Melissa, Home Buyer in Saint Petersburg, FL

Why is it so hard to find a realtor that will help you?

Asked by Melissa, Saint Petersburg, FL Wed Jun 5, 2013

I have had two realtors drop me in 2 months because they dont want to deal with short sales and the amount I can afford. (the commision was not worth the time) One had me get pre approved for 203k because he said that would be the best option for me then dropped me because later on it wasnt the best option. Another doesnt want to deal with short sales because it takes to long. I am stuck I am re approved and a serious buyer but cannot get the help I need. I am very discouraged my first experience on my own purchasing a home is becoming a nightmare. Anyone have any suggestions on how to do this on my own since nobody wants to give me the time?

Help the community by answering this question:



Scott is right on target with a 203 renovation loan. In our area they take at least 60 days and no short sale lender, if and when approved, is going to give 60 days. They are typically 20 days for cash and 30 for loans from the time of approval to closing. Getting approval is the longggggggggggggg wait.

That being said when I have a Buyer interested in short sales we have a consultation first to make sure they understand what is involved and are they prepared and willing to go through the process. I have worked both sides, listing and selling, and yes they are anything but short. My shortest was 60 days, my longest was 14 months and I have even had them over a year where the second lender said no and forced the home into foreclosure.

Some considerations as a Buyer:

1. Do you have a time limit where you need to be moved? If so short sales are not a good choice, there is no time guarantee. Lenders want a minimum commitment of 120 days with escrow for your offer to be considered serious. This is time you are committed to this property and not making offers on others.
2, What type of loan are you getting. I am not saying it is impossible, but rare that FHA get approved. Remember the lender is looking to see which way they lose less: short sale or foreclosure. If repairs are needed the seller can't afford them and the bank won't pay, and FHA requires certain repairs before closing if problems exist. If you are looking for closing cost assistance this reduces your chances even more.
3. Are you expecting huge discounts on more. Lenders are looking for closer and closer to market value. Even if you offer list price, if list price was much lower than market value ( which is often done to get activity and the first offer for the lender to reject, but begin the process) the lender will often counter near market value or just reject it.
4. Short Sales, like REOs (bank owned properties) may be in need of a lot of repairs- remember the owner could not afford the payments- thus they may have a lot of deferred maintenance issues. You need to consider this when viewing the property to decide if it is really a good value.

If you have no time restrictions, conventional financing (or a 90/95 no MI) and are comfortable knowing no repairs will be made, make short sales part of your mix, but don't limit your search to these. The best value may be an estate sale or just someone who has lived in their home a long time and needs to move or downsize. Inventory is tight, the market is turning and you may miss out waiting for a short sale.

I feel an informed client makes the best decisions regarding their real estate needs. Let me know if I can be of assistance.


Pam Cohn
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761
5 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
You have received excellent guidance from two straght shooters. They have told you 'like it is!"
Your recent expereince, as you have described, suggests you are playing a weak and likely losing hand. If you keep doing what you are doing, NOTHING will change.
Real estate professionals are not hobbist. we are business owners. We can not stay in busienss if their is NO PROSPECT of closing a transaction. As two have suggested, your criteria, as you have described, can not succeed.
Another issue is the time required to acheive success and the associated compensation. Hobbist will PAY to play in their hobby. Professionals have a differant plan, a business plan. They want to make money so they can stay in business to help the next home buyer in additon to paying their mortgage and gas to get to the homes they show you.
In our society, it seems impolite to say, "There is no way for a profitable outcome working with these prarameterts." So the alternative is to simply fade away.
Changing real estate agents WILL NOT change the outcome. Changing your starategy and situation will. When you chat with the NEXT local professional. be prepared to hear their advise AND FOLLOW THEIR GUIDANCE. If you still select a short sale, you were not listening to your agent.
It is possible you are unqualified to purchase a home. It is possible the home for which you are qualifeed does not exist. For instance that 3/2/2, 2007,block contructed, pool home in Highland Woods does not exsit for $150,000. It matters not how much time you have, short sale, reo, auction, this home does not exist for the first time buyer.
This is a brutal as it gets. Ask your next agent to be transparent, brutally honest, so the correct expectaions can be established, and/or, the pathway to success can be determined. But doing the same thing, repeating the same process will not alter the results.
So, be prepared to impose changes on your strategy and goals.

Best of success to you
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Annette- I appreciate the reply but i am new to this and was told by my agent to get pre approved through 203k which I did that day. I told them up front I didn't care if it was short sale foreclosure or what as long as I find something I like. I was preapproved for 100k I tried putting a bid in less then two month on 4 houses the DAY I saw them but the homes already had offers on them before I even had the chance to look at them. I dont understand what I am doing wrong as you say. I have followed all guidance from my previous Realtor which lead me the 203k loan I had never heard about it before he told me about it. I was gonna get preapproved for FHA but with the homes we saw needing so much work he thought that would be the best answer. So please enlighten me on what I am doing wrong I'd appreciate any suggestions or inputs you may have..
Flag Wed Jun 5, 2013
You have heard from several very expereinced LOCAL agents today.
Now it's time for you to play your cards.
Describe the home are you looking for? (Size, location)
What is your price point?
What is an example of a 'no go' for you? (past settlement issues, avacodo tubs, 2 story)
How much cash (downpayment) do you have?
When is your current lease ending?
What bank/lender are you working with?
What amount have you been approved to borrow?
Are there others who must be involved in making this decision?
Let's get to where the rubber meets the road, that is, what is possible with your situation.
It is completely possible a rabbit can be pulled out of the hat. Be aware however, that you only get one chance and the rabblt goes into the hole. If an agent responds with a solution to your situation, you need to respond immediately. Let's get some serious resources on alert. From Seminole to Palm Harbor you have the atention of several very accomplished real estate professionals. Let us know what you need. Then the community can respond accordingly with solutions or suggestions.
That is how you get things done. Make clear what you will do so others can know what they must do.
No one wants to get caught chasing the vapors of yesterday's reality. I am very confident that what will result is a solid path to finding you a home today or when you are truly qualified to compete in an environment that is not composed primarily of vapors which are the first cousin of wishful thinking. If you are serious, there is a key to the door of your home wating. But it begins with making serious decisons and taking the required actions.
Best of success to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Hi Annette,

I have made it very clear when seeking an agent I didn't go to them they came to me when I posted on here a couple of months ago with my criteria's. I am def not trying to bash them I am just frustrated because I don't know a lot about the industry and ask a lot of questions (maybe to much) I try and educate myself as much as possible online but something are not clear to me.
I am pre approved for a 203k loan through Wells Fargo I did the 203k because my realtor said it would be the best option when I was trying to put an offer on a home that needed a lot of work. From there he said it would be my best option since a lot of homes in my price range would need fixings Which I agreed. We had looked at short sales REO regular homes foreclosures etc. About 10 homes. I searched for homes on my own and would gather a list of the homes with the address and MLS and provide them via email.
Min. 1,000 square feet, Block home 2/2 or 3/1, 3/2 with garage
maximum depends on the taxes I would like to stay at 800 a month I am a single mom and feel safe at that amount.
So I would say 100k or less.
No go's are wood frame bad nieghborhoods and extreme repairs (roof and air needing replacement. I dont mind out dated that can be updated in do time as long as it is in livable condition for me and my daughter.
I have 8k saved for expenses
I am in a year lease signed in May because there going to sell the condo but they are aware I am looking and as long as i give 30 days I am ok i have been renting from them for 5 years
On my own nobody will be involved in making my decisions
I am looking in the north st pete area tyrone, jungle parada, northwest area also seminole largo and some pinellas park. I do not want the south side of st pete or anything past Ulmerton.
i am making this clear again I am not only looking for a short sale i am open to ALL options in searching for a new home. I did not want to move out of my condo unless I bought but there selling it and I will not be renting again.
I am also willing to switch my loan if needed from 203k to FHA if needed.

I hope this is enough information i have put this out there previously
As far as looking for homes I do drive by's first so I dont waste time. If I cant drive by at the moment i google the home and look at the neighborhood beforehand. I have tried my hardest to get as much done as possible at the same time i will not settle for something I do not want because I feel like I have to rush.

Hope this clears all questions and thank you in advance for the advice
Flag Wed Jun 5, 2013
Well Melissa, if you had presented that bit of information in your first question/statement and berating of the 2 agents, perhaps the answers you received would have been different --- on the other hand maybe not.

As Annette Lawrence put it, experienced Agents and Brokers have to work around what we call profit. That is what pays the bills. While many many people think we make it rich doing what we do, the reality of it is that the time an agent would spend with a client who has unattainable goals in the home he or she wants with regards to their ability to buy, that is their purchase power, it does not pay for that agent to spend more time than necessary to determine their profit structure.

Many times the client presents unyielding goals. And, when we professionals attempt to explain what is available for the given goals, nothing seems to work. Unless the client is willing to make adjustments in their goals, the agent is obligated to him/herself to move on. The cost is too high.

I am a certified FHA 203-K Specialist, but very rarely work in that field. I am a Short Sale Specialist, But very rarely work in that field. I am on several lenders list for REO Listings, but very rarely work that field. Why? Because the cost/expense to do so is too high. And with the market being what it is, there are, in many cases, better deals out there.

I often tell those with unattainable goals that if you want the perfect home, build it... but you still won't have it.

We do our best with what information a client give us. We take every client at face value that they are being honest with us. We don't charge for our services, yet we spend countless hours, gallons of gas, wear and tear on our vehicles, pay enormous amounts for licensing and association fees, insurance, and education, then lay our licenses on the line everyday for the possibility of making a profit.

If you had 2 agents who abandoned you, and you were perfectly straight up with them, and you were willing to listen to them, and did all you could to facilitate the search for your new home so they could be of help and protect your interests, all the while working within a reasonable set of goals, then shame on them. If not, then shame on you.

So I say, maybe the answers would not have been different, because everyone might have figured out that your goals were unattainable. My suggestion, when you are really ready to purchase your new home, be willing to punt.... make adjustments, my suspicion is that it won’t be your last home... and you know what... you’ll find something.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
There are several answers to your question and I understand your frustration. We have had many frustrations with short sales ourselves over the years. Few if any Realtors I know will walk away from a sale - even a short sale. No one can tell you how much to get qualified for they can only suggest that you get pre-approved by your bank and have the letter available when you find the house you want. This makes the entire process move more quickly and efficiently. Whether it is a short sale or a conventional sale.

Short Sales not only take time but often by the time they are approved the sale price may be much higher than what the seller accepted. The Short Sale process cannot even begin until the first offer is accepted by the seller and presented to the bank. Because the seller cannot even begin the process until they get that first offer they can ask a lower than market value price. But the bank will want fair market value. The bank reviews the offer and then orders a Broker's Price Opinion to put a "true value" on the property. This Opinion can be done by anyone and often it is computed based on statistics by someone that doesn't even live in the area. Then the bank comes in with their own sale price..

The bank also has to consider whether the seller is qualified for a short sale. Some people have tried to sell their house on a short sale only to find that they had too many assets to qualify, or the property was actually a second home and it didn't qualify.

None of this is discovered before the first contract is signed and sent to the bank.

So, yes it is time consuming. Yes, there are some agents that won't work with short sales but usually it is because it is a difficult transaction to understand and work to a fruitful end. We often say that it is the third contract that goes to closing in a short sale because of the time, price changes and problems with the banks. However, this is all much better than it was a few years ago.

I now have a question. Is the only house you have found that meets your needs this one that is a short sale? If you buy a house without these problems you may qualify for an FHA loan which has some advantages.

If it is, please look for a realtor that has short sale experience. Google "realtor with short sale exp in St Petersburg and you may just find a few. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
I'm not from your area - but I would highly suggest you call the agents who have responded that they would be more than willing to help you with a short sale purchase and specialize in that. Now, you've easily found someone to work with. SS can be a pain and you'll have to have a great deal of patience, but also keep your eyes open at foreclosures and traditional sales, of course. I'm sure you'll find the home that meets your needs in your price range or can update to meet your needs. Be a bit flexible. Some of the foreclosures and traditional sales coming on may be decent and allow you to quickly close.

Best of wishes to you.


Kim Eisen
Helping people make smart real estate decisions since 1980.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Pam and Annette are both getting my "thumbs up" on this answer. Melissa, yes it is frustrating. Specially when you hear on the news that now is the time to buy....but we agents all know the time was 2 years ago and the news are late as always. Here in my county and city Kissimmee we have had a 32% price increase over the last year. When I try to explain that to someone who wants to come in from out of area and buy a 50K home they think im lying, but we don't have anything under 80 worth looking at. So follow the advise of a realistic, honest and down to earth agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Let me add to this I am open to any homes short reo anything as long as i like it. if i found the right home i would move in tomorrow. my realtor suggested short sales that is why I looked at those but i was looking at everything not only that
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
In addition to handling short sales and 203k loans, I work well with first time home buyers. I would be happy to help you. Call me on my cell at 813-293-2244 or email me at

Nancy Rieg
475 Central Ave #201
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Good morning Melissa

I could not have answered your question any better than Pam Cohn. In addition to her great answer, she is in your area and is someone who could help you personally, or put you in touch with someone who will. Good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Call your local Keller Williams, they will be happy to help you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Call us - we may be able to help and we are very experienced with short sales. Agents that don't want to deal with them probably haven't done many before and don't know what to do to expedite them.

Liane Jamason
Jamason Realty Group
Smith & Associates Real Estate
(727) 533-5806
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Call me I will get you into a home. No matter what it takes.

Bill Hallman Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
I do not think anyone had the strength to tell you that if you were a serious buyer and ready to buy you would skip the short sales as nothing is short about them. A short sale offer even if accepted by the seller still needs to be approved by the sellers bank. Because listing agents who are not experienced in them keep taking the listings, they can take as litlle as 60 days but as much as 3-4 months and are not guaranteed to get approved. Next a 203k loan has a little chance of a buyer being able to use to buy a short sale as that in itself is a lot of work and banks mandate most short sales close in under 30 days where 203k in its best day takes at least 45 days. you should look for owner occupied listings or REO homes if you are ready for a a quick purchase and skip short sales. If your heart is set on a short sale, you need an agent who is WELL experienced in them as most are not and indeed it takes too long and pay too little as banks get Realtor fees to near nothing..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
I wasnt looking at only short sales I was looking at everything. I was willing to purchase a home right there if i liked it. I followed everything my realtor told me to do on top of it. All these comments make me feel like I did something wrong when in fact I followed everything my realtor told me to do. I am sorry for wasting anyones time on here I didnt post to get negitive comments. I did all I could as a first time buyer not knowing much. thank you for the replies
Flag Wed Jun 5, 2013
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer