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All Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Area Homeowners In Foreclosure Need To Hear This

Jul 15, 2008
It's bad enough that you are in a predicament like foreclosure. The pain and frustration of not knowing what to do can be maddening. Don't compound matters by getting involved with a real estate agent who does not have the experience or know how to help you.

The government has recently made it easier to resolve your foreclosure by enacting the the Mortgage Debt Relief Act. This allows a homeowner in foreclosure to avail themselves of the short sale method of resolution to sell the property.

While the application of the law is quite technical, many Realtors are in the field telling their Fort Lauderdale real estate market clients in foreclosure whatever they want to hear without having any business doing so.

As millions of loans are now adjusting and as hundreds of thousands of those loans are in or headed for foreclosure, many homeowners are turning to real estate agents to help them in their hour of need.

Unfortunately, most real estate agents are not properly trained to handle the complexities of negotiating with a bank to successfully help the homeowner.

The agents are at a complete disadvantage as many do not even realize that they are in a negotiation with a trained troubleshooter whose job is to mitigate losses for the lender.

Most agents seem to be much more worried about how to make sure they get their commission than helping the homeowner escape foreclosure. In the states with the highest rates of foreclosure, it takes less time to become a real estate agent than it does to become a head cashier at Disney World.

In California you can become a real estate agent and begin selling homes by taking an "open book" exam that only requires a 60% grade or better to pass. In Florida, you can become a real estate agent by taking a one week class where they give you a simulation" of the answers in some courses, and in Nevada which has the strongest criteria, you can become an agent in as little as two weeks.

All three only require a high school diploma. Is this the person that should be handling the "negotiation" of your home in foreclosure? If this was not bad enough, now that we are in such a foreclosure crisis, most have had no experience in this type of market and are struggling to learn and complete what is called a "short sale".

A short sale is where the lender agrees to accept less than what they are owed in order to facilitate a sale of the defaulted homeowner's property. Most agents have had little, if any, prior experience in this regard and are using the homeowner's property as a form of on-the-job-training!

All the while locking the homeowner into the most outrageous one-side listing agreement you could imagine. This is absurd! So we feel it's important that a Fort Lauderdale real estate homeowner in foreclosure, or for that matter, a homeowner in foreclosure anywhere find out what they are getting into, or what they are already into, if they have already tied their hopes to the newly dubbed "short sale expert" real estate agent.

Here are "10 Questions You Need To Ask Your Real Estate Agent Before It's Too Late!"

1. How many short sale transactions have you successfully completed? Do you have the MLS numbers of those that you have successfully completed? Remember they are licensed professionals and are not supposed to lie, but that's another story.

2. How many current listings of properties do you represent that are in foreclosure? Can I have those MLS numbers?

3. Are you a full-time real estate agent devoting all of your time to selling my home and the other homes you have listed in foreclosure? This is a big one! Most real estate agents are in dire need and are only working in real estate part time. They are actually working in real estate as a side job. The worst part about this is they don't have to disclose this unless you ask. Would you want your Doctor part-timing at Red Lobster?

4. How long have you been an agent / broker?

5. What formal training have you had in negotiating short sales? How much time did you spend in that training? Yes, short sales require specific training. Most agents have little if ANY experience in short sales or took a two hour course in their office and received some certificate calling them an "expert" or certified.

6. Please explain to me, in detail, what marketing you are performing in relation to the sale of my property? Can you please bring me over the ad sheets and invoices so I can see how much you are spending on marketing MY property? You will either laugh or cry when you find out that they can't do this because they aren't spending ANYTHING to market your property. You're in foreclosure hoping your agent is busting their hump for you only to now ask and find out it there is little if any marketing being done.

7. I realize a short sale can not take place without a buyer. Do you have buyers lined up ready to go? You'll love the answer to that one!

8. As I am in foreclosure and I have special needs, and I have a definitive timeline in which to get my house sold, can I terminate my listing agreement at anytime in case I get an offer that does not come from you?

I mean I have to, I must sell my home and I can't be burdened with a listing agreement that obligates me if I find my own buyer and I am able to get out of foreclosure.

Will you release me if I find my own Buyer and can emerge from foreclosure? If you are allowed to cancel a listing, MAKE SURE IT IS IN WRITING! Sometimes agents have memory lapses and forget they told you this.

9. How many of your foreclosure listings have ended being auctioned off despite your "efforts"? I would like to know how many times you take listings and have not been able to produce a buyer? Can I have those MLS numbers? This is very important. Anyone can call themselves a short sale expert, prove it!

10. If I do get an offer, and it would allow me to get out of foreclosure, but it would mean there would be no funds left over for you to obtain a commission,would you first of all present it and second of all not stand in my way and chase me down for a commission?

After all, I think you would agree, I am in somewhat of an urgent situation.

By the way..we talked to the governing board here in Florida and an agent would have to forego commissions if it meant you were able to save your house from foreclosure!

Here's a bonus question to ask ... can you please give me your answers to the above questions in writing on company letterhead?

Let me save you the trouble Mr. Homeowner,your agent isn't spending any money on your listing, short sales are the "in thing" right now and your agent has had no experience in short sales, and he has no buyers or else the home would not be on the MLS.

You might want to start packing if you do not carefully and thoroughly interview the real estate agent that comes knocking on your door.

We would be happy to assist any homeowner in the greater Fort Lauderdale real estate market or any homeowner in the State of Florida who is in foreclosure and needs help navigating the labyrinth of a short sale transaction.

Our professional team approach to foreclosures and short sales allows you to work with a one-stop shop. We have a property inspector, attorney, title company and experienced loss mitigators on our team ready to handle any foreclosure problem.
About the Author
Robin Sing-Cunningham. Is a real estate agent serving Broward County, Florida. I live in Fort Lauderdale with my husband and I specialize in Fort Lauderdale Real Estate.

You can reach me at my Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Blog.
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