How can I make sure sellers agent in short sale is being ethical?

Asked by Art, Canoga Park, CA Mon Feb 9, 2009

is there anything I can do to ensure that the sellers agent is playing it fair through the entire short sale process and not working to favor one potential buyer over the other?

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Marc Schwartz, Agent, Chatsworth, CA
Mon Feb 9, 2009
Art, your questions is a very good one. I've done many shorts in the San Fernando & Santa Clarita valleys and even back on the early 90's. Since many agents have no idea how to work on a short sale and just think they can, it's hard to guarantee that the listing agent will be working in your favor to make the deal go through. Some agents will gather many offers then submit them to the bank, some with work with only one; no one has any guildlines on the perfect short sale procedure but all agents do have to go by “a code of ethics” if they don’t, the board can revoke their license. That’s not saying that every agent does follow them. Just like any business, you need someone who you can trust. Please call if you need to speak with me, Marc 818-885-5615 x615. I have 19 years of just help buyers & sellers.
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We2, Home Buyer, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Feb 27, 2009
As a buyer, my understanding is that the property is still owned by the Seller and not the Lender in a short sale. Does this not mean that the Seller can decide what offer to accept, reject or take as a backup offer? Is the Seller obligated to sign an offer and must he/she submit it to the bank. There seems to be confusion on this forum as to what the obligation is for the seller as well as the Seller's agent to submit offers in a short sale to the bank. I understand that the agent must submit offers to the Seller. Pleae can you clarify and explain. Thanks
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Isaac Bensus…, , 92037
Mon Feb 9, 2009
Art; Hopefully you are working with a Buyer's Agent. Your agent is representing you in the Short Sale. If you do not have one, my recommendation is that you get one. Now, by the way your question is asked, I am thinking you do have a Buyer's Agent. If this is the case ask your agent to contact the Seller's Agent and find out how are you doing with your offer. As the other Realtors have answered, many times, Seller's Agents representing a short sale do not have any control on the Bank' response or counter-offer. Other Seller's agents have total control because they have received other previous offers so they know what the Bank will take; this is called "approved short sale". because they kind of know what the Bank will take. As for the Seller's Agent giving preference to one offer over another, I do not think that is the case. If that would remotely be the situation, the Seller's Agent would be acting very unethical and that does not happen frequently.
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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Mon Feb 9, 2009
I think some terminology assistance is in order.
The Realtor who represents the owner of the home is the "listing agent", because they "have the listing".
The Realtor who represents the buyer is called "the selling agent "because they sell the listing (also called a buyer's agent"

The listing agent really does have no control on who's offer is accepted. Because lenders can require that the listing agent continue to submit offers after escrow has opened (unlike normal sales), the truth is that they have very little control over who ends up with the keys at the close of escrow.
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Dyanna, , California
Mon Feb 9, 2009
Art I have to agree with Marc. The agent can favor one offer over the other and the bank never really knows how many offers there are. The agent should be fair and "ethical" but there are agents out there that will do things their way. If an agent has more than one offer it is up to the agent to submit them, but there is no way of monitoring that. Sorry I don't have a better answer, but this is what we have been opened up to.

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Cindi Wolf,…, , Lancaster, CA
Mon Feb 9, 2009
Thankfully, the seller's agent has very little input in the decision! The bank/investor will usually ask for the "highest and best" from all offerors. This is the mystery...the highest is not always best and the best is not always the highest. The Asset Manager for the bank makesthe decision.

Hopefully, you trust your buyer's agent to get in there and really negotiate on your behalf. I should probably ask if you called on a sign and went with the listing agent for your that is also not always best. This is where you need someone to advocate for you!

Of course,you can always check the l/a out on the Calif dept of Real Estate website and click on license lookup. Enter their name and city to bring up their recordsand check for violations.

One more hint...there is a very disturbing trend with banks that they are really being stubborn and not discounting these properties like they should or could. So, that means that you really can't "steal a deal" so much. The common perception form the media is that prices are so low and the banks want to get rid of these foreclosures. The truth is far from that. If you lowball an offer, you run the risk of losing a home that you really want. They will simply accept another offer without giving you a second chance. Now is not the time to try and play the Real estate game.

Make a reasonable offer and expect a counteroffer, and you stand a better chance of success!

Good Luck in your purchase.

Cindi Wolf
Troth Realtors
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Feb 9, 2009
It is not up to the listing agent , bank determine which offer to accept. You might not ever receive a response from a the bank

NOTE: Short sales, foreclosures have drama not due to listing/ buyers agent how bank does business.
Agents are not paid till close, faster agent can have an offer accept bank faster listing agent gets paid.
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