Financial stress can be unbearable. Trying to sell a home while going through financial stress can feel overwhelming, confusing and simply unmanageable if you’ve never done it before.
You might be behind on payments and afraid that any day the bank will foreclose on you. You might be on the verge of missing payments and unsure of how to move forward. The bank may be bombarding you with mail and phone calls offering you confusing and conflicting options.
You may have people driving by the house offering you cash for the home or telling you they saw something online that says you’re about to lose your home. People may be leaving you flyers promising a “quick sale” if you just call the number on the flyer.
You may know you want to sell the home but you don’t know where to start.
Additionally, you may not know who to trust. It can feel like you’re being harassed by various people who are telling you to do different things.
I recently worked with a woman who was 4 months behind on her mortgage. She couldn’t pay any longer and knew she wanted to sell her home. She hired her friend’s husband to list her home on the market. A few weeks after she signed the listing, she received a Notice of Default taped to her door but she didn’t say anything to anyone (she didn’t know she had to) – and her agent never knew to ask her if she’d received anything taped to the door.
Her agent was not paired with a Distressed Sale Manager and did not know what questions to ask to discover that she’d received this notice and was eligible for Mediation under the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act.
Fortunately, we were able to file her Mediation, stop the foreclosure timeline and put the process on hold for 30-days. This allowed her an additional month to clear out her home and move in an organized manner.
While well-intentioned, this agent did not know what questions to be asking the homeowner and he didn’t know the available legal rights for someone in her situation.
To avoid something like this, you need to make sure you’re using a real estate broker who understands Distressed Properties and all the moving parts involved.
Below are the Top 5 Traits of a Distressed Property Real Estate Broker
- Experience: They have sold a distressed home before
- It is common to want to use family or a friend when selling your home and that is fine in a non-distressed situation but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received frantic calls from people who used an agent that they knew personally and a major part of the transaction was overlooked.
- The agent you choose should have on the ground experience with distressed homes, foreclosure activity, foreclosure timelines, and an ability to adapt quickly to the particular needs of your sale.
- A solid escrow team: The escrow company has closed distressed sales before
- An escrow agent is the party responsible for facilitating the closing of the sale, communicating with all parties, working with all creditors attached to the home, and disbursing the funds from the sale.
- I’ve had to step in at the tail end of a transactions countless times because an escrow company let something they didn’t foresee fall through the cracks.
- Agents hire the escrow company they want to use and many inexperienced agents think that all closings are essentially the same. Distressed sales have many more moving parts – some of which are unfamiliar to even experienced escrow teams.
- Fearless negotiation skills: The agent must stand up for you and be unafraid to transfer costs to the buyer
- In a distressed sale, you should not be contributing much to your sale (if anything). Some inexperienced agents want you to pay for things or to “meet buyers halfway.”
- You are already in a financially stressed situation (and likely selling your home because of it!) so you are in no position to pay out much money to complete your sale.
- Most costs are negotiable (especially if you’re completing a short sale), so you want an agent who is unafraid to lay out exactly what the buyer will need to do in order to purchase the home.
- Unlimited assistance with your documents: The agent must have time to help you complete your documents and get them where they need to go
- Distressed properties sometimes have more paperwork required than other types of sales. It can be expensive and annoying to have to be responsible for transmitting them where they need to go yourself, especially if you don’t have a scanner or fax machine.
- A good agent will use their resources to help you get your documents where they need to go on time and in a cost-efficient manner for you.
- Compassion: The agent should care about you and what you’ve been through
- Financial stress is one of the most unbearable things a person can go through. It can be all-consuming. You deserve to have an agent who is willing to listen to what you’ve been through and treat you with the compassion you deserve.
- Nobody sets out to have financial hardship and you need an agent who understands that.
- If you cannot find a Distressed Sale Manager to help you, the next best thing you can do is make sure you vet your real estate agent so you end up with someone who can effectively help you sell your home.
If you’d like to discuss your Distressed Sale further or evaluate your options, please call me at (425) 654-1674.
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