A Good Short Sale Listing Agent Will Do Lots of Triage

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Triage is a form of prioritizing patients in an emergency room so that those with the most severe or life threatening injuries are attended to prior to those that have milder injuries. While reviewing multiple offers has little to do with medical emergencies, it is vital for listing agents to consider and prioritize offers based on the buyer’s ability to perform.

Recently, I’ve noticed that many local agents are not “triaging” their offers properly. I frequently hear about buyers who “walk” during the short sale process. So, I’d like to offer a few simple ways for listing agents to prioritize offers, and to pay attention to which ones may be more “transaction threatening” (as opposed to life threatening).

To “triage” the offer requires paying careful attention to all of the details of the offer. Personally, if I am going to put lots of effort into all of the components of the transaction, I want the transaction to close—not only for me, but for my clients as well. So, I need to review the offers and counsel the sellers to help them select a buyer who is willing to wait, well-qualified, and actually interested in seeing a successful closing.

Here are a Couple of Simple Ways to Triage Your Short Sale Offers:

  • Review the buyer’s pre-qualification or pre-approval letter. If the property being purchased is a short sale, request updated pre-approval letters throughout the short sale process in order to assure that the buyer is still qualified (since terms and conditions may change).
  • If the buyer’s agent is also the buyer’s lender, request that the buyer also be pre-qualified by a neutral third party (another lender).
  • If the property being purchased is a condominium and the buyer is obtaining an FHA loan, confirm that the complex is approved for FHA buyers. Remember that if the transaction is a short sale, a complex that qualifies for FHA now may not qualify in a few months.

Buyers and buyer’s agents have it tough in this market. It is very hard to get buyers into properties and see successful closings when so many parties to the transaction are expected to perform efficiently. But, listing agents have it tough as well—working many, many hours in hopes of a successful closing only to have a buyer walk at the eleventh hour.

If you are writing an offer on a short sale, know that it may go through a little bit of triage. As such, you may want to write a real clean offer and put forth you’re A-game from the very beginning of the short sale process.

Photo: flickr creative commons by KOMU News

About Author

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®. Before landing real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Many folks say that Melissa is genetically pre-disposed to success with short sales. In fact, last year she and her staff obtained over 500 short sale approval letters! When she isn’t speaking with lien holders, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.

1 Comment

  1. Melissa,
    Saw your comment about FHA loans and thought I’d pass along one bit of news. It’s my understanding, that in about 1 year or less, FHA will require condo developments to allow owners to lease their units. Those developments that don’t allow leases, will no longer be FHA qualified. The final details aren’t known, but that’s the plan. Consequently, we may have another condo recertification mess on our hands, in early 2013. 🙂

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