Musings on Food, Fun & Real Estate in the Mother Lode
A short sale is when a home sells for less money than is owed. With home values still declining, the number of short sales is increasing. It is a vicious cycle because foreclosures and short sales are exactly what’s driving the prices down and the more prices decline the more folks are pushed underwater owing more money that what their home is worth.
The short sale process can be long and complicated and I think it is fair to say that in general, it is a complete mess. Attempts are being made to streamline the process- Equator, HAFA, etc. To be fair, the process for Wachovia originated loans (now being handled by Wells Fargo) is smooth, easy & quick and FHA short sales give “pre-approval” and the bottom line price they’ll accept. Great progress. I can say that I have had success in closing a short sale from start to finish in 30 days. But, while I can share some positive short sale stories the fact remains…there are a lot more negative short sale stories than positive.
The California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R) is concerned and trying to have a positive influence to create change. They published an open letter written by C.A.R. President, Beth Peerce, (http://www.car.org/newsstand/news/openletter/) in major newspapers across the state but unfortunately did not receive much of a response from the financial institutions. Still, they continue trying. During our mid-year meetings last week Joel Singer, C.A.R. Executive Vice President, put together a short sale session. California Senator Juan Vargas, chair of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, came to listen. He wanted to know what we realtors® are experiencing “in the trenches”. One of the first questions Joel asked was for realtors® who do not work short sales to step up to the microphone and tell why. The reasons were not surprising:
It was a good session. Senator Vargas listened. He took notes. He took names. (BofA- this means you!)
To me, a more interesting question, that wasn’t asked, is “Why, with all the challenges and obstacles do any realtors® choose to work short sales?”
I choose to work short sales because people are in trouble and scared and instead of helping the financial institutions treat them very poorly. It makes me mad. An example: I had one client whose husband could not work because he had cancer. My client was told in a very curt manner by a very unsympathetic Wells Fargo employee that, hey, it was her choice to pay her husband’s medical bills instead of the mortgage….as if she might choose otherwise. It makes my blood boil. I believe my clients deserve representation. Good, solid representation. I believe they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They deserve to work with someone who will fight for them because sometimes these financial institutions have worn them down so badly that they have no fight left for themselves.
I hope some good will come of the C.A.R. session with Senator Vargas and that C.A.R. will make headway. I hope the financial institutions will realize what a negative impact they are having on the housing market, the economy and peoples lives and that they will make the necessary changes. As for me, until this mess is cleaned up, I will absolutely choose to work short sales.