Lately, I've been showing homes to some first time buyers that are showing up as short sales in the multiple listings. And often, you don't have to look at the listing information to know it's not a "normal" situation. And while short sale sellers are probably the neediest of clients, the efforts some of these agents are making are not at all comensurate with what it will take to produce a buyer for the property.
Here are some things I've noticed about most of these homes:
- There is not Sentrilock box on the door, but a combination lock. Since many agents are including the combo information in the MRIS comments, they are obviously not tracking showings, something we do for our "normal" sellers, or following up to get feedback.
- There are no photos of the property posted with the listing - sometimes not even an exterior shot.
- There are comments instucting agents not to call the lister, but to email any questions or comments. So they clearly are not trying to sell the short sale listing to their colleagues who might have buyers.
- There isn't always contact information for the people living in these properties, greatly increasing the possibility of our walking in on folks who are massively indisposed. Yikes!
- Forget about staging. Short sales, even empty ones, are often filled with trash and debris and months old funky kitty litter.
And, while some of the listing agents do understand the mechanics of the process, many are totally clueless. It's not unusual to see short sales that have been listed prior to any contract with the lender or any paperwork started to get the short sale approved.
I certainly understand that short sales can present special challenges, both to the owners and the agents representing them. The sellers often are very strapped financially and are unable to spend money to properly prepare the property for the market. They are often under severe psychological stresses that go way beyond what they would otherwise be experiencing. And we're not even talking about what it takes to get the sellers lender to play nicely.
Still, unless you have agreed to list the home as a limited service agent, I think it's important to at least do the basics that it takes to get colleagues and prospective buyers in the door.
And geeze Louise! Answer your freakin' phone when a colleague calls for information or to register an offer.