By Cory Brewer
Last summer, an agent in my office took on a listing with high hopes…the market in this particular neighborhood was moving fast and prices seemed to be pretty stable. Unfortunately, though, by the time the clients were ready to hit the market, some of the neighboring comps had slashed prices (assumably to try and get sold before the start of the school year). As time went on, the comps dictated that there was really no way we could sell for our asking price, which meant we were approaching the dreaded “short sale territory.” This was a major game-changer, and there were many occasions on which our clients thought it would be best just to pull the house off the market and maybe even stop making their payments.
At times we almost felt like this was going to be a lost cause, but two things came to mind: If that house didn’t stay on the market, there was no other way it was going to sell…and the sellers are in a position where they have a legitimate hardship and NEED to get out from under the house and move on with their lives. I also didn’t want my agent’s sign to come down from what is a very high-traffic neighborhood.
Long story short, the sellers agreed that keeping the house on the market truly was the best course of action to meet their goals. At press time, we are thick in the middle of a win/win situation: They have accepted an offer on the house from a buyer who is willing to wait out the short sale process and our negotiator is well underway with the lienholder in getting that approved. In the meantime, the agent received several sign calls on the house…each time knowing that there was little chance the house would sell to that caller given the short sale situation. No matter…they pursued the sign calls and are currently under contract with one of those buyers on another house nearby (scheduled to close later this month).
This is probably nothing new to many of you, but the point is that persistence pays off. Don’t let your sellers be discouraged about a slow market or falling prices…and don’t give up on them, either. You’ve got to maintain your professional perspective and clearly lay out the options they have before them. In this case, it was either keep trying to get a short sale approved or cancel the listing and almost certainly go down the road to foreclosure. If you, as the listing agent, can pick up a few sign calls along the way, more power to you.
Cory Brewer is a REALTOR® in the Seattle area and branch managing broker at RE/MAX Preference on Mercer Island. Connect with Cory at www.CoryBrewer.com.