Monday, August 25, 2008

Short Sales, Are you sure?

There is a stanza from an old country ballad that goes like this:

" My Uncle Mort, he's sawed off and short,
He stands about 5 foot 2.
But he thinks he's giant,
When he gets him a pint,
Of that good Old Mountain Dew."

What I know about Short Sales is about as elusive as that euphoria that comes to Uncle Mort when he pops the cork on that jug of Mountain Dew. There are a lot of people who are chasing foreclosures and short sales in our current market. I suppose it is the nature of all of us to look for a good buy. After all our marching cry is ' Buy low and sell high.' not the other way around.

I remember 5-6 years ago when I actually showed my first foreclosed property. I was aghast. It was on the west side of town and looked decent from the outside, yet the inside was a fixer upper nightmare. The walls had been smashed in. Lighting fixtures had been removed. The drop in stove was gone and the wires formerly connecting it were still exposed. No danger involved because the electricity had been cut off many weeks earlier.

Very recently, I read an article concerning financial institutions, holding mortgages on homes heading to foreclosure, paying the motgagees a significant bonus NOT to trash the property. Now the implication here is that in normal cases the mortgagees do just that. Is it out of frustration, necessity or just down right orneriness? I suppose there is some market somewhere for drop-in ranges and light fixtures that will garner money for purchasing that Mountain Dew. I generally prefer the Diet variety, when I am into Dew slamming.

I listed a property some time back that ended up being financially impaired. That is a nice way of saying that the owner had not made a payment for a few months. It is really not according to Hoyle that a Seller should withhold that information. Yet here I was in the midst. The property had a first and second mortgage on it. I recieved an offer on the property that was not capable of paying off both mortgages. In other words one of the mortgage holders was going to have to accept a short sale.

After checking with the primary mortgage holder I was advised that they were not accepting one dime less than what was owed to them. Thier opinion was that the second lender had no business making a loan to their client. This was in the day of getting 20-30 offers for 110% loan to value loans in your mail box. I called the Wiley B. Coyote Company, the secondary lender. They must have known they were in a losing position because the person I ultimately reached agreed to bring our sale before some committee appointed to that task. I had numerous man hours invested in trying to get to the decision makers on this sale. Amidst my efforts the Wiley B. Coyote company sold the paper on this loan to the Alfred E. Neumann company and I had to start over. I finally got it done, however, and successfully closed the deal. I even got paid a little commission. Amounted to .35 per hour for my effort. On top of all that a few months later this client called me and told me the IRS was after her for taxes on the amount the mortgage company had let her slide on.

For my money, short sales, are a disappointing pursuit. More power to the agents in our community who seem to make their living in this arena. You are usually not going to save all that much money at the end of the process. You then have to ask yourself if you have invested in a property that is going to make you proud and will hold its head in the resale market.

The market in general has shifted in the favor of the Buyer. Dealing straight up with a Seller with your Realtor negotiating for you will yield many good buys. Why waste your time trying to chase a little better deal through a bank. They are rarely accessible when you call them, they never return your call and in due time there are a lot of banks that may not even be able to meet their own financial obligations. I am just not convinced that chasing short sales is worth the time and effort.

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Uncle Oswald sings it:

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