Recognizing that not all markets are the same and that we as brokers have an obligation to disclose material facts, my thoughts are centered on practices here in my home market of Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Simply put, I am not sure that marketing listings that are short sales as short sales first and foremost is the best approach. I have actually stopped the practice almost entirely, especially in cases where the home is still occupied.
Our MLS has a Yes/No option for the disclosure of a short sale. We can say that the sale is subject to 3rd party approval. I think this suffices for disclosure. Most of my short payoff listings are the same as regular sales- owner occupied, cared for, warm and well-presented. Some have been downright upscale. I have found through experience that the more homey, attactive elements these homes have in common with equity sales is the best way to market them.
Phrases like short sale bargain, short sale opportunity, and in my opinion the worst, pre-foreclosure, all over the marketing can be counterproductive. There are several trends I have identified.
- I get inundated by inquiries from these people who are “short sale investors.”
- They attract more lowball offers from bargain hunters, bottom feeders and speculators.
- The buyers and buyer agents treat them more like REOs, with less notice for showings and, in some cases, insensitivity to the owner occupants.
- Plastering “short sale” all over my listings began to brand me at one time as a less attractive option for prospective sellers who weren’t short sales and didn’t want to be lumped in with them.