When you are doing a short sale, picking the right agent is the MOST important decision you will make through the whole process. Short sales can be very difficult, and no short sale is identical. You want someone who is passionate about helping people in a situation like yourself. Doing short sales takes a special kind of person who will be doing three times the work of a traditional real estate transaction.
How do you know if they are experienced?
Short sales are NOT like traditional real estate transactions. Just because an agent has been successful in selling real estate in their market does NOT mean they will be qualified to do a short sale. You need to ask them to SHOW you the short sales they have done. You need to SEE their track record. Having a flashy website, explaining about the great training they went through is NOT the same as successfully going through all of the hoops and necessary steps in completely a short sale start to finish. Every bank is different you need an agent that knows that and understands that.
Things you should ask the Agent:
How long did the short sales take to close?
Short sales can take years if the agent does not know what they are doing. Each bank is different and has a different process. If your agent does not know what YOUR bank is going to require then you will not have a successful short sale. For example, each bank has their own set of paperwork and documents they require signed as well as their own set of deadlines. Banks will shut down short sales over a document that was not sent in on time. We have had agents refer short sales to our company that have been unsuccessful after a year of trying!
How many short sales were closed and how many failed?
20 short sales in a year is an impressive amount for a single agent…but 20 out of how many? Did they have 40 and only 20 closed? This is very important. How many they close is VERY important. The statistic from Bank of America is that “80%” of short sales do not close!! The article also said that the reason was due to agents missing deadlines and not knowing how to do the short sale.
How long have you been doing short sales?
Short sales started in 2005 and a LOT has changed since then. Like in every industry things are constantly changing. If your agent does not have YEARS of experience successfully closing a short sale you need to choose another agent. There is SO much to learn that can only be learned through pexperience. YOU do not want to be the result of their first mistakes.
This is one of the hardest decisions you will make because this Real Estate Agent can be your biggest advocate to the bank or be the person who got your house foreclosed due to negligence and inexperience. You want someone who will fight for you, and work with all parties to get this done.