out of a beet. However, it is gaining the cooperation of these government entities that is the chore. In Sacramento short sales, we deal with personal income tax liens quite a bit. Last year, it was easier to obtain the tax lien release. We could call the IRS, cry and beg, and some kind person would take pity on us and send the tax lien release. This year it’s been tougher.
The IRS office in Oakland disconnected its phone recently and said we are no longer allowed to call. We can’t email either. Everything has to be communicated through the ancient ritual of faxing. What’s next — smoke signals? Their paperwork states they won’t begin to consider a tax lien release until we have the short sale approval letter. In the event of two lenders, like this last Elk Grove short sale, we needed both letters. And then the IRS can take 60 days. Which means one if not both of the short sale approval letters will expire.
Ocwen made us start over from scratch on this last short sale with a tax lien. It took almost 6 weeks to issue the new approval letter. We recorded the day before the tax lien release expired. By the hair of our chinny-chin-chin. We received the final approval with 6 days to go before the tax lien release expired. The investor buyer had been waiting since October and had already spent his capital on other properties. He didn’t know if he could find the cash now. Well, guess what? Deposit funds or, if we have to start over from the very beginning, we won’t sell to him. He found the cash, and we closed.
And now for my commercial . . . if you need a Sacramento Short Sale Agent with extensive short sale expertise, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable.