Simple Things You Need to Know When Working with Distressed Sellers

Simple Things You Need to Know When Working with Distressed Sellers

In an article found at the following advice is found:
1. We got into this mess because: bad lending decisions were made, people were greedy, we used our houses as piggy-banks, we spent more than we made and there was the perfect-storm brewing elsewhere in the world.
2. 2.5M foreclosures 2008 and perhaps 3M 2009
3. Short Sale: Outstanding lien(s) on the property equals more than the sale value of the home. REO or Asset Recovery: A property taken back by the lien holder(s) through a foreclosure and owned by bank.
4. Sheriff's Sale: Bank sells property at a public sale (auction).
5. Cash for Keys: Paying owner or tenant to vacate and leave the home in good order.
6. Deed-in-Lieu: Rather than foreclosing on the owner(s), the bank takes back the deed, and the sellers are out of the home with no other liabilities: Not a popular solution at this time as banks don't need nor do they want more inventory.
7. Don't tell someone they may be eligible for a short-sale unless you know that they have a legitimate hardship that may qualify. Just being short of $$$ is not equal to a hardship under the banks definition, examples: death, job loss, serious illness, absolute necessity to move to care for an ailing relative, etc.
8. Never tell the client that you can speak with the bank on their behalf. That requires written consent by all parties on the deed and then verification by the bank.
9. The client must get a skilled short-sale attorney involved at the earliest possible stage.
10. You can be held liable for all false or misleading statements you make to a client/bank. If you place yourself in the position of knowing how to handle short-sales, be sure that you do!
11. Don't accept bids from buyers who need to purchase a home in a few months. Short-sales may take up to 6 months to complete! Buyers will back out due to frustration over bank delays. That could cause an unnecessary foreclosure.
12. Have the seller or the seller's attorney get the bank's short sale requirements ASAP. Nothing can be done before they/you know what the requirements are.
13. Alert your sellers that they should gather all of their financial papers (bank statements, stock certificates, other investments/assets, bank statements, etc.) for the past 3 months.
14. Be sure you comply with MLS rules regarding alerting co-broker's that this is a POSSIBLE short-sale. Commission split and amount is subject to third party approval. NAR has a suggested policy statement on how to handle this with MLS rules.
15. All offers should be presented with an estimated HUD statement attached. Without that, replies will be greatly delayed. The selling agent/attorney prepares it. If the buyer is not 100% pre-approved, don't even bother.
16. Homes with more than one lien can be much more difficult to process through a short-sale. Beware: this is the attorney's job to navigate.
17. If the home is not the seller's primary residence, there could be tax consequences associated with a short-sale. Only primary residences were exempted in the Bush Mortgage Relief Act.
18. Brokers and agents who handle short-sales must be sure that they are covered by their E&O policies. Many E&O providers have created guidelines for companies who allow agents to become involved with the short-sale market. There is a great deal of liability associated with this complicated process.


#9 Is False....

"The client must get a skilled short-sale attorney involved at the earliest possible stage."

I have heard directly from Bank Negotiators (and so have many of you in negotiating with a bank) that they (the bank) would prefer a realtor be involved representing the home owner.

The bank would prefer to not work with an A) Attorney, because they try to take control - bossing the bank around; and B) a Home owner, because of the emotional hardship that they are required to deal with.

That's not to say that an investor cannot do the work once an agent has listed the property....!

#16 Beware: this is the attorney's job to navigate.

The best way to work around this is to have a strong 'power team' with Real Estate Attorney's who can work this aspect or a Title Company.