JL's Columbia SC Real Estate Blog: You're "trying" a Short Sale

You're "trying" a Short Sale

 Here in the Columbia, SC real estate market, our market is not dominated by short sales nor forclosures. We didn't see the huge impact of bank owned properties that many other parts of the nation unfortunately did encounter. That's not to say that we don't have them, because we do, it's just to say that they do not take up the majority of our homes for sale they are just a part of them.

 However, I will say one thing that I have run into with the short sales that are on the market here. I have seen many homes for sale that say in the agent remarks on the MLS that they are attemting a short sale. I do not like to see words like attemting or trying when it comes to these matters, I like to see that it is or is not a short sale. What I have found through speaking with the listing agents on a few of these properties is that they have done no negotiating with the bank what so ever. They are just putting a price on the home for sale, and then saying that they are "trying" a short sale.

 Now since I do not really deal with a lot of short sales and I have never been the listing agent on one, I will not pretend to be an expert because I'm not. But I'll tell you something that I do know. You don't just get together with a Realtor and a home owner and make the decision that you will do a short sale just because you feel like it. You have to actually negotiate with the bank that holds the mortgage in order to have an approved short sale.

 The other day while showing homes for sale to a client, we got to one of the particular properties that had showing instructions that read vacant, lockbox, and sign. Well, when my client and I got there it was pouring down rain and when we made it to the porch, there was no lockbox on the door. I told my client to stay put and I would run around back to see if I could find the lockbox. Of course there was none there either, so I called the listing agent to see what was going on. Of course I did not get an answer, so I left a message and we moved on to the next home on the tour.

 Fast forward to two days later when my phones rings and when I answer there was a lady on the other end of the line asking what can she help me with. There were children screaming in the background and so much noise I could barely tell what she was attempting to say to me. I asked who she was, and she explained that I had called her about one of her listings and then it dawned on me that she was the listing agent from the home I tried to show two days ago and she was just now returning my call. I told her that I had been on the porch with a client at the time and there was no lockbox.

 She then informed me that she had removed the lockbox a few days before, because the bank wanted too much money for the home. They wanted $120,000 and she had it listed for $111,000 and of course in the agent remarks on the MLS was the phrase, we are trying a short sale. I asked if she had negotiated the short sale with the bank and she replied no. I asked her why she had not just listed the house at $120,000, and she said, "because we were doing a short sale."

 Well, no they were not doing a short sale, they were just throwing a price out there and "trying" to do a short sale. So far as I know, that's not really how it works. You don't just make it up in your head that you are going to sell a home for less than you owe, and call that a short sale because you feel like it. Now of course the home is off the market and I would assume that the bank is about to foreclose on it. The whole thing seems to be a bit unnecessary to me, but what would I know.




JL Boney, III - Columbia, SC Realtor - Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

 I specialize in Columbia, SC real estate and the surrounding areas, including Blythewood, SC, Kershaw County, Fairfield County, and Lexington, SC. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in Columbia, SC or any of the surrounding areas, I would love the opportunity to speak with to see how I can help. Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me if I can be of service to you.

Office- 803-788-1450     Cell- 803-730-9601     Email- James_Boney@Yahoo.com

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Comment balloon 14 commentsJL Boney, III • April 17 2009 11:39AM


I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about short sales and what they are and the process to completed one successfully.  Seems like everyone is "offering" seminars to become experts on the short sales.  I have read a lot about them here on AR and learned a lot.  You are right about this not being the process.

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Uh....and that's why so many homes DON'T make it through the short sale process and end up in foreclosure ...educated professionals make a difference.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 10 years ago

HI JL-While I don't know a lot about short sales I do know enough now that I wish I had known with my home several years ago, But too late now for that. People definitely need well informed pro at difficult times in ones life. Well done and JL you my friend know a lot. <SMILE>

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) almost 10 years ago

LOL, I just quit showing them all together. Because of stuff just like this!

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) almost 10 years ago

JL...I hate short sales and foreclosures with a passion.  And that usually stems from dealing with the SELLING agent!!!!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) almost 10 years ago

Short sales are best left to agents that know what they are doing. That house will no doubt go to foreclosure and the agent did a disservice to the seller.

Posted by Cameron Wilson, The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ (Labrum Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Hi JL, sounds like our markets are similar in that we aren't swimming in short sales or foreclosures.  I went to some classes and quickly figured out that I will refer them to agents who actually seem to enjoy the challenge rather than try to muddle through. 

Posted by Alyce Martin, Albuquerque - THE Place To Be! (The Realty Group, LLC) almost 10 years ago


Short sales are a way of life in South Florida; with over 50% of the business  now in short sales.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 10 years ago


I have encountered the agent with the screaming kids ... and yes, she called days later. Do you think that the kids were screaming for two days and she finally decided to call you anyway?

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) almost 10 years ago


I would think that you are either doing a short sale or you are not.  I didn't know tht there was a middle ground in that market.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) almost 10 years ago

JL:  As very nearly, a 100% short sale agent, it's hard to get preapproval from a bank on these things.  If they are preapproved, it's the idea of the short sale.  Not the terms.  The market changes too fast and there are too many terms to be negotiated.  Best to know what circumstances banks DO accept as a listing agent.  I'm getting 95% of my short sale aproved and closed with no preapproval. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 10 years ago

I've found that a bank will not usually agree to a short sale until the home owners are behind on their mortgage, the home is listed and an offer presented.  In NJ only then do they order a BPO and tell you an acceptable price.  That price is not set in stone! 

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) almost 10 years ago

Kim- There are tons of misunderstanding about short sales, from both consumers and professionals.

Sally- Yes they do, again education saves the day.

Sharon- There is no replacement for a knowledgeable professional.

Laura- I can understand.

Bill- I have been lucky with the foreclosures that I have sold here, all of them had agents that were very good and easy to deal with.

Cameron- I would have to agree my friend.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) almost 10 years ago

Alyce- I have not had the necessity to do a short sale myself, but I believe at this point I would refer one to an agent who specializes in that sort of thing.

Lou- I would assume that's the case in a lot of places.

Richard- I think that may very well be the case indeed.

Don- I wasn't aware of the in between either.

Chris Ann- I don't think there is anyone here who has that high of a percentage of short sales as part of their business. As a result, we have a lot of people who are trying to do things that they do not know how to do.

Laura- I don't really deal with them very much myself, but I do know that you can't just make a decision to do one without talking to the bank and getting it approved at least after the offer is made.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) almost 10 years ago