This is the comment I heard yesterday while I was walk through the common area in my office by another agent. This comment caused me to pause and head towards the file drawer to pretend I had an addendum that I needed to find at that exact moment. But in reality I wanted to eavesdrop of the conversation. The agent continued by saying that he tells his buyers up front that he does not show short sales and if they are interested in seeing short sales he will refer them to another agent. His reasoning was he had a lot of short sales contracts that never went to settlement and he felt it was a waste of his time and caused the buyers to become discouraged with the process of buying and often they stopped looking all together.
Of course short sales are difficult and often times never go to settlement. However, I disagree with his line of thinking for two reasons. One, I believe this agent is giving up a lot of business. However, this is his personal decision and trust me I plan to approach him to offer to take on his short sale clients if he wants to refer them to me. When I work with buyers who express interest in short sales I spend a lot of time preparing them and educating them on the reality of the situation. My buyers who do move forward with short sales are reminded by me before and during the process of the reality of the situation. However, I do tell them that some short sales are successful and often times you can get a great price on a home if you are willing to deal with all the crap that goes along with short sales.
The second reason that this agents comments upset me is even more important. Whenever a home is not sold as a short sale and heads towards foreclosure the real estate market recovery is delayed. I believe it is every Realtors duty to try to get as many short sales to the settlement table. This is one way we as Realtors can positively impact the real estate market. The sellers of a short sale believe in home ownership. They want to own property - this was demonstrated by their initial decision to purchase their property. If they did not have a hardship they would not be headed towards foreclosure or trying to sell their home as a short sale. These sellers are potential buyers in the future. However, the length of that future is determined by whether they are successful in their short sale or not. If these sellers have a foreclosure on their credit it will take a minimum of seven years before they can consider purchasing another property. If they have a short sale the wait time is typically two years.
So I ask you and this Realtor in my office - would you rather wait seven years for all of these short sale sellers to become buyers again or would you prefer it to happen in two years! Personally I will take the two year time frame. I believe it is each and every agents responsibility to try to get as many short sale properties to the settlement table. What are your thoughts?