Posts Tagged ‘oakland county mi short sale’

Oakland County MI Home Seller- The Short Sale is Subject to YOUR Approval Too

houseWhen you sell your home via short sale in Oakland County MI or Lapeer County MI one of the contingencies in both your listing agreement and purchase agreement will be (should be) “subject to seller and lien holder approval of short sale.”

The bank or banks can approve the short sale, but if you aren’t happy with the terms under which the bank approved the short sale, you don’t have to close. Sometimes foreclosure is a better alternative than a short sale. To be fair to both your agent and potential buyer,  you should discuss the alternatives with you agent, an attorney familiar with bankruptcy, and your accountant if you have one, prior to listing your house. Once you make that informed decision to list, you need to be prepared for what may happen. Some basics you should know about short sale:


  • You’re not just walking away from the deficiency without consequences unless it is negotiated with the bank or banks
  • You may have to bring money to the closing or sign a note for a portion of the deficiency in order to get the lien holder(s) to release you from liability for any deficiency
  • In Michigan the bank(s) has up to 10 years to come after you for the deficiency if it isn’t taken care of when you sell
  • If the house is sold at sheriff’s sale for the same or more than you owe there is no deficiency to hold you liable for (providing you have only 1 mortgage)

My job as a listing agent, when representing a short sale seller, is to price the home in a manner to obtain an qualified buyer at a price and terms the bank(s) holding your note will take. It is also my job to negotiate terms that are acceptable to you the seller- mainly dealing with the deficiency so you don’t get sued later. Sometimes the banks will just release you of responsibility because of my sunny personality! Sometimes they will want you to bring money to the closing. Sometimes they will want you to sign a note. Sometimes they may require money and a note.

When we meet the first time, I need you to be totally forth coming. I will not judge you. I need to know broke homeownerthe reasons you’re selling, your debts, your income, I’ll take a DNA swab- not really regarding the DNA but you get the idea. I need you to be totally honest. And I will be honest with you. I will let you know what I think you should expect. I will discuss various negotiating techniques I have found to be quite successful in bringing the short sale to a conclusion that is favorable to everybody. And I will tell you if I think you would be better off meeting with a bankruptcy attorney. Bankruptcy is NOT a dirty word! Foreclosure is NOT a dirty word!

This is the second in a series of posts about selling a short sale listing. I will be writing posts in the near future that will discuss negotiating techniques, pricing strategies, what to look for in a buyer, and post on when foreclosure may be the best option for you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about selling your North Oakland County or Lapeer County MI home.

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty
cell: (248)736-6407

Is a Short Sale the Right Course of Action for You?

For Sellers

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Tired of calling your agent with homes you find on Realtor.com or on your agent’s IDX site (consumer MLS) only to be told that many of those homes are pending? And many of those same homes are still showing as active a month or two or six later? I would be frustrated and start to wonder if MY agent was lying to me. I would start to wonder if MY agent had another reason for not wanting to even SHOW me those homes.


Your agent isn’t lying. The CCS status is an ACTIVE status and is highly misused. CCS was originally for homes that had an accepted offer subject to the sale of another house. We called that a 72 hour contingency clause, and basically the seller would keep their home on the market and if another acceptable offer came in the first buyer had 72 hours to remove their contingency and go through with the sale (prove sale of their own home or buy without selling) OR back out and the seller would proceed with the second offer.

Fast forward to the day of the short sale!Short sale” is simply another contingency in an offer to purchase. It is a seller contingency and is no different than a buyer contingency of mortgage approval or satisfactory home inspection. It IS a contingency that normally takes longer to satisfy than other “normal” contingencies. The sale is contingent on the seller obtaining a reduced mortgage payoff from their lien holder(s)- reduced enough to accommodate the offer price in the offer to purchase.


At this point a listing agent often changes the listing status to CCS – contingent continue to show. Let me be absolutely clear at this point:

  • The buyer and seller have a fully executed purchase agreement.
  • That purchase agreement contains contingencies just like every other fully executed purchase agreement
  • One of those contingencies is a short sale contingency which can take several months to satisfy

I don’t know why a listing agent would still leave the listing with an active status (CCS is an active status). Does that agent REALLY think buyers will be lining up to place back up offers on a pending home? Are the current buyers so flighty they may walk and lose their earnest money? Or is the original offer so poorly written that the buyer IS ABLE to walk without consequences? Or possibly the listing agent wants to keep the listing with an active status to pick up buyer leads? CCS in the MLS still sends our listings to Realtor.com, MoveInMichigan.com, etc. Or maybe this is just becoming such a common practice that most agents don’t even think and automatically mark their pending short sale listings CCS.

Whatever the reasons:


Search the MLS (skip over the CCS listings!)

What Makes a Good Short Sale Agent

The Short Sale Approval is Also Subject to the Seller’s Approval of the Short Sale Terms

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short sale listing agentWhether buying or selling a short sale in North Oakland County or Lapeer Michigan, the abilities of the listing agent are very important. From the seller’s perspective, they need an agent who is very careful and precise with pricing. The seller needs an agent who knows which offer should be accepted and which should not. An agent who will not only get the short sale approved with the first offer, but approved with terms that are acceptable to the seller.

From the buyer’s perspective the seller needs that same agent I just described above. With a lesser agent your offer may never make it to the closing table and you can wait 5 or 6 months only to be told “too bad, so sad you’re not getting the house.”

So- back to the question in the title of this post. What makes a good short sale agent?

The same things that have always made an agent a good agent. A short sale is just another contingency that needs to be cleared in order to make it to the closing table, albeit more difficult to accomplish than most contingencies. In the past, the sellers didn’t always know they were being short changed when they hired an incompetent agent. And the buyers were ecstatic if they could pit their good agent against a lousy listing agent; it just meant better price or terms for them. Now, the abilities of the listing agent are much more determinant to the outcome of the transaction- whether the closing happens or not.

A good agent in any market is detailed oriented, full time, knowledgeable, honest, available (not 24/7short sale listing agent experience counts available, but a person who answers their phone or returns calls and emails in a timely fashion). Experience helps immensely but a newer agent can also be a good agent. But all things being equal except for the experience factor, experience should trump new. And beware! Short sale designations DO NOT make an agent a good agent. Designations are easy to get and even if an agent had a PHD in short sales (if one existed) that doesn’t mean they are detail oriented, full time, honest or available. It doesn’t even necessarily make them knowledgeable. It means that sat through some classes.

Oakland and Lapeer County seller: If you need to sell and include a short sale contingency, please please please carefully choose the agent who will represent you. There is no need to go through the motions and take up a half  year of your life to just face foreclosure.

short sale agent honesty is importantOakland and Lapeer County buyer: If you are willing to put looking at homes on hold for 5 or 6 months while you wait for lender AND seller approval of the short sale, don’t you think the ability of the listing agent affects you almost as much as it affects the seller? If the sale fails you won’t be looking at a foreclosure like the seller might, but you could be looking at rising interest rates and rising home prices which could be a significant amount of money to you in the long run. Are you willing to put that much of your financial future into the hands of a listing agent who doesn’t fill in the lake name or the acreage search field? Are you willing to put your financial future into the hands of an agent who fills out the MLS remarks with something along the lines of “subj to short sale approval. commission 50-50” and no mention of the professionally finished walkout or the custom kitchen or the heated pole barn. Are you willing to put your financial future into the hands of an agent you you have not met nor had an opportunity to interview, but an agent who only puts 1 or 2 photos in the MLS when we are able to put 25 photos in the MLS? If that agent is that sloppy or non-committed to getting the listing sold during the easy part of the transaction- inputting into the MLS- what kind of a job is that person going to do when it comes to the actual work of negotiating the short sale. And remember- that is a short sale with terms acceptable to BOTH the lender and seller.

Buyers- The Importance of a Good Buyers Agent

Sellers- The Nuts and Bolts of Selling Your Home

Sellers- Marketing Your Home

Buyers- Everything You Need to Know About Short Sales

Seach the MLS 

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