How a VA Can Help Real Estate Agents Negotiate Short Sales

Foreclosures are a harsh reality in real estate. Every day homeowners are faced with the possibility of losing their property. It is a dreaded situation that no one hopes to experience. An option to consider is a short sale. In order to facilitate a short sale, the homeowner is advised to hire the services of a real estate agent. But the process itself can be complicated and tedious that the real estate agent often hires a VA or Virtual Assistant to negotiate short sales.

What is a Short Sale?


A short sale is a situation whereby the lender agrees to receive an amount or mortgage payoff that is less than what is owed in order to carry out the sale of a property of a distressed owner. Essentially, the lender forgives the remaining balance of the loan.

A short sale may save the homeowner from foreclosure but it may damage his credit score. In most cases, the homeowner will end up will hardly a penny to buy a new home. This is one of the most important reasons a homeowner hires a real estate agent before deciding on a short sale.

A real estate agent can get an estimate of the home’s worth in today’s markets. It will put the agent in a better position to negotiate a short sale price for the homeowner.

The process of negotiating a short sale can take time which is why some agents refer to it as a “long sale”. There are volumes of documents to be prepared and reviewed. A great deal of time and resources are also spent negotiating terms with the lender.


How a VA Can Help Facilitate the Short Sales Process for Real Estate Agents


To find out how a VA can help a real estate agent negotiate a short sale, it would be best to go through the different stages of the process. Then identify which tasks can be outsourced to a VA.

1. Marketing


Marketing is an integral part of the real estate business. Agents extensively market and promote their services in order to find clients of new property and for those who need assistance in a short sale.

A Virtual Assistant can utilize different methods of marketing foremost of which are Internet- based tools, techniques and processes. The VA can create content and distribute these in social media and other relevant communities. Another effective approach is to send an e-mail detailing the specific service to those in the captured leads list.

The VA can then respond to inquiries that come in by e-mail, social media or phone messaging and arrange a meeting with the agent at the earliest possible time.


2. Qualifying Prospective Clients


Not all requests for short sale assistance can be accepted by real estate agents. There are 2 conditions for qualifying a short sale:

  • The home owner can prove he or she is experiencing financial hardship and can no longer pay for the mortgage.
  • The current value of the home is less than the amount owed to the lender.

The real estate agent can prepare a list of questions designed to check if the owner qualifies for the short sale. The agent can then instruct the Virtual Assistant to conduct the interview and record it as reference.


3. Preparing the Listing Documents


When a client has been qualified for a short sale, the VA can then proceed to prepare the listing documents. Delegating this task to the VA saves the agent a great deal of time. Once the listing documents are ready, the VA can schedule a meeting where the agent can have the client complete the paperwork and discuss the short sale negotiation strategy.


4. Summarizing the Lender’s Short Sale Requirements


The agent will also have to instruct the VA to summarize the lender’s short sale requirements which may include the following:

  • An Executed Listing Agreement – Information that lenders want to see are the date the property was listed in the market, the name of the agency that did the listing, the term of the listing and the total amount of commission.
  • Full Executed Purchase Contract – Some lenders may not accept purchase contracts that were sent electronically. They want the hard copy. The VA has to make sure the complete address is indicated, every page has been initialized and the contract has been signed by all parties. On some cases, the agent may be asked to sign by the lender.
  • Seller’s Hardship Letter – The VA must review the contents of the Hardship Letter. It must narrate how the seller came to this situation, what has been done to remedy the problem and why a short sale is the only option. It must be dated, signed and should include the loan number.
  • Last 2 Bank Statements – As proof of financial incapacity.
  • Last 2 Tax Returns – As proof seller has not been negligent of paying the correct taxes.
  • Last 2 W2’s – As proof of the amount of your salary. Business owners should submit an audited Profit and Loss Statement.
  • Estimated HUD-1- Closing statement that contains the property address, sellers’ and buyers’ names and estimated closing date.

You should have a Comprehensive Market Analysis or CMA made in case the lender rejects the sales price.


5. Transmitting the Authorization to Release Information


Once the VA has spoken with the lender, the Authorization to Release should already be issued by the homeowner and transmitted to the lender.

The Authorization to Release must state that the homeowner has given the agent and the VA the authority to represent him or her to the lender. Without an Authorization to Release, the agent cannot negotiate with the lender.

6. Uploading Property Details in the MLS


The Virtual Assistant proceeds to list the property in the MLS or Multiple Listing Service along with the latest images to generate more interest from site visitors.

Offers that are submitted can be reviewed by the VA and forwarded to the agent for discussion with the seller. From there, the VA can move to schedule home visits for interested buyers.


7. Submission of the Short Sale Package


Once the agent approves of a suitable sale from a prospective buyer which the homeowner accepts, the VA can work on putting together all the necessary documents required by the lender.

Having a Virtual Assistant attend to this is very important because the short sale package must be submitted in its complete form. Virtual assistants are meticulous and detail- oriented. Delays due to missed documents can have serious repercussions on prospects for having the short sale approved.

After the short sale package has been submitted, the Virtual Assistant must now keep a tight schedule of constantly following up the current status of the short sale with the lender. Virtual assistants are perfect to handle this because many are patient, dedicated and committed to see their tasks through.

The entire short sale negotiation process can take anywhere from 1 month to 4 months depending on the lender. Thus, the VA can work on the follow ups and invite the agent only when a representative of the lender is available to take the call.

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