Savvy listing agents know that pricing the home is not simply a matter of maximizing the amount a buyer is willing to pay for a home. This may sound counter-intuitive to the average person. After all, doesn’t offering the bank the most amount of money, give you a better chance for an approval? Not necessarily. Here are some issues your listing agent has to account for in a short sale:
- You can elicit an offer so high that it won’t appraise for the buyer’s loan.
- There may be other liens which have to be paid or monetary contributions must be made. Is there a 2nd loan? Maybe the first lien holder will only agree to a certain contribution that is less than the 2nd lien is willing to accept. Where will that money come from?
- The seller’s lender may require some sort of cash contribution by the seller or accepting a promissory note. If the seller doesn’t have it and the bank won’t budge, how do you keep your transaction from falling apart? I recently had a lien for a delinquent credit card show up right before closing. We then had to figure out how to come up with another $2300 in order to make the transaction happen after we had a previous approval that did not account for the judgment.
- What if you have delinquent homeowner association dues that exceed what the bank is willing to allow?
I look at a purchase price as a pool of money. Yes, we have to get a qualified buyer willing to pay something reasonably close to market value to get the bank interested, but if you lock up too much of the money for the primary bank, you lose the flexibility to solve some of the difficult to foresee problems I mentioned above.
We like to work with our buyers on the pricing. Sometimes it is hard to break through the traditional mentality of a price just relating to the home itself, but it is imperative that we educate buyers and get them on our side that a short sale is more than a purchase price for a home, it is a negotiated debt settlement that includes a transfer of property. There are many aspects of that home which must be resolved in order for that buyer’s offer to get approved by the seller’s bank.
Agents who do not take into consideration the eventual need for monies to cover additional obligations often are unable to close the transaction and relieve the seller of their debt. They will often say things like ‘well, the bank just wouldn’t allow enough money for this or that’, but had they structured their offer properly, they might well have been able to get the short sale approval in the end.