Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Re-Sale, Thinking About It When You're Buying.....Really, Do I Have To?

I don't truly know if other agents push this fact as hard as I do. It only matters to me that I remind my clients, at frequent intervals, during a home search, that Re-Sale is a very important consideration in the home buying process.

I help buyers buy and sellers sell, on a regular basis, every day, week, month. You name a day, I'm working for some seller or buyer. So, I hear what sellers say, I hear what buyers say. I know what buyers don't like, don't want. I know what the majority of them are saying about their dislikes in a property.

Oh, the power lines, oh the neighbors can see in my yard, oh the street noise, oh there isn't a Starbucks close enough. LOL, take my word, I've heard them all.

And, some are said more than others, absolutely. 

When, I'm out with buyers, and this is opposite of how we are trained, I take them in the nice way and out the not-so-nice way. And, vice-versa. They need to see everything. The next buyer may find it more convenient to go in the not-so-nice way and that may turn them off from buying your home when you go to sell it later.

I'm working with someone that just has to have that particular floor plan, devil be damned if they don't get it! But, should that perfect lay-out be right next to a gas station that has tagging all over it, I remind them about re-sale.  If the house has been on the market for 3 months, in a hot market, and there is a railroad track near by?  Hmmm, I nudge them, and say, do you want to have to tackle that problem when you are selling in a few years? If they don't care about guest parking in a condo/townhouse complex.....the next buyer sure might.

But, they say, " I don't mind the" .....fill in the blank here. Okay, you, one of of 10, may be A.O.K. with that negative aspect of the property. So, it will suit your needs. I'm really glad, happy that you are okay with the sound of a dog kennel right behind your back wall all day long. Maybe you are hard of hearing. Cool, glad we found your perfect home. Yippee!!

Are ya gonna die in that home? ;o) If you are certain this is the home you will stay in for the rest of your life, Yahoo! I'm tickled pink that we found you a great home, and surely at a great price too.

BUT, if you are like most people, and will be selling your home again in the next decade......pay attention to re-sale. Really, pay attention to it.

Because, although it may be absolutely perfect for you.....it needs to be pretty dang attractive to 9 out of 10 future buyers, not just one.

Re-Sale, Re-Sale, Re-Sale.....just ask my clients....they know I'm practically obnoxious about it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Age Old Story - What Should I List My Home For?

Homeowners hire Realtors because we have sold significantly more homes than they have. Most people buy and sell a half dozen homes in their lifetime. Obviously, most Realtors would handle more home sales than that in just a month or two. So, we do have more experience about how the process should work.

When working with a seller, one of the hardest things, if not the hardest, is educating them on the appropriate list price for their home. It's an old story, that many Realtors have told before, but it is still difficult to explain to the seller why their blue counter tops that they love so much, just aren't going to appeal to the majority of buyers out there. It's easier said than done to tell them why the home they live in with the backyard that backs a now busy street is going to be hard to get the same price tag as the one up the street with the same floor plan that has no rear neighbors or street noise.

Yep, they love their home, someone else will love it just as much......maybe.....hopefully....definitely, .....if it's priced right.

We, and Real Estate Appraisers, have to look at comparable properties, homes that have sold in the area.  We look at size, location, condition, amenities. And, so does the buyer. Every person involved wants the best situation. The most proceeds for the seller, the lowest price for the buyer. The appraiser wants to find the comps to validate the purchase price. The agents don't want any upset buyers or seller if it does not.

Start with the right list price and problems will be reduced. Don't list it for too low to get in buyers, you'll just frustrate agents and buyers alike. Don't list high to negotiate later, you may not get an offer for 60 days and end up with a stale listing.

Evaluate what your agent is saying, you hired them for a reason. If the comps bear a 650K list price, don't list for 750K, and if an agent is willing to list too high? Hah, they'll just badger you into a price reduction soon anyways.

Gotta tell you, I shoot from the hip and tell it like it is when I go in for a listing appointment. Because I work on a huge referral basis, people trust me, accept my recommendations, and let me get the job done. When I work with a stranger and they want to list high? They generally don't like what I have to say, select another agent, then sit, get stale, and reduce their price tag to where I originally suggested to get it sold.

Glad they finally listened to somebody.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Seller Disclosures.....Standard, Short Sale, REO

When I first started in Real Estate there were a multitude of disclosures that the seller of a property had to complete and present to the buyer. They were to be completed to the best of the sellers knowledge. 'Are you the seller aware of?'.....and many questions would follow. The best one asked has always been, 'Has anything “stigmatized” the Subject Property such as a death on the property, a violent crime, crime in the area/neighborhood, or allegations that the Subject Property is “haunted”?' I'd read this out loud, as I always go through the disclosures with my clients, and they'd laugh and think I was sooo funny. Until I looked them dead in the eye and say, 'Really, do you think this place is haunted?' One of my clients tried to fool me with a ceiling fan and neighbors remote, didn't work. And another, they forgot about the stories that their young son had told them about the man that used to talk to him upstairs.

Regardless of the questions asked in the, double multitude now, pile of disclosures, ignoring how silly you, the seller, may think they are......answer the questions.....to the absolute best of your ability. Don't consider hiding anything, your neighbor will remember when the roof leaked that you haven't mentioned in your pile of papers.  The little old lady across the street will point out how the tree in your front yard always was causing root problems in your main sewer line. Neighbors are a wealth of information. And, so should the Standard and Short-Sale sellers be.

Legally Standard and Short-Sale sellers are supposed to disclosure everything about their home. What's been done to it, special taxes, insurance claims, water leaks, roof issues.  And, in the recent years, even when the home was last painted. Owner-Occupied we call them, and since they've been living there for some period of time, you anticipate that they will know many things, nuances, about the house.

Now, here we are in a market full of REO's, or Foreclosures, and Investor owned properties. Guess what? These are not owner-occupied sales are they? The owners of these properties have never ever lived in these homes. They don't know what's been done before they took legal ownership of them. They don't know that the prior owner had a mold problem in the downstairs family room.  They don't know that the pool has something amiss with the filter that a little tweak here and there made it still workable for the prior owner.  They don't know that in the summer some weird worms come out all over the backyard and eat the dog food and get on the babies playthings.

And, therefore, as they are not required by law to disclose what they do not know, you don't receive much in the way of disclosures. Certain reports are required still, but they are the ones that are generated by companies, not people who lived there. We get zone disclosures, tax reports, termite inspections. And, a good listing agent will present a detailed AVID....Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure.

But, is that enough for your comfort? Most it is, some it is not. The real challenges are the flipped homes. The ones where they have so obviously painted and carpeted. Put in new cabinets. Again, these are investor owned, not owner occupied, and the disclosures are slim.

Unfortunately it is what it is. We get what we get in this 2010 market. We hope that the professional inspections and reports and disclosures tell us everything we need to know for our next home. And we hope that whatever the grandpa neighbor tells us, after we move in and are eating the cookies that his sweet little wife made, isn't so horrible that we're afraid to disclose it when we sell the house in the future!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Somehow the Right House Calls to You, Even if it's just in a Whisper

I've been selling houses for almost a decade already. Can't believe it. Still love it, even in this difficult market. And, the main reason I still love it? Because nothing feels better than seeing the smile on a clients face, the joy in their heart, the happiness of their family, when they find the right house to make their next home.

We tell our clients to make a list of ten things they want in a home. Tell them to hope to get 7 or 8 of them. And, really, don't make more than ten. If the list is too long, you will be disappointed over and over again. You'll search and search for the perfect house that has all four hundred things you want in a house (well, not really four hundred!), and you'll never ever find it.

So, with that list in their heads and mine, we head out looking for their next home. We search every parameter configuration imaginable.  We search different cities, different tracks, different floor plans, different sizes, different amenities.  All in the search for the home that is going to call out to them. The one that is going to say 'Pick me and I'll make you happy....I promise!'.

Sometimes, in the search, the house you were sure they will want, they won't. And sometimes too, they pick a house that has 3 or 4 of the things they said they wanted, but it just feels like it's to be their home. Ones, that are certain they need space for a Trampoline in their yard, so it has to be a big yard.....and the one with the smallest space for the Trampoline to fit?....they decide it's absolutely perfect for them.

And, other times, my favorite of times, we see the house together and we all know, without much discussion, it's the one. The one that doesn't need to yell out loud that 'I'm the one for you!'. It's the one that whispers it, softly and sweetly, just whispers that they are meant to be together. And, when we all feel it deep inside and the whisper is heard by everyone? We all whisper back.....'This is it, this is the one that is going to be home'......and that's the best of all. When we all feel it, we all hear it, we all know it.

I have a client right now that we all spoke in a quiet whisper of a voice when we drove up to the house and got out of the car. He, his brother and myself. We all got out and we whispered, didn't even have to wait for the house to do it......we already had.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Thoughts On The Infamous 'Shadow Inventory'

We all know there are homes that have been foreclosed upon that haven't been released for sale yet. Many of my clients would be happy to buy one of them, absolutely! There is speculation as to when they will be released for sale. Why they haven't been yet and what effects there is on the Real Estate market due to them being held.

I'm only focusing on why they are being held in this post.

My opinion, and may just be mine, but to me there is only one truly obvious answer. Follow me here, maybe need to do a little math. I excelled at math in college. So, lets say ABC bank holds the note for Mr. & Mrs. Owner. The Owners' bought their home for 600K a few years ago, borrowed 540K from ABC bank. Since we all know that the first few years are mostly interest on a loan, let's say that Mr. & Mrs. Owner still have an outstanding loan balance of 535K.

Being generous, I'll say their home is now worth 375K, less than what they owe definitely. Mr. & Mrs. Owner have been hit with the down sliding economy and Mr. Owner is now unemployed,  Feel free to switch the scenario as to why they can no longer afford their mortgage payment as you see fit.

They try the loan modification, they try a Short-Sale, they get the Notice of Trustee Sale on their front door after all of their efforts and the homes gets foreclosed upon. Forget about the fact that they submitted every possible document for the loan mod, forget that they had a bona-fide buyer for their home during the Short Sale listing, and forget about seeing that home back on the market as an REO any time soon.

Now, Mr. & Mrs. Owner become Mr. & Mrs. Renter. And, ABC bank now has another house in their asset portfolio. Oh really, just what they want, another property in that portfolio.

Again, my opinion. I am not a banker and I may get blasted for this somehow. But, ABC bank forecloses on this home with a mortgage of approximately 535K, remember? So, that is the value that I presume they are giving it in that asset portfolio, right? Make sense to you too? But, as we all know, that home, once released for sale in any MLS may only be valued at 375K now. Sooooo, I'm saying this.... If they have stockholders and board members to report to with all those portfolio numbers, wouldn't it make more sense, to them at least, to note an asset of 535K vs. the true asset value of 375K? Because once the true value comes out, when it goes up for sale, ABC bank just lost another 160K on paper. And, paper is what they use to value things.

Just my opinion. I'd rather have them just release these properties sooner than later. Get this over and done with so our economy can move forward. And myself, and my fellow agents, can help our buyers get into homes now, not next year or the year after.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prospecting, Why I have to use that 'Dirty Little Word'

When the market was really hot a few years ago, prospecting was hardly an issue. I never think I even mentioned the word, nor had to do a ton of it. Was too busy moving clients in and out of homes to have the time scheduled to even think about prospecting.

Prospecting, sounds pretty tacky doesn't it? If you're not in a sales related field, you would think so. But, as a Realtor, I am, believe it or not, a bit of a salesperson.

Encyclopedia Britannica defines prospecting as follows: Various techniques are used in the search for a mineral deposit, an activity called prospecting. Once a discovery has been made, the property containing a deposit, called the prospect, is explored to determine some of the more important characteristics of the deposit. Among these are its size, shape, orientation in space, and location with respect to the surface, as well as the mineral quality.

I'm not looking for minerals! My prospecting is done daily, definitely searching to a certain point though. I supposed I could consider a client a mineral...maybe. And, a house a deposit, I suppose. But, in my language, prospecting is the art of constant communication with just about every person I know!

Every weekday, Monday thru Friday, I sit down and make phone calls and send notes and even make comments on Facebook too. All for prospecting. I keep in constant communication with friends, family, past clients, people that know me from kids schools, doctors offices, old hockey co-parents, insurance agents. I was taught years ago that you have to keep reminding people that you are a Realtor.

Most of the time it actually is enjoyable. I love to catch up with people. Sometimes I just get their answering machine and have to leave a message, but I genuinely like it when I get to talk with them on the phone. A lot of the conversation is just catching up. They know I'm a Real Estate Agent, but they know I care about what's going on in their lives too. I keep them posted on what's going on in mine as well. I am more than just a Realtor you know.

Now, mind you, in the beginning, and still now every once in a while, I get that comment "We're not thinking about selling our home". I chuckle, and realize that they have to be reminded that, it's not necessarily about them selling their home, now or next week. It's about reminding them that I am still a Full-Time Agent, and that if they know anyone that needs any help, let them know about me. 

I'm sure there are just a few that get a little uncomfortable with my calling every two or three months, but they still have to be reminded enough to think about me when they think about a Realtor. Until you tell me to stop calling, I will keep calling.

But, I keep prospecting and when I am needed, they do call. Something comes up and they think of Lauren that keeps in constant contact. Looking for sellers for her buyers and buyers for her sellers.

And, funny, because the size, shape, orientation in space, and location in the home I help sell are all part of the prospecting process too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Market Stats this Past Week

I do the majority of my business here in the beautiful Santa Clarita, and right now obscenely hot, Valley. I work in other areas as my clients needs determine. San Fernando Valley has a few different nuances than Valencia, but it's still buying or selling a home.

So, I focus on the housing stats of our little suburbia. This does piggy-back a little bit on the 'How's the Market' blog a few days ago.

Last year about this same time, we had somewhere around 600 active listings. I include Acton, Agua Dulce, Canyon Country, Saugus, Newhall, Valencia, Castaic and Stevenson Ranch in my statistics search. This includes homes, condos and townhouses. Tight amount of listings. Lots of Short-Sales, lots of REO's and some Standard sales too. And, in the first 8 months of 2009, we closed 2127 sales.

Now, using stats from January to August, we have about 1100 properties active for sale in our MLS. And, to date this year, we have closed 2166 home sales.

Hmmmmm, you say? And, I respond, the market is stable....right now. Inventory is increasing. We do have about 950 in escrow, of which almost 2/3's of that are Short-Sales....which we all know may never close. Especially when we further look to note that of the closed sales this year, only about 1/4 of them are Short-Sales. So, maybe 1/2 of them actually closed escrow. I had heard the percentage of closed Short-Sales recently was 27%.....sheesh...but, these show about 50 % are closing. That's great! I think so. Means, someone is getting better at moving these things along to close instead of going to Trustee Sales and being foreclosed upon.

That is a good thing. The more we can get closed before they go back to the bank, the better off we will be in the long run.

If you want to keep updated on current market stats, let me know. Or just follow this blog, I'll post something about it again in the future.

For now, keep your chin up about this market. And, be patient. It's all about patience and perseverance. Onward and Forward!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The FHA 203k Loan - I Like It !

This loan program has been around for a while but has only gotton some recent notoriety. In essence it's a way to buy a fixer and do the re-hab work on it leveraging  your banks money, not your own money.

I just closed one of these and, so far, it's working well. There is the long version of this program, and the 'streamlined' version. We utilized the streamlined one, and it was basically very simple.

Find a property that is in distress and determine what it will cost to bring it up to livable standards. If the property is listed below what you would consider market value due to it's condition, that is a good place to start.

We found a condo in Newhall. The location was perfect, the floorplan was great....the condition? Yikes....needed some help. The listing agent was savvy, he had already found out what it might cost to do repairs on the property. And, that helped us significantly. I checked the comparable sales and based upon what the bids were and what it could sell for if those repairs were done, we made an offer on the property noting that we were utilizing the 203k loan program.

Fortunately the agent that was representing the seller could explain why our offer was better than a conventional offer and my buyers' was accepted.

The condo needed plumbing, flooring, drywall repairs, electrical, appliances, decking re-do and some bathroom repairs too. All were noted, broken down between labor and materials and submitted to the bank that was doing the loan. Now, remember, we were doing the streamlined version. Different banks have different amounts that they consider streamlined. The one we were using would let us do max of about $25,000 in repairs. And, not cosmetic mind you. If the kitchen counters were destroyed, yeah, you could improve upon them. But, the program is really meant to make it habitable, not gorgeous.

An appraiser is the key to success or failure. That person has to be viewing the property, checking the sold comps, and putting a solid value on the repairs to equal, or be better than, what it could sell for once all the re-hab is done. Get it? We sailed through that, well not really, but we earned about 20k in equity even before we had the contractor start the work!

The contractor that you choose would benefit if he was familiar with the FHA203k loan program. Makes it easier for documentation required by the bank. They get paid 1/2 up front, and the rest when the job is complete. But, they are getting paid by the bank, not the buyer, so they need to have another party in the mix. Understanding this up front will help the process.

At any rate, this program should be utilized more. It is tougher on the lender, tougher on the Realtor, tougher on the buyer. But, if you don't have the money, in the bank, to do the repairs, and you do find a property that needs repairs that hasn't been picked up by somebody else....this could be a better option for you. And, there is the full program as well, for big bucks re-hab.....that's waaaay tougher!

I've got two lenders that work the program very well. If you want to chat with them, let me know.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"How's the Market? Is it Picking Up?"

With the status of Real Estate today, I get this question every time I meet someone new. Whether it's my new dental hygienist, a new fish client of my husband, or someone I meet at my non-profit group!

Let's start with the first half of that question:

How's the Market? I generally roll my eyes a bit, sometimes even laugh, not too loud though. In all honesty, and my clients/friends/family know that I am honest to a fault, the market is challenging. That's one of the words I use to describe it daily. Challenging for sellers, challenging for buyers....and needless to say, that makes it challenging for your Realtor!

A traditional seller with some equity is generally dismayed with the current value of their home. When only, as we all know, just a few years ago it was worth thousands more. Then, there is the seller that is upside down, owes significantly more than what it is worth today. He has the moral dilemna about Short-Sale like all his neighbors are doing, or hanging on, because he truly loves his home, until prices 'come back around',  Of course, there is also the owner that is in financial hardship. It's possibly been an economic domino effect for him, and he just can't keep up the payments. And, also the ones that have walked away from their home which now we have an REO seller, a bank owned property.

And, each scenario is a challenge. The traditional seller wants the absolute most for his money, who wouldn't? The Short-Sale homeowner just wants to get it done and move on and that situation moves like a snail stuck in molassas. The REO seller doesn't give a hoot about anything other than no liability after sale and bottom dollar. Phew, watch their disclosures, but that's another blog topic!

Now, after describing those challenges, let's move onto the second half of the typical question of 'Is It Picking Up?':

Hmmmm, depends on what they mean by picking up? Seems to be they want to know if prices are going up. If sales are being had any easier too. Prices seem to be stable right now. In Santa Clarita we have twice as many homes available for sale as we did a year ago. That doesn't help prices go up. Less supply, more demand, that makes them go up. But, stabile is good for right now. How soon will they go up....not soon. This is going to be a very gradual appreciation that is going to take a very long time.

Are sales being made any easier?......well sort of. We are getting into contract a smidgeon easier, dependant upon the type of financing the buyer is doing and how popular the property is. But, the Short-Sale listing continues to muddy the path. It continues to challenge opening an escrow. Until it is approved, you are in limbo. The more REO's that continue to come on the market, the easier the sales come. Those are somewhat easy of a close. And, the traditional sellers that aren't ridiculously overpriced, those are good ones to jump on and easy to close. Compared to the molassas snail muddied Short Sales, anything is easy.

So, How is the Market, is it Picking Up? It is a challenge (I suppose I could find a different word) and it is not what I would truly call picking up.  If we get a glutton of REO listings too many, too fast, that will hurt. When we are thru with all bank-involved listings, our market will fare better. Until then, accept stabile pricing and a little bit easing up of getting into contract. And, let your Realtor do the work they need to do. It's already challenging enough for them to help you nowadays. Do what they suggest. It will make the home buying/selling process less of a challenge for you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Flipping Homes Today

One of my favorite Mortgage Brokers posted an article he had found in the LA Times. It was a great article. I 'shared' it on my Facebook so my clients, friends and family could read it too.

The article was about homes that had been foreclosed upon and were sold before they hit the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Or they hit the MLS after they had been re-habbed or cosmetically enhanced.

I frequently have been asked, nothing new here, to help a buyer find a good deal. 'Find me a fixer!' is the latest. Every buyer wants the best deal, or price, on the home they purchase. That's a given. Part of a Realtors job is to negotiate that for their client. But, the buyer who wants the killer deal? The one that he can get for dirt cheap, do some Home Depot repairs, paint, carpet, etc....then re-sell for a big profit? Those are to be had on the courthouse steps. And, those being had are by investors...with cash. No financing here, no FHA loans, no 5 or 10% down. No inspections, no disclosures, and certainly no guarantees. Not that ever buying a house has a guarantee.

But, if you've got cash, time, expertise...then you have a chance. Look through the newspapers, the web, your neighbors front door. All Notice of Trustee Sales have to be publicly posted. Then, head to the courthouse. You'll find out which homes are up for auction that day. Maybe get a chance to peek in some windows, look around the neighborhood, see if the pool equipment or HVAC equipment is gone.

Maybe, you'll out bid the next guy. Maybe not. It's a tough racket, but it can be financially rewarding. Not common place for the common person. It's not something for everyone. And, sometimes, the investment that is made doesn't reap the rewards hoped for.

If you want to flip homes, find an investor and check out the auctions. If you want to get your feet wet, need to do some financing, talk to a realtor that knows that market. Have them keep an eye out for you. Even if you find something that nets you 10 or 20k profit in the long run....that's still 10 or 20k more than you had the day before.

Real Estate is generally like the stock market. Making quick bucks isn't for everyone and doesn't happen every day. But, if you invest carefully, and hang onto it for the long term, you'll do just fine, courthouse steps or not.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yellow Page Realtor?

I met a great lady recently at one of my non-profits that I volunteer for once a week in Valencia. She had re-located to California a couple of years ago. The topic of how she found her realtor, of course, came up. I expected to hear a RELO company, a friend or co-worker referral. But, to my suprise....she found her agent in the Yellow Pages!

I don't even advertise in print anymore. I contact my data base every 8 -12 weeks to stay in touch. I send hand-written cards about once a year too. I have never advertised in the yellow pages at all. And, as a consumer, I pretty much just use it for finding a restaurant's phone number.

But, this lucky lady? She found a great realtor, one I've worked with on a fairly recent transaction. During our transaction, she did exactly what she said she was going to do, and, in a very timely manner. I lucked out with her, so did this non-native Californian.

So, it boils down to this.....that family was lucky! Yellow pages for Realtors would certainly not be my referral suggestion. Re-connecting with one, ok, I'll go for that. But, stabbing a pin blindly into a telephone directory ad, nope!

When you are looking for an agent, talk with friends, family, co-workers. When moving to a different area, talk to your current neighborhood realtor and ask for a referral or two. They should know someone that works in the neighborhood that you are moving too. Or, at least know someone that knows someone, you know?

A realtor isn't someone to select lightly. They need to have the experience to handle a transaction that is one of the most important you will ever make. Helping you to pick that home for you and your family. That's a huge task to ask of someone. And, although it sounds like I'm asking for a referral...not...just passing on an unusual situation that worked out well for these folks.

My business is 85-90% referral-based, for a reason. I treat my people the way my mums taught me. Treat them the way I would want to be treated, no less than that. And, dang it, if it takes a bazillion houses to find the closest to perfect home we can get.....a bazillion we will see!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Short Sales & Real Estate Today

Hot Topic! Yes, indeedy. Short-Sales....the process of one obtaining a home with the existing sellers' lender receiving less than what is owed on the loan. Not a short process by any means. Not always guaranteed to close. But, alas, it is what we are facing in the current market and I anticipate it will continue for quite some time. So, shall we wait for approval from the sellers lender? Hmmm......my clients know my catch phrase...."Like Throwing Spaghetti At A Wall" Keep throwing, something's gotta stick!

When you see a property that is listed as a short sale...don't get that excited thinking it means you can get it for less. The bank that holds the note does want current market value. They are being 'shorted' on the balance outstanding on their loan. They need to make as much money as possible. They do have a board of directors and investors to report to.

But, don't run away from them either. There won't be much to look at if you do. Find a home, short-sale or not, that you can live in. One that you would be happy living in. Write those 10 wish list items, get 7 or 8 of them. If it is a short-sale, write an offer. A valid priced offer. But, don't stop looking!!! Never stop looking. Never 'fall in love' and not be able to see something else that would work for you and/or your family by waiting for a short-sale property to close escrow.

You write on one, get accepted. Then what? On top of the continual search, this is what generally happens with short-sales.....YOU GET FRUSTRATED!!! Ah, but it is what it is. So, the listing agent forwards 100's of pages of documents, your offer included, to the sellers lender. The lender does a BPO (Broker Price Opinion) to see if your offer is even valid, $$ wise. Then, they look through all those 100's of pages.....slowly.....and assign a negotiator. The negotiator then crosses off all the items that the lender will not pay for (remember the seller is in financial hard-ship so the lender pays the fees to sell the house) and says, many months later....okay, we'll accept this buyers offer. And, by then, often that buyer has walked away and found something else because he/she knows it may never have come to fruition anyways. So, the poor listing agent has to start all over again with a new buyer! And, frequently, the process takes so long, and one side of the bank doesn't talk to the other side of the bank....and lo & behold....it's gone to Trustee Sale and it's been foreclosed upon. So, wait, you have another shot at it! It will come back as an REO (Real Estate Owned), or foreclosure......someday.....

It, unfortunately, is the market that we are in today. You need an agent with experience, and patience, to guide you through the process. It is frustrating on all parties, but it is what it is. And, you gotta keep tossing that fettucini!