Short Sale Listing Agents Need Consistent Training

Posted by: Tony Sena on March 4th, 2011

The designations most agents get serve one purpose, marketing. They are trying to separate themselves from the pack to get listings.

Some of the poorest quality short sale education is offered by real estate boards and governmental agencies who were caught completely off-guard by the explosion of homes needing to be short sold.

These real estate boards and agencies move slow, as most large organizations do. So, how can they stay ahead of the Short Sale curve, when they can’t even keep the addendums updated?

I find myself creating necessary forms and disclosures long before my local board comes out with one. If you do the same, be sure to run them by your broker and an attorney if necessary to ensure you stay within professional purview.

The fact that our own professional organizations seem to be slow to keep up, what would make anyone believe the short sale training offered by them would actually give agents a competitive advantage against the financial institutions?

The truth is the real estate industry looked to the banks for guidance thinking agents and banks just needed to get on the same page to help expedite short sales. Instead, the banks took the opportunity to condition agents to help get what the banks want; cut commissions, deficiencies and promissory notes for their clients.

There is no cookie cutter approach to short sales, and it takes at least 20 short sale closings before an agent can claim that they have a small clue about the process. So, a few hours of training in a weekend course is not necessarily the type of “experience” a homeowner is looking for to help them navigate through the complex short sale process.

One of my top short sale real estate agents, Paul Rowe, attends major seminars with proven short sale providers every quarter. He participates in mastermind/training groups that meet at least once a week. He also belongs to small coaching groups which provide live training where he can bring actual scenarios into the class and receive help.

Beyond this, Paul also has also assembled a personal network of experienced agents to help when he encounters unfamiliar scenarios.

Said Rowe, “The mentor process is essential. Unlike other forms of real estate, short sales should not be proprietary, after all, we have taken an oath to serve our clients and in this case, help them avoid foreclosure. There are more business opportunities in short sales than any individual can handle. We must help each other, for our clients’ sake.”

Many of you have decided to use third party negotiators. Be careful if you are, especially if you are using unlicensed assistants, title companies etc. to communicate with the banks on your clients’ behalf. Being removed from the short sale negotiations creates natural gaps where miscommunication may occur.

While there are some good third party companies out there, we found that there was simply no substitute for working our own files from start to finish. We just didn’t see the benefits of using third parties, especially since we carry 100% of the liabilities with our clients during the sale anyway.

Bottom line, regular training, mentorship programs, joining an experienced agent’s short sale team, mastermind groups and a lot of personal research and reading is what it takes to break into the short sale market.



One Response on “Short Sale Listing Agents Need Consistent Training”


I agree that most boards are behind in their training. We did receive HAFA certififcation from our board in January and have found it very useful. The training and support that we find useful is with teh CDPE certification. True, it is maketing focused but if you actively read the blogs and articles you will stay on top of recent changes. Your last two paragraphs are spot on. Every transaction is a bit different and the only way to get good at short sales is to do them.

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