Short Sales = Short Changed?

As you've probably guessed I'm a real estate agent. Of course I have buyers interested in short sales. Buyers are drawn to the seemingly bargain prices they see. As an agent I'm frequently frustrated by the listing agents who have these listings. Let me explain.

One of my first gripes usually starts with the listings on the MLS. Many have only an exterior shot, and very little filled out for description. I'm not asking for speculation on the part of the listing agent but if the best you can do is drive by the property and take a camera phone pic and auto-fill the listing with public record info are you really doing a service to the listing? Presumably a seller or lender hired you to professionally list & market the home for sale. Why not put some effort into it? The resolution on most cellphone cameras is terrible for real estate purposes. Invest some time and a little $$$ and purchase yourself even a modest digital camera for a few hundred dollars. You'd be surprised how much camera you can purchase inexpensively these days.

Take some time and move the clutter from the picture you'll be taking, people don't aspire to clutter. Also it's summer now, are there still pics with snow in them on the listing?? You should be dropping by your listings more frequently if only to check the sign is still standing.

After you have the pictures straightened out, now work on the content of the description. I'm not looking for much, but filling in the type of heating (gas,oil etc.), room features, even appliances. Things that leave the rest of us scratching our heads why this info wouldn't be forthcoming.

Now my biggest pet-peeve when it comes to short-sales. Having a way to contact & make appointments to show the properties. Is your voicemail full? Clear it out more often. Consider using an appointment setting service if you aren't available to make appointments. I realize that short-sales are alot of work, there's alot of legwork with alot of uncertainty if the sale will work out but you signed the listing sheet also to list the property professionally. So many times I've tried reaching listing agents for further info on short-sale properties only to be relegated to voicemail endlessly without reply. We work in a field that doesn't exactly understand the idea of vacations or days off, have a system to cover for these eventualities, have a co-lister even.

We all end up working harder with short-sales, but list & forget isn't the answer. Sellers are typically stressed emotionally and financially and buyers are equally stressed by the process and it's hurdles.

As a final note, listing agents out there, consider hiring a professional cleaning crew to give the home a once over. It'll cost you a few hundred dollars but there is a distinct difference between a clean home in distress and possible disrepair and a filthy home in distress and possible disrepair. This should be a no-brainer. At the very least the home will show better and hopefully result in a higher selling price, thus increasing your commission and subsidizing the cost of the cleaning.

Just my 2 cents worth on short sale shortcomings.....

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