Mortgages & Creative Financing

A Short Sale Is Like an Everlasting Gobstopper

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Christopher Columbus is known for discovering that the world is, in fact, round. Albert Einstein is known for his Theory of Relativity.  Well, I’ve got a theory, too. It’s the theory of the Everlasting Gobstopper. Over the last four years or so, I’ve come to reason that a short sale is kind of like the everlasting gobstopper (the never ending jawbreaker of a candy) made in Willy Wonka’s factory.

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Recently (because I have absolutely nothing better to do when waiting on hold for bank employees), I began to ponder how many of the confections and concepts in Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and the Willy Wonka movie starring Gene Wilder) really parallel things that are going on in the distressed property market in California and beyond.

Since I was on hold for over 45 minutes, I had enough time to really hammer out this theory in detail.

A short sale is frequently like an everlasting gobstopper. The Short Sale process often take forever to complete–just like Wonka’s candy. There are many reasons that short sales take awhile to close: inefficiency of the banks, uncertain buyers, uncertain sellers, and inexperienced agents conducting the negotiations.

A short sale can also be like the gum Wonka creates in the factory (the one that Violet chews that that tastes like a 3 course meal: tomato soup, roast beef, and blueberry pie). You see, short sales constantly change directions (like the gum changes flavor). Many short sales get derailed for a while: sellers want to explore other options, want to qualify for HAFA, or believe that they can sell their home as a traditional sale. Additionally, when it comes to short sale processing and negotiating, you never know what is going to happen next. The bank may ask for additional documents, or you may wake up one day with an approval letter in your email inbox.

In the film, all of Charlie’s four grandparents share a bed and a one-room shack. This clearly connects with the recession, the lack of stimulus money, and the general poor economy. Statistics show that agents in certain parts of the United States who are consistently closing are earning about half of what they made in 2005. And, with the national unemployment rate between eight and nine percent, it's not unreasonable to see people downsizing.

While the book was written in 1964, it really applies to lots of things going on today. Short sales are frequently hard to digest. But, I’d take a short sale any day before I would chew a piece of gum that tastes like roast beef. Yuck!

Photo: Profound Whatever

    Replied almost 9 years ago
    I think you are on to something huge here… I don’t know if I have ever heard a more accurate, or tastier comparison to a Short Sale, but I think that you hit it out of the park. If nothing else, during the rigorous, time consuming, miserable process that is Short Sale, we can at least have a sweeter taste in our mouths.