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Jeri Creson's Blog

By Jeri Creson | Broker in Studio City, CA

Short sales and the milk of human kindness - a rare combo, indeed

As an observer, with a view on the inside workings of the short sale process, I feel inclined to pass along a nugget or two of hope on the human side of the process.   We all read the blogs, the reports and the ravings of angry, oppositional and (justifiably so) dissatisfied borrowers, agents and so on, regarding their interaction with banks on a short sale.  

Lately, I have found a few glimpses of hope...enduring humanity...and downright reasonableness to be had, if only one takes care in how they approach the situation.  

I, personally, find, in life, as in short-sales...that life is what you make of it.   In other words, if you expect your bank to be unreasonable, short-sighted, cruel and without conscience, very likely, every representative you encounter will, indeed, personify those beliefs.   If, however - we suspend our belief in the inherent EVIL of all things bank related, I submit to you that it is possible to find warm blooded, able-bodied champions who would like to help you if at all possible. 

Fairytale, say you?  I beg to differ.  There are, indeed, warm-blooded humans who man the phones at each and every bank. Although it may feel differently at times.   These are not droids, or folks disconnected with the recession.  They, too, have your very same problems, and deep-down, harbor sympathy for your plight.   It will help your cause if you can embrace the circumstance and obstacles that the person on the other end of the phone is facing.   The human being who answers the phone is, very likely, doing something distasteful.   That person is faced with the emotional toll of hundreds of calls per day regarding people, just like you, who are facing foreclosure.   The instant answer for most of us when over-loaded, is to shut down initially, turn off our feelings, and march forward on auto-pilot.   It’s a protection mechanism.   The quickest, most efficient way to flip that switch back on is to humanize yourself to the person on the other end of the phone with warmth and acknowledge that you recognize the other person’s predicament.  In other words, tell that person that you understand how difficult it must be, to be in their shoes, before asking them to step into yours.    

And miracles can happen.   In the past month alone, by taking a conscious approach to visualize the human being on the other end of the phone, my team and I have gotten dozens of “favors” – little gifts of cooperation, such as – “why don’t I plug in a few scenarios before we submit this and see what my computer tells me”.  Or, “we still don’t have the offer uploaded into our system, here’s my direct fax – why don’t you fax it to me directly?”.   For those who know and understand the nightmare that short sale processing can be, you'll understand what rare miracles those little gifts of cooperation can be sometimes. 

The one thing that never helps one’s situation, is to adopt an “us versus them” stance.  If the person on the other end feels this from you, there is little else they can do to protect themselves than to reverse the process on you and make you the problem.   You want a teammate, not an opponent.

Now, as an aside – before the more skeptical of you reach out and stamp “hopeless Polly-Anna” on my forehead– please understand – I am fully aware that banking is a nasty business, and I’m not saying that it isn’t.   It’s a business, first and foremost – not a charity.  And a cut-throat one at that.   My point is not that we should pretend that banks are humanistic and charitable, but that rather, in our own best interests, we must separate the humans who work for these institutions, those worker-bees who are as powerless as we are to set banking policy, from the institution itself, and treat them as the compassionate human beings that they are capable of being. 

This market is tough – losing a home and watching the dreams that were once attached to that home is unbelievably hard.   But I submit to you, we will get through this.   You will get through this.   And if it takes learning how to put down the flask of bitterness, and pick up a cup to drink from the milk of human kindness to get there – so be it.   I believe that there is purpose in everything.   For me, I’m choosing to see this as an opportunity to let go… to stop, listen and work more closely with my fellow man.  After all – they haven’t kicked us off the planet yet – this too will pass. 


Jeri Creson, Broker
TotalAccess Realty Advisors
(818) 448-1298

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