Archive for month May, 2009

What are you looking for? An Agent or an Advocate?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Last week I closed on a property located in Loganville, GA, representing the buyer.  The property was brand new construction; the bank had foreclosed on over one-third of the subdivision.

 

Even though it was a foreclosure, the bank agreed to pay for:

$5,000 in closing costs

$   480 for a home warranty

$   330 for HOA transfer and assessment fees

$   300 to install two new windows that had been broken

$   400 for a termite bond

 

As we were closing, the attorney saw those numbers on the HUD and told my client that he might have had a good advocate in the process, and my client agreed with him.  When the closing had ended, the attorney turned to my client and told him that he had closed that morning on a house in the same subdivision, with the same floorplan, for a price $35,000 higher than we were paying.

 

In these times where everyone is counting the pennies, you need to look not just for an agent who will represent you, but for an advisor who will advocate in your favor during the whole process.  One who will help you to purchase your dream home while looking out for your best interests.

 

I would like to earn your business by providing you with that same level of service, and have a client for life.  What do you buyers think of this kind of service?  Leave us a comment here and tell us what kind of service you are looking for.

Stimulus package from Whom?

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

I love hearing that these blogs are helping people in one way or another, whether it be a seller in distress or an agent trying to make some Short Sales happen, to gain experience and make more transactions in this very difficult market.  But I don’t think the lenders are getting the same message.

One of the longest transactions I’ve ever had over the years I’ve been doing Short Sales is with one of those lenders who “didn’t need the Bailout money,” they said, in order to survive.  But in the end, they decided to accept the government’s money anyway – or excuse me, our money – yours and mine.

The theory they started out selling us, the public, was that the money would be used to help all those people in financial distress.  A few weeks later, the lender decided instead to use the money to buy another large bank.

So, you will understand if I sprinkle a little sarcasm in my story about this lender.  I have been working on this one since September 2008, when I sent an offer I received to the Loss Mitigation Department.  The negotiator assigned to the file took all the way through December and into January to even order the BPO.  When the BPO came in, he decided to counter for about $4,000 more than the offer because the offer seemed low.  By the time he countered, now it was February.

So let’s do the math.  This man waited four months to process the file, order a BPO, and make a counteroffer for $4,000 higher.  This means the negotiator was asking, in effect, for the amount of money the seller had not paid on the mortgage for those 4 months.  Is it fair to the seller, who his doing everything in his power to sell the property, when the negotiator delays and delays the process?

After the negotiator finally gave me the numbers for the counteroffer, and the buyer actually accepted them, I sent all the documents.  Once again, I could not reach anyone by telephone until a month later, when by magic, the loan was assigned to a different negotiator.

It took all of February and March to finally have this new negotiator answer my calls, who proceeded to tell me that their counteroffer was for even more money than they had originally agreed.

After convincing the buyer yet again, the negotiator finally sends me an approval letter, with which the closing attorney tells me he cannot close because the terms are unclear and the transaction might be open to fraud.  Yes, fraud.  After explaining all this to the negotiator, he decides to send me a new approval letter, asking for yet another higher number (for the third time changing the numbers and the approval letter).

Then he had the temerity to tell me  that if the buyer did not accept this change, I should reduce my commission to match his numbers. 

I would love to know if this negotiator is paid a flat salary or a commission.  I would love to know if he’s willing to give up a little of his salary to close a short sale.  Or maybe, as we see in the news every day, he not only gets a salary, but a nice bonus.  But to me, the real question is: Are they doing the job they’re being paid to do?

Now you ask me, why are you doing this?  Why put yourself through all this?  Well, let me tell you it’s not all about the money.  As you can see, left and right, they always want to cut my commission.  But at the end of the day, I firmly believe that I’ve helped someone begin a new life and have a new opportunity to reconstruct their future and their financial standing.  Maybe I’m naïve, but the truth is I feel pretty good.  Especially when I win one of these big battles.

In other words, the only kind of STIMULUS PAKCAGE that homeowners in distress receive is through fair and honest agents that do not give up in the process, fight for their clients, and make a Short Sale happen.  If any of you are in need of this type of Stimulus, let me know.  You can be assured that you are in good hands.