Solving the Short Sale Catch-22 for New York Agents: Refer it Out

J Philip Faranda January 14, 2009

I overheard an agent recently lamenting the difficulty of a short sale they had listed. They couldn’t reach anyone at the lender, they were unsure of how to handle a somewhat tricky issue with the file, and they wished it were easier. Nobody in their office was helping them, and they doubted a competitor would either. 

Think about that for a second. Imagine you are undergoing a medical procedure and you emerge from your fog to a litany of complaints from your surgeon that she can’t make this go right, no one will help her, and that she wishes it were easier. Pretty scary? You bet it is. Bill Cosby had a funny bit years ago when a patient heard the surgeon say “oops.” Do you want your clients to hear you say “oops” when they are depending on you desperately to help them avoid foreclosure?

Plumbers, electricians, surgeons, surveyors, architects, appraisers and specialists of all kinds do not become specialists cutting their teeth alone. They all do some form of apprenticeship or internship. The first 20 short sales I was exposed to and worked on were under the guidance of my broker, who was an expert. I never flew solo until I earned my wings. Just because you attended a short sale seminar or read in Inman news that short sales are the next big thing doesn’t mean you’ll start making money in that niche right away. And it hurts clients who may not know you are in your first or 2nd short sale and are learning the ropes on the backs of their financial future.

If you want to make money in short sales immediately, REFER IT OUT to someone who can close it and pay you a referral fee. It is in the best interest of the client to have a bona fide specialist and it makes you money without any more headaches. Don’t worry about saving face, just do it. You’ll be a hero. It is in the client’s best interest. The cost of erring could be catastrophic.

Alternatively, if you really want to dedicate yourself to becoming an expert, go dock your license with a specialist and learn under their watch and guidance. But don’t fly solo. Obviously, if you are in my neck of the woods, we’ll happily pay you a referral for a short sale listing. But even if you are in California, the point remains the same: refer the client to a specialist or go work for one.

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