A prospective client came asking for help. She had a short sale specialist working on her case for over a year. The thing was, this agent was not even local (from San Diego) and would only tell her that things were going well for well over a year; not much communication, just that things were OK every few months. The distance probably had something to do with the lack of continual communication.
Only recently, did she receive a call from him saying the lender would not be approving the short sale and would now be foreclosing. This came as a complete shock to her. This was obviously a case of dual track foreclosure or simple negligence on the part of the agent. She said the agent was basically backing out and telling her that he could no longer help her. She wanted to know if I could help by replacing him.
It’s easy to wonder why someone would simply trust an agent for over a year and not ask questions or demand that she be kept apprised of the status of the short sale more frequently than a few times a year. I pulled up the county record to see how much time was remaining on a Notice of Trustee Sale (NOT) and to see if we could save the short sale. My search found that the NOT was filed over 3 months ago. I needed to get more information.
I asked her to get a copy of her file since the agent was essentially firing himself and I needed to know what type of communication had been initiated and what the lenders had agreed to in writing. I also asked her to get me a copy of the NOT to find out the attorney service handling the sale.
After a week or so, I followed up and not surprisingly, she got nothing from this agent. Nothing in writing. Not a copy of the NOT; not a rejection of the short sale letter from the lender; not a copy of the short sale package that was submitted on her behalf; not even a cancellation of the listing agreement; nothing. Only words.
I wanted to help her, but with no documentation and only verbal statements, I could not commit myself to help her out of her predicament. Given her particular situation, I seriously doubt anyone could help her with no documentation of what had happened before and being asked to step in only with the verbal understanding that foreclosure is imminent.
How could this individual have avoided this type of crisis? I’m not going to go into allegations here without seeing any documentation, but it seems like the agent who professed to be a specialist perhaps was not so experienced.
I believe she did not have to be in this situation. The best way to have avoided this crisis, in my opinion, was for her to have done her due diligence when hiring someone to help her out initially. You really do not get a second chance when you are dealing with foreclosures.
First, she should have hired someone locally rather than someone who is 500 miles away to market and sell her home. From what was described to me, he really didn’t know the local market and did not price it correctly nor put in a lot of effort to get it marketed correctly. If she were not getting answers, she could have dropped in on a local agent to demand answers in a more timely manner.
Secondly, she is a young computer literate woman; she should have done some research into who she was hiring. After all, she found me online. She should have Googled the person’s name and see what was said about the individual. She may not have gotten everything she needed, but she would have discovered if someone were alleging bad service or worse. People may not write nice things about you, but if they felt mistreated, they will let the world know, from my experience.
Please distressed homeowners, do your due diligence before hiring someone to help you.