Home Buying in Bloomfield>Question Details

Rodney, Home Buyer in Bloomfield, NJ

I am working with an agent to buy a house in Bloomfield. She is nice, but I feel she is not that knowledgeable. Should I get another agent?

Asked by Rodney, Bloomfield, NJ Wed Jul 20, 2011

She says she deals with short sales all the time, but I feel like I am asking too many questions as opposed to her letting us know. We are interested in a particular house, that had gone through the buy process, but is a short sale. So there should be some information that would help us make a bid. I feel like I am chasing her for this information too much. Should I just contact the broker who is listing the home?

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Carl Ben Witzig’s answer
Rodney, since you are not answering any of us, let me add that all of us "are dealing with short sales all the time." It is the market right now. But that does not mean we all have the same experience and expertise. It appears you posted your question more about info on the house and the situation with the seller but had not made a written offer. If you like the house and know it is a short sale with all the differences from a regular sale, what questions are you asking the agent that are so urgent yet not being answered? We are speculating as to whether you are being well served or not. On the basis of "Should I get another agent?" and since we do not know where you are in the search and offering process, the simple answer is, Sure, go ahead, as you are not happy. Life is too short not to be happy.
You may need to know more about the town or neighborhood or what the recent sales prices have been for similar houses in the area, or something else we can only guess about. Reach out or reply here. you'll be glad you did.
Carl Witzig
973 746-1515 x216 Weichert, Upper Montclair
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
Well, Rodney, I don't agree - or disagree - that "most" agents will do "anything" without prompting.

We can't always diagnose the needs of our clients, and while the facts of life dictate that we often live or die by our ability to anticipate our client's needs, sometimes it seems like a game of "gotcha" - you didn't anticipate (a) so you suck.

I'm not down with that. I absolutely understand that you and your agent aren't on the same wavelength, but that doesn't make her a bad tuner, just one that has trouble with your station.

At the end of the story, you should have an agent that you relate well with. Even if the agent is the most knowledgeable and second-greatest agent in the world, if you're not relating well, it doesn't matter.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 22, 2011
Hi Rodney,

As Gerard says...short sales are tough, strange and unpredictable. But it sounds like you haven't written an offer yet? If that's true....then you might be right that your agent doesn't have the experience they claim. It's a very simple thing, check on the comps and get the market value...then write your offer the way you would an equity sale. It could be higher than list price, by-the-way, if the listing price is artificially low.

I would talk with your agent first and talk about the concerns you have, see what she says. Then make a decision as to changing agents. I wouldn't use the listing agent though.....tough to stay objective for anyone when they represent both sides.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
This may help you a bit!


Please listen and understand. A short Sale is a grace of God move by the financial Institution that allows the loan owner to get out from a financial mess.
There are rules to be followed, there are questions that need to be answered,

First you have to be in financial hardship and you have to be behind by 3 months or more of mortgage payments
You must not have equity enough to pay off the principal
you must abide by the rules of your financial institution
you must keep in mind that any time in the short sale process, your bank can turn around and start the foreclosure process and end your hopes of a short sale.
Short sales are a contract with a first and second party. these parties do sign the contract and are bound to all that the contract holds to be true.
Unlike a normal contract, there is no closing date or if there is it has no bearing to completion of the sale
There is a third party in this contract and there will be added verbage somewhere in the contract that will mention that and also advise all involved that this third party has full control of this contract even though they have no signature on this contract
The asking price may not be the price that will be accepted
The offered price, even if higher than the asking price may not be accepted
The bank can refuse any offer
The bank can accept any offer
The bank will have several pages of addenda that will need to be signed if they do accept
Never assume that the bank which is a third party
The Bank can take as long as they want deciding on an offer
The Third Paty can decide on smaller commission to the agents involve, the can also decide on no commission at all.
The Third Party can at any time disrupt the continuity of the sales process.
The paper work for a short sale has to be 100% complete for both seller and buyer or the third party's underwriter for the short Sale can leave the offer and the contract in Limbo for as long as it takes for said paperwork to be submitted, often telling no one what is left to sent in. You must be sure that your agents know how to handle a short sale.
Do not pursue a short sale if you are looking to buy a house quickly
never think that a short sale is a cheaper or better deal, there are times that a short dale has sold for proper market value and a rare few that sold for more than market value.
If you enter into a short sale, you may want to have a Real estate attorney on hand to understand the full procedure and any interpetations of the contract wording, Agents and Realtors are not allowed to advise you in matters but rather to make sure the sales process goes smoothly and correctly.
Please always sit down with your Realtor or Agent and explain what you are looking for in this market and listen to what they tell you. You may find some very good deals that are not foreclosures or shart sales so please keep you mind and heart open to some of the market advice we have to offer. We work every day in the market and are familiar to what are good deals and which are not!
Good Luck to everyone that are getting ready to look or are already looking for that perfect home, take you time and don't jump on preceived good deals but weigh them all out and look for the pros and cons of every house you look at!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
You are absolutely wrong, Agents sit in the dark on the information regarding Short Sales, Simply put, there is very little information other than a Realtor has made the asking price, quite often the bank does not even know what this price is so you don't even know if you offer asking as to whether they will accept it or not! Short Sales are the banks control and no one else s, and they are very tight lipped about each sale they have allowed! I think you have been asking questions and expecting answers to stuff that none of the people involved in have answers to! Relax, it will all come together, but you do know short sales can take months before an agreement is reached. as quick as two or three months if the bank is okay with the offer made, to as much as 6 to 8 months for a sale that the listing agent may not have submitted all the paperwork for, or that they priced too low for the banks liking. You agent is nothing more than a victim of the other agents lack of information!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
You are born with power; take the initiative.
Don't wait for instructions, and do not wait for answers...Do your own research. Simple enough.
I would get another Agent. Better yet, employ a local "Consultant". For a flat fee, all your questions will be answered. Resolve, Buyers and Sellers should never "CHASE" an Agent.
Further resolve, you have the right to "CONTACT" anyone you choose.
It's you TIME and your MONEY; do as you wish. Happy Holiday
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 15, 2011
"My advice to people in a similar situation would be follow your instincts. If you feel like you have to get a new agent, do it! Find someone you feel comfortable with. Again this is the biggest purchase most people will make. So make sure you find someone who understands that and will help you make the best deal with the best information."

...Right on Rodney! Couldn't say it any better! The experise of a great agent is a wonderful thing.

Thanks for providing the additional detail and congrats on your successful purchase!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
I posted as Rodney. I didn't want to post my real name or give too many details as I was worried that the realtor I was dealing with would be able to figure out I was talking about her. I just closed on a house working with a different realtor. My second realtor was great and made me realize that I should have moved on from my first agent at the first sign of trouble. And the first sign was a doozy. While showing us houses she was humming the same tune over and over again. The sellers would look at her like she was crazy. She had said she knew the area we were interested in, but she could not answer any questions about the area. At the end of it all we lost a house we were interested in due to the first agents ineptitude. She could not explain concepts and it slowed down the process while I would investigate what the agent really meant to say. I felt like I was studying to be a real estate agent and I was doing her job.

For example when we wanted to make an offer on a house she told us we had to give her a $1,000.00 "because her company needs to protect itself, since it is such a large company." She was stammering the whole time and acting guilty. When we asked for more details she would try to change the topic, making the whole situation even more stranger and suspicious. The way she told us put us on alert and made us research what exactly she was talk about. What we figured out was that she was talking about a good faith deposit. I asked her if that was what she was talking about she said yes. We still don't understand why she acted so weird telling us about the good faith deposit. If she would have explained it correctly we would have had no problem giving her the deposit. And that is just one example.

She would constantly ask us to trust her, but our instincts kept telling us not to. The truth is we should have trusted our instincts and stopped working with. A house purchase is one of the largest purchases someone could make. That agent made it seem like it wasn't a big deal, and if mistakes are made or if my family ends up paying more, that's not a concern. When we asked questions she would get irritated. I had to chase her for some comparables for several weeks. There were all these little things that added up to weeks and weeks of our time being wasted. Honestly my wife and I questioned how she makes a living doing real estate as she is horrible at her job!

She also lists herself as a short sale expert. Honestly we didn't see it. I learned more about short sales from this website than I did working with her for several months. There were instances where I found myself explaining things to her.

Our second agent at no time made us feel dumb or like we shouldn't be asking questions. In fact she encouraged questions. She was polite and helpful with sellers and when we found a house we wanted she put all her energy forward in making everything happen. She was there for us on every level. We didn't have to study up on the details as this second agent would explain everything perfectly.

My advice to people in a similar situation would be follow your instincts. If you feel like you have to get a new agent, do it! Find someone you feel comfortable with. Again this is the biggest purchase most people will make. So make sure you find someone who understands that and will help you make the best deal with the best information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
Short sales can be confusing and uncertain and information can be sketchy and unclear. Short sale experience can be very helpful on the part of your agent, the seller's agent and the attorneys that both of you engage. I have a short sale listing now in North Plainfield and I made it a prerequisite to taking that listing that the seller work with an attorney with short sale experience to be sure that the short sale was being best ushered through the bank. The degree of cooperation between seller and bank, the number of mortgage holders involved, where the short sale process is with the bank - all of these can impact your experience. Your agent cannot control much of this but she can control her level of communication with you - even if she has no new info to report - so talk with her about this and see if you can't improve the communication flow. But what you need to understand is that she may not have new information to report with the regularity that you would like - that unfortunately is the nature of the beast.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 27, 2011
Here is a good way to do it.
Make sure you have stated what you want in a house and have an idea of what you can afford and get a loan on basedon your situation- income, credit score etc.
Sounds like you have found a house, it is a short sale. You need to know if it is already in the process of selling with an offer being considered. Your agent calls to find out. Being second is not worth the wait.
Researching Comps for the present value, which should be close to what list price is, will help. A true short sale offer will be approved after a lender checks it out compared to the market value. They do a special step themselves to discovery if they are being had with a low offer or not. They do not give them away. The idea is to be first in line with offer and to come close to value and have a good chance of being approved as a buyer yourself. I am happy to help if I can. Your choice. Carl 973 746-1515 x216 Weichert Upper Montclair
Many other things can happen and need to be learned, all covered below.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 24, 2011
Hey Rodney,

Short sales are a special animal, no doubt about it. But ... clearly what I'm hearing from you is that you don't have the right relationship with your agent. Their is either a lack of communication, gap of expectations, both, and perhaps more. It happens all the time. You might consider having a chat with your current agent to see if you can get on the same page, before you fire them ... but otherwise do what you need to do - it's business, and you are the customer.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 22, 2011
Thanks for all of the replies. They have been informative. My issue is when I ask about the area, she will read off of whatever paper is in front of her. Basically what can be found on Trulia. When we told her about our interest in the short sale house, she didn't tell us too much. I felt a little lost and I will be honest, I didn't know what questions to ask. So I did research on line and found out about comparables. I read that most agents will provide that information without prompting. So again I feel like I am chasing after her. I just feel like she could be more proactive. I think it is good that this is forcing me to learn so much about real estate.

Thanks for all your replies, its given me a lot to think about.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 21, 2011

It really depends on what questions you are asking and what you feel she isn't knowledgable about. The house, the area, the short sale process, the progess OF the short sale etc....

Short sales are a complicated process for both listing and selling agents. Buyers agents have limited access to information regarding the progress of the short sale approval. They are really reliant on information they get from the LISTING agent, and if the BANK isn't forthcoming with that information, everyone is left hanging...

Making an offer on a short sale is the same process as making an offer on a "regular sale" . You should get comps of recent closed sasles that are similar to the house you want.
Remember that just because it's a short sale doesn't mean the bank is going to give the house away. Yes, they will take less than what's owed on the mortgage, but if the house is worth "X" in todays market, and the seller owes" Y" ..the bank is not going to take X - $50,000 just because it's a short sale.

I never recommend using the listing agent to represent you as a buyer. You need an advocate that represents just you. If you still feel that the agent isn't as knowledable, contact her broker about your concerns to work it out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 21, 2011
Do you have a buyer rep agreement which governs what you can or can't do.

Short Sales - your agent needs to provide you with comp's of area

Many buyers blame the agents for not knowing HOWEVER requires lender approval which can take months to receive any response .

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011

Are you asking questions about the process? about the house? about the area? What is she not knowledgeable about? You shouldn't have to feel like you are chasing your agent down to ask a question. It should be an open line on communication at all times. Although short sales vary, the process is still the same and that should've been explained to you in full detail. As far as the house and if another offer had been made, your agent may not have access to this information. The listing agent does not have to tell a buyer or buyer's agent what a previous offer on the home was. She is hired to protect the seller. Often with a short sale, they will tell you if the bank approved the offer, what the bpo was, etc. but not always. Sometimes the bank simply says...bring us an offer - its not in the listing agent's hands.

Your bid should be based on the most recent sold comps - thats what the house is worth TODAY whether its a short sale or not. Its only worth what a buyer will pay for it today and that number comes from what other homes sold for recently. Even if the bank did accept a prior offer and the deal fell through, it doesn't mean the bank will accept that number again nor does it mean that the house is even worth that same price now.

Working with someone experienced in short sales can make the transaction less stressful but remember your agent has no control over the bank nor does the listing agent - the listing agent represents the seller. Make sure you also hire an attorney experienced in short sales if and when the time comes to begin attorney review.

Again, by all means, if you are not happy with your current agent or do not feel that she is working for you or the best at what she does, you shouldn't be tied in to using her. If you signed an agreement with her, you will need to abide by the terms of that agreement or get out of it. Its hard when an agent shows you a home and then your not happy with their services but that doesn't mean you are tied to them for life which appears to be an ongoing dispute by many agents.

You need an agent who knows the area, the houses in it and someone you trust handling the biggest purchase you'll probably ever make.

Good luck,

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Lattimer Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
YES- if you dont think your agent is doing their job, get someone who can. Call an office manager in a local office and ask for a seasoned agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
All too true, Gerard.

Sales people are often told, "You have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately." Then, again, some people like to be talked to, and some don't. How does one know?

If the information she gives you isn't accurate, then you may have some concern. If she's just not anticipating what you need to know, well, then ask questions - it's probably better for you to have your questions answered then for her to tell you a lot of stuff, hoping some of it is relevant to your situation.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
Hi Rodney,

Short sales at times can be difficult and you really should deal with someone who not only says she's knowledgable but someone that can get results. Short sales need a lot of attention from the agents who are involved and require phone calls and a ton of paperwork that needs to be provided as soon as the bank requires.
Has she given any reasons as to why you cannot submit an offer at this time because you should be able to make an offer at any time as long as you are qualified for the amount. However, keep in mind that they're are some agents who don't like to "share" commissions and it could be that the listing agent is not returning her call, which is illegal in NJ and does not benefit the homeowner nor the bank at all. It may require your agent calling the listing agent's broker and finding out whats really going on.
Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 20, 2011
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