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Tip of the Week
How to get a short sale to the closing table

You can help associates make short sales more likely to be approved by following a few basic steps.

1. Submit a complete package to the lender. “Start with a legible, fully signed contract,” says Jayne Sanders, a sales associate at The Keyes Co./Realtors® in Palm Beach Gardens who’s handled about 30 short sales in the past year. “Include all the contract addendums. Also, include a cover letter summarizing the sellers’ situation. In that cover letter, I address what’s been done to market the property, and I provide information on the local market. I may be dealing with somebody in Oregon who doesn’t know my local market. I also explain where we are on this offer and that this is the only offer we’ve been able to bring forth [if this is the case].”

Many sales associates submit hardship letters on behalf of their sellers. However, Sylvia Golden Norris, a principal at a Sarasota law firm and the local board attorney for the Sarasota Association of Realtors, advises that an associate shouldn’t do this. “The general consensus in the legal community is that real estate licensees aren’t acting as ‘foreclosure rescue consultants’ under Florida’s Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act if they’re providing typical real estate services,” she explains. “They might get into trouble by writing the hardship letter because they’re offering professional services that are outside the scope of the real estate license law.”

2. Treat short sales like regular sales.
“Get a meaningful deposit, and have the buyers do inspections within the normal timeframe,” says Goldfarb. “If you wait to get a deposit or to do inspections until after lender approval and the buyers walk, there’s no consequence to the buyers because there’s no deposit and they haven’t paid for inspections.”

3. Check in regularly.
Check in with the lender and the buyers’ sales associate at least once a week. “Communicate with sales associates who brought the buyers and let them know exactly what’s happening,” says Jessica D. Roberts, a real estate broker and president of My Real Estate Broker Inc. in Weston. “We have about 60 short sales we’re negotiating today, and we try to call the lenders once or twice a week so that if a sales associate calls, we can pull up the computer file and give the status. Communication is the best way to anticipate questions, and automation is important so anybody in your office can answer questions.”

More short sale resources:
Attend the “Short Sale Essentials” course, approved for 4 hours of CE credit. Written and taught by Martin Cohen, this interactive workshop will prepare you to be successful in the short sale arena and avoid the many liabilities along the way. Check out dates and locations.

Read up on short sales
Learn more about the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act on floridarealtors.org. Use the Google function on the site. Keywords: Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act.