A seller called me a saint yesterday. She could not understand why I was hanging in there for her and trying to close her short sale after everything that has happened. Her Sacramento short sale is a double Countrywide -- meaning it has 2 loans that originated with Countrywide, which is now owned by Bank of America. Bank of America short sales can be a nightmare or a blessing.
We initially sold her Sacramento home to a buyer who walked away at short sale approval. After 5 months. So, we put the home back on the market and sold it to a different buyer who promised to wait. Received short sale approval about 3 months later. During the pending escrow in early December, the pipes in the ceiling broke. This happened because the heat was turned off and we had a freeze in Sacramento. Water flooded the home. But the buyer still wanted to move forward, providing the bank cleaned it up.
Bank of America was immediately notified about the water damage. It promised to send a team to investigate. Every week, Bank of America promised that the remediation team was working on its investigation. Almost 30 days went by. Now the home most likely has mold. Some of the rooms have no walls or ceilings. In short, it's a disaster. The buyer canceled because the bank was slow to respond.
Insurance won't pay for the water damage because a) the home was vacant and b) the heat was turned off. Although Bank of America has indicated that it's willing to fix up the home and let me sell it, I have my reservations that it will make repairs under a short sale. It doesn't have title to the home. The bank is far more likely to foreclose. The best course of action is to sell this as a contractor special in its "as is" condition for all cash.
The seller wanted to know why I wasn't upset. She was mortified by the sudden change of events. I suppose if this was my only listing, I would be crushed, but because it's one of many, I can be more objective. That's just human nature. I was thinking about this, how an agent who works with a lot of people may have a different perception than an agent with little or no clients.
When an agent has only one seller or one buyer as a client, I suspect that some of those agents find it difficult to be as straight-forward and forthright as agents who work with many clients. It's a little bit like dating. Say, for example, you're a woman who has 9 boyfriends versus a woman who is dating one boyfriend. If that lone boyfriend breaks up with you, you're more likely to be heartbroken than if you lose one guy and you're down to eight. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience unless I am.
I believe that working with many sellers and buyers in Sacramento is what keeps me clear headed and logical. It allows me to focus on what's best for the client and to maintain strong fiduciary relationships. I never feel a sense of conflict between doing the right thing or making money, as I imagine some agents without much business may experience. There's never that: OMG, if I don't close this escrow, I can't make my mortgage payment.
I don't push buyers to buy a home. If they're not in love with a home, that's OK; we'll keep looking until they are. I don't insist that sellers sign a listing agreement with me; they need to be 100% confident that I am the right listing agent to sell their home. Then I'll work until the cows come home to move it. If the ceilings and walls collapse, I'll find another way to sell it.
Real estate is all about challenges and finding solutions. Being there for the long haul. Being the kind of agent a client can trust. But it doesn't make me a saint. I'm just a Sacramento agent who loves her job and takes pride in her work.
Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.
Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.