By Jonathan Osman
If you ever want to start a heated discussion among agents in my area, ask them their opinion of short sales. What will pour forth is the most draw-dropping tales of sheer lunacy; always ending with “I’ll never show or sell another short sale again.”
This presents a problem for me on a number of levels. First, to my own self interests, I list and sell short sale listings. While most of the agents I have interacted have not done business with my group, they are hesitant to jump back into one of these transactions with anyone…and I totally get that. Out of the four short sale contracts written by my buyer agents on other listings, only one closed. Today in the Charlotte area, we have more than a 13 month supply of short sale listings and only a 3 month supply of REOs. That may not say much until you learn that the actual inventory numbers for the REOs are slightly higher than the short sales; the results of those bad experiences.
Beyond my own interests is the interest of a home owner facing foreclosure. Due to any number of hardships, they now face the difficult prospect of losing their home, a future deficiency judgment, and possible bankruptcy if things don’t work out this time. Along with that home owner is a neighborhood with values that drop with every foreclosure, pushing another home owner to a short sale, strategic default, or walk-away. The most profound statistic I compiled through data in our local MLS and through the state was that last year, more home owners lost their home to foreclosure in my county (the largest in North Carolina) than agents closed homes through the MLS.
So then what is the solution to get agents back to selling short sale listings again? Honestly, I haven’t a clue. In response to one conversation I had with an agent, I wrote a pledge to my cooperating agents and included it with my disclosures for those listings. It’s nothing remarkable, stating simply that I’ve been in business since 2003, plan to remain that way, and the NAR Code of Ethics means something to me. Furthermore, while I cannot guarantee the outcome of the transaction, I will guarantee my group’s performance.
Surprisingly enough, my pledge has been adopted by a few other agents who, like me, never thought we’d have to tell the other agent that we are capable of doing the job before us. Ultimately, I hope it works because in as much as I enjoy helping home owners in this fashion, I would love nothing more than to never have another short sale again…because at that point, the market will have recovered.
Jonathan Osman is a broker and team leader of the Charlotte House Hunter Group with Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or his Web site CharlotteHouseHunter.com.