Just the other day I was speaking with a good friend of mine who is a very successful real estate agent in southern California. Surprisingly, we hardly ever talk much about real estate these days and when we do it's not much more than “how's business?” “Good, Great…” etc.
At one point all we talked about was real estate but I kind of pulled back because he always seemed to have an excuse why he wasn't taking advantage of the short sale opportunities in his area. It burned me up on the inside knowing that my friend was leaving so much money on the table and at the same time I was teaching Realtors and investors all across the country my methods for doing short sales. I guess I didn't mind as much that he chose not to do short sales, but rather that he never had anything good to say about them.
All I would ask was, “How's the short sale market in your area?” and he would go on a tangent about how he does not like short sales, they take too long, too much work, blah, blah, blah! It got to the point where he would literally just suck the life out of me!
I quickly realized that everything he said was just a bunch of bull and the real reason he avoided short sales was that he didn't know how to make them work for him. Believe me, I tried more than once to show him how, but there was nothing I could do unless he was willing to open his mind. You know the old phrase, “you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.” – This was the classic example.
I'm sharing this story to lead into the reason I wrote this article. I've come to the conclusion that many Realtors and investors are making short sales too difficult. I've done short sales as a Realtor as well as an investor and let me tell you, both ways can be very profitable when done right.
When I did short sales as a Realtor I rarely negotiated the deals myself. I mainly assisted investors that I worked with by listing the property, pulling comps, speaking with lenders when necessary, and writing up contracts. Basically no different than what I did on traditional real estate transactions.
My commission split was always three to three and a half percent of the sale. Due to the fact that most of the investors that I worked with did multiple deals per year, I always had my fair share of listings and closings.
As an investor, I practice this same philosophy by partnering with Realtors to help me with my short sales ONLY after I've already gotten the signed paperwork from the homeowner. The Realtors that I work with know that a majority of my deals will go to closing so they don't mind doing whatever it takes to help me out in exchange for a commission. Why would they? That's what they get paid to do anyway.
In my opinion, there is a common “tug of war” going on amongst real estate investors and Realtors. The problem is that many investors get their short sales from Realtors as opposed to going directly to the source. That source is the homeowner. The second part of that problem is that too many Realtors get their short sale listings directly from the homeowner and end up doing all of the work. Not to mention that many Realtors are not qualified to put together a short sale deal that is profitable for both parties involved.
I'm not saying that this is the case across the board, but I see it enough to know that in many cases both the Realtor and investor could make things a lot easier if each party played their role.
The Realtors who follow my methods are taught short sales from an investor's position so that they can mirror other investors. I personally always work with Realtors who understand what I'm trying to accomplish as an investor with my short sales not those who have their own agenda or who have short sale listings of their own.
The investors who follow my methods are taught to partner with Realtors who are knowledgeable about short sales yet who won't get in the way of them trying to close their deals.
This is not a knock on Realtors by any means. There are plenty of investors who also shy away from short sales because they feel that both the Realtor and the lender make the process to difficult to deal with or that they have no idea what to do when the homeowner's lender requires that the property be listed before a short sale is considered.
In both cases, money is being left on the table and the perception that short sales don't work or aren't worth the time continues to linger. I want to erase this perception by encouraging both Realtors and investors to work together in a way that makes everyone's life easier.
There are new laws in place that benefit both investors and Realtors. One that comes to mind is that real estate commissions are no longer dictated by the lending institutions. The industry standard commission will be paid to all Realtors on a short sale, this fee is typically 6%. This new law allow Realtors to feel good about taking on a short sale listing and helps to eliminate the need for the investor to negotiate a commission payout for the Realtor.
No matter if you are a Realtor or Investor, I want to challenge you to approach short sales the way I'm suggesting if you're not already doing so. If what I'm saying does not work, you can always go back to what you were doing. However, I think that you will see immediate benefits and be happy you made the adjustment.
If you have the same attitude about short sales as my friend does, you'll definitely want to give it a try or you'll continue leaving opportunities on the table for others to profit from.
I hope this articles helps to shed some light on a very unnecessary short sale battle! Let's all work together and continue building wealth through short sales. There's never been a better time.