Shel-lee Davis, CDPE
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
As a buyer, I can really understand your frustration. More than anything, understanding the process of short sales will help you. Nothing will excuse, however, the broker who does not communicate WHAT is happening with the short sale.
First of all, when the property owner (Seller) meets with and selects a Realtor (Agent) the process begins. They list the property for sale, SUBJECT TO LENDER'S APPROVAL. In truth, the Seller can accept an offer, but cannot complete the transaction without his Lender's approval. However, the Lender has their own regulations, timetables, and process that is completely out of the control of Seller and Agent.
The short sale process with the Lender does not even begin until the Seller accepts an offer from a Buyer. At that time, a file is opened with the Lender, and the Lender begins to take all relevant steps to determine whether the short sale will be approved. This includes obtaining a hardship package from the Seller, with all supporting underlying documents, and a fully executed contract from the Buyer and Seller. In addition, an appraisal is ordered, along with a Broker Price Opinion from a local Realtor who evaluates market conditions.
When you see a property as active, it may have had an offer accepted by the Seller but is still pending acceptance by the Lender. This process often takes upwards of 90 to 120 days, depending on the workload of the Lender, the time it takes for the appraisal, and the speed at which all parties return their documents to the Lender.
The property in which you are interested could very well be in that limbo time, with a Seller accepted offer but without Lender approval. Agents will often leave the property in the MLS (and in other sites such as Realtor.com or Trulia) at the request of the Lender and/or the Seller. You will see it as active, but for all intents and purposes, the offer puts the Buyer in place to purchase the property. Unless the Buyer cancels or does not qualify, or the Lender disapproves the short sale, or counters the Buyer's offer, the property is sold.
It is my standard to put a notation of the status of the short sale in the Private Broker Remarks in the Multiple Listing, so that other Agents know what is happening. In addition, I return EVERY phone call that comes in on the property, within 2 hours. This is, I believe, good business practice, and common courtesy. But this is MY standard, and not everyone works at the same level as I do.
My recoomendation for you is as follows:
1. If you have your own Buyers Agent, have them first check the MLS private remarks for any data on the short sale's progress. If there are directions there, have them follow those directions TO THE LETTER. If the agent wants to be contacted by email, don't call, use email. Every agent works differentlly. Respect their system.
2. If you don't have a Buyer's Agent, get one immediately. As you have found, there is lots of information out there, some of which you won't be able to assess for accuracy. A Realtor can do that for you. Also, the short sale process is fraught with bumps...see my interview with a short sale buyer her at
Jen and Matt, the interviewees and Buyers, do a great job of explaining the process, and their experiences with buiyng a short sale. Don't go it alone.
3. Make sure your Buyer's Agent is trained, experienced and credentialed in selling short sales. You don't want them cutting their teeth on you. If you need a referral for your area, I'd be happy to help.
Best of luck,
Deborah Bremner, SFR, CSP, HRS
Short Sale Foreclosure Certified
Certified Short Sale Professional
Certified Home Retention Specialist
Blogging at: http://TheBremnerGroup.com/blog
It's very possible that the information on Redfin is not correct or updated, both regarding the property and the agent. If there is an office number vs the agent's direct number, you might try giving them a call to find out the true status. I've come across a few listings that have typo's on the agent's contact info.
And, if you are represented by a Buyer's agent, that agent can do the legwork for you so you don't have to waste your own time. :-)
Best of luck!
Rodeo Realty Fine Estates
That has to be the most frustrating situation when an agent doesn't return calls. Sometimes with a short sale the agents will still leave it as active even though they have an offer to the bank. Redfin also isn't as accurate as the MLS when it comes to listing status so it's best to work with your own agent.
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
Realtor / E-Pro / CMIS / BMA / CMMS
Relocation Specialist / Seniors Real Estate Specialist
"Thank you for thinking of me when referring your family, friends and business associates. It is greatly appreciated"
Prudential California Realty, Sherman Oaks
818-380-2138 (direct / voicemail) 818-515-8936 (cell)
,I am assuming you are working with a buyer agent. This is something your agent will take care off for you. We will go over an "unresponsive" persons head...as far as necessary...in order to get the information we need to serve our clients
Some agents when hired are not allowed ti discuss anything unless it is another agent. This is to stay away from the potential for dual agency. Agents must respect their clients wishes. Sharp people and attorneys require this of their agent. They figure if you want the property you will get an agent to get in touch with them.
So Cal Homes Realty
Find your own buyer's agent, and let them do the leg work for you.
You may be missing out on other homes.