Interview Agents who have RECENT experience with Short Sales.
Find an agent who has a hands on approach and is not wishy washy.
Ask - does this agent have personal knowledge on assisting with a short sale?
Very Important: Does the Agent have an Assistant who is just as hands on, knows the process well, has communication directly with the lenders? I feel an Assistant can really be a deal breaker because someone back at the office to keep checking on things and keep communication as well as documents moving in the right direction in a timely manner is CRUCIAL -- Short Sales as well as Loan Modifications can be tricky. Lenders sometimes give you a short timeframe to get required docs back to them. If your realtor is doing ten other things they might not be right there -- front and center - monitoring your Short Sale and making sure requests from lenders are satisfied as best they can be. Short Sales as well as Loan Modifications can be stopped forcing you to start over again if a document is just one day late in getting to them so you need EXPERT HELP -- I recommend Shirley Kistler! --
You need an agent that is very familar with YOUR market...It is critical ..
Many agents have now starting remove themselves from short sale, foreclosures based on all issues and drama from bank, false media information and much more.
Here in Dallas we no longer offer services for listing/buyers agent for short sale, we are discussing by year end no longer represent buyers regards foreclosures.
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Pros and Cons (For and Against)
Pro: Agent is a friends Dad: This may seem to be advantage, especially if you already know him personally and know he is of good character and trustworthy.
unknown factor: Is friends Dad experienced as a real estate agent in California, and knowledgeable about how to conduct a short sale and market a short listing?
unknown factor: Out of area: Can he post to the local MLS? If not, that is a hobble.
unknown factor; Out of area: does he travel here frequently. Is out of area sort of close by: like Placerville or Auburn or is it an airplane ride away? Lots of people cover geographical areas that cover 3 or 4 counties, or more, It can be done.
He does have to have a California Real Estate salesperson (or broker) license to take a listing in this state.
The skills and eagerness to work to sell your listing might overcome the disadvantage of not being local.
You have received a lot of great informaiton regarding choosing the right agent. So, I just wanted to reiterate the most important parts; First, not every situation warrants a short sale. You need to sit down with several agents, as someone recommended, and discuss your situation. During that conversation, the first advice you should receive is to talk to your CPA regarding your circumstances and be sure a short sale is right for you. Second, you need to be comfortable with the agent, the system they use, do they return your phone calls. Lastly, the absolutely need to have current experience. Do they have current short sale listings. Bank requirements are changing daily. If they are not working on short sales today in this environment, their knowledge and experience may not be of much help. And being local helps a lot. At some point there will be a negotiation between your agent and the lender regarding price, local trends, etc. Your agent needs to know the area.
There are many agents both in Sacramento and on Trulia that are working on and closing short sales. Another great resource to check out is http://www.cdpe.com. The site will allow you to search for agents working short sales throughout the country and in Sacramento. Good Luck!
I'd say a local agent is also important. Most Sacramento short sale agents such as myself (and Erin below) do not ordinarily bring the buyer to the table. Another agent does. If a buyer's agent is going to the trouble to advise his or her buyer to wait for short sale approval, that buyer's agent undoubtedly wants to get paid. So the buyer's agent is likely to choose short sales to pursue that are listed by a reputable short sale agent. Many of my short sales are sold because the buyer's agents know I will close it.
I do not accept every short sale listing that comes my way. I select only those I suspect will close. That's the secret of my success, LOL.
I've written a book about my experiences as a Sacramento short sale agent, and I've included a couple of Erin's as well as those of other agents around the country. You can google Elizabeth Weintraub to find it.
I can personally vouch for Erin, btw. She just closed a short sale for one of my referrals.
Candidly, selecting the right agent for your Sacramento short sale will be the single most important factor in the successful completion of your transaction.
Let's step aside from the fact that this agent is not local for a minute...does this agent have a proven track record of closing short sales? If this agent has not closed at least 10 of them, then the answer is no. You absolutely need to select an agent who knows these very complicated transactions backwards and forward. I also highly recommend selecting an agent who does not farm out the negotation of these to a 3rd party. You will want one source of the status of your short sale, and one source of accountability.
Ok...so regarding the fact that this agent is not local. In addition to a proven track record, the local reputation of your agent is pretty important too. There are two of us here on Trulia in the Sacramento marketplace that have a great reputation locally for CLOSING short sales - myself (Erin Attardi), and Elizabeth Weintraub (who will probably throw her 2 cents in this morning as well). Other local agents know we know what we are doing, and do not hesitate for a minute to show our short sale listings and encourage their clients to bring offers.
There are other local Sacramento short sale agents who know what they are doing as well...do your research and find a local short sale pro.
Steve hit the nail on the head.....it's important to find yourself working with someone that truly understands the "short sale" process. Of additional importance is finding an individual that has the ability to be both aggressive and persistant when dealing with the bank.