Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Dan W., Home Buyer in San Gabriel, CA

Listing agent does not respond :-( .

Asked by Dan W., San Gabriel, CA Tue Feb 16, 2010

I saw a property that I like in El Sereno, and according to redfin it's a short sale. Would there be any reason why the listing agent does not respond or call back? It's been on the market for over 2 months already and still lists as active.

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Listing agents not responding is becoming an epidemic in this market. That is why it is essential that YOU are represented by your own agent. If they cannot get through to the listing agent, they can move the issue up the ladder to the agent's broker, their broker, or the local board. If you are not currently working with your own Buyer's Agent and would like more information on the home you have identified, please feel free to contact me. I can help you get to the bottom of this. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, CDPE
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Dear Ultra,
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
REALTOR, 00588885
Short Sale Foreclosure Certified
Certified Short Sale Professional
Certified Home Retention Specialist
(D) 818.564.6591
Blogging at: http://TheBremnerGroup.com/blog
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Have your buyers agent handle all this, it could be home is under contract however not updated in MLS.

Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Hello Ultratech,
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!

Lauren Case
Rodeo Realty Fine Estates
(818) 974-8722
Web Reference: http://www.LaurenCase.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Hello Ultratech,

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.


Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
(323) 899-2900
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
It is a shame for me to say that this is an epidemic among those agents who "specialize" in short sale properties. It is possible that they already have a number of offers into the lender for approval and do not wish to be bothered. Or if you identified that you are working with an agent does not want to break the ethics (but a courtesy return call is always in order). See the advice of your agent and let he/she do the legwork .......that is what they are supposed to do for you. Best of luck!
Don Linden
Realtor / E-Pro / CMIS / BMA / CMMS
Relocation Specialist / Seniors Real Estate Specialist
DRE #01251120
"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)
818-386-9007 (fax)
http://www.DonaldLinden.com (website)
DLinden@sbcglobal.net (e-mail)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Hi Ultratech
,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
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
A lot of agents are frustrated by this as well, listing agents for short sale properties and REOs are becoming notorious for not returning calls. Perhaps there is an accepted offer on the property, pending the lender's approval. It may be that the agent has more business than her or she can handle and is struggling to keep up. I've never had a situation where a seller has instructed me not to return a buyer's call, even if just to say that I could not represent them. You may have a better chance of contact if you have your agent call. You can try calling the agent's broker and see if that gets you a call back. It sometimes works for me. Redfin gets its information in real time from all the local MLSs except for CLAW, which has a 48 hour delay. The status is probably correct, unless the agent hasn't reported it properly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Hi Ultratech,
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.

Harold Sharpe
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Just because it lists as active, doesn't mean it is active. In addition, although Redfin is not in my area, and I am not familiar with it, fro what I have read on trulia, it is a discount company, and the agents might not work in the same manner as a full service agent. That might be why you're not getting a speedy response.

Find your own buyer's agent, and let them do the leg work for you.
You may be missing out on other homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
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