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Short Sales
It’s How You Play the Game/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/DEC08PACKAGED/images/buzz

Thanks for your magazine; I enjoy it. Previous letters to the editor about short sales show that many people don’t understand the process.

We need to educate our clients and ourselves as to what is best for them.

Don’t write a short sale off, just make sure you’re dealing with a professional—someone who understands short sales and has a track record.  If there aren’t any in your area, become one. I co-broke a number of agent’s listings. The other sales associate gets the listing and markets it; once an offer is received, it’s mine. We split the commission. Again, if you understand the process, all the agents in the transaction win and get paid.

Become an expert or defer to one. Don’t try and do it yourself, it gives the rest of us a bad name. This is not real estate as usual; it is a whole new ball game.  

Pat Perrotta CSP
Keller Williams Emerald Coast

People Aren’t Walking Away
In the letter “Homeownership Is a Privilege” [September 2008, “Mailbox”], the writer generalizes that people have “treated their homes like a day trade on the stock market.”

Let me shed light on the subject for others who share that sentiment. Many real estate professionals invest in properties as a means of planning for retirement or college, or simply supplementing our often-sporadic income.

However, these properties aren’t protected by the homestead exemption. They saw massive property tax increases that homesteaders didn’t. Local governments didn’t roll back their tax rates (i.e., mil rates) when property values soared. Instead, they kept those tax rates the same and reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue. Nonhomesteaded property owners, like snowbirds and landlords, were suddenly faced with property taxes that had doubled, tripled and even quadrupled in just a couple of years.
One look at the last 10 years of your city or county budget compared with income and population growth should reveal all you need to know about the crisis.

Sherry Lee
Lee Property Sales

The Skinny on Short Sales
I do short sales exclusively, and I’d like to comment on readers’ statements about short sales [October 2008, “Buzz”].

On listings staying active: In regular contracts, the seller has 24 to 48 hours to respond. Before acceptance, other showings and contracts may appear. The only difference with short sales is that the acceptance time is closer to 48 days.

On being bad for business: Short sales are bad for regular retail home prices because it’s human for buyers to want the most house for the least money and sellers to want the most money for their houses.

On unqualified sales associates trying short sales: Sales associates who don’t understand short sales should either refer them to those who do or spend the time and money to learn.

On commissions: It takes longer to receive your commission but most lenders doing short sales will pay a fee.

On lenders setting prices: A small percentage of homes with defaulted loans are short sold rather than foreclosed. Statistically, very few short-sale attempts are successful so the bank won’t spend any money on the property unless the short-sale package is submitted properly and complete.

Jeffrey Smith
SunStar Real Estate