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5 Reasons Why the Short Sale Seller Still Cares About the Price

Here are a few good tips on why a Seller's input does matter on a short sale. The tax implications stand out in the list below. The opinion of value is interesting along with the reference to the Neighbors. Unrealistic numbers mean a stuck in cement short sale process for everyone.

5 Reasons Why the Short Sale Seller Still Cares About the Price


There is something about a short sale
that makes some buyers think that the short sale seller is somewhat of a non-entity, a mere speed bump in front of their negotiations with the bank.  But, that is not truly the case, the short sale seller is still the record owner and has their own concerns when considering the amount offered for their home.  A short sale is not simply a foreclosure with a twist.  

Nonetheless, I’ve heard the following statements time and time again from potential short sale buyers:
  • “This is where we want to start with the bank”  
  • “We want the bank to counter us, not the seller”
  • “They should just be happy to avoid foreclosure!”
  • “Why does the seller even care, it’s a short sale!”

Here are 5 reasons why the short sale seller may still care about the price:

1) Potential tax liability.  The goal of the short sale is to obtain debt 

forgiveness from the bank; however, short sale buyers should consider that debt forgiveness may have negative tax consequences for the short sale seller.  As a result a short sale seller may still care about the price, because often the higher the price, the less tax liability they face.  Many short sale sellers will be able to avoid tax liability, but certainly not all will -- this is especially the case where the property was an investment and the seller is still solvent.

2)  They have an opinion.  Most people have an opinion about the value of their home.  It is usually their largest investment and will probably be yours.  Many short sale sellers could afford to keep their home if they purchased it at today’s prices and they have watched the market descend.  They aren’t always thrilled that their home is selling for what they view as “peanuts.”  Sellers who have maintained and improved their home tend to have a strong opinion about its value -- even if it is a short sale.

3)  Neighbors.  Yes, people care about their neighbor’s property values.  Especially short sale sellers.  These are not the folks who back a U-haul up to their home in the middle of the night and leave their former neighbors with a foreclosure to contend with.  They tend to care.  Many times short sale sellers are thinking about their neighbors who are trying to sell or refinance and they don’t want their financial distress to negatively affect their neighbors.  

4) The Bank.  Short sale sellers know that even if they don’t have an

opinion about the value of their home, the bank will. Submitting a low offer that is not likely to be accepted by the bank does little to improve their situation.  Banks use Broker Price Opinions and appraisals to value short sale properties.  If the comparative sales are 20% higher than your offer -- negotiations with the bank could be long, drawn out, and ultimately unsuccessful.

5) An Experienced Short Sale Agent.  Hopefully,the seller has done

their homework.  And, that includes hiring an experienced short sale agent to handle their short sale.  If their agent has advised them well, a short sale seller has listed their home at a price that will likely attract a potential buyer AND lead to short sale approval from their bank.  An experienced short sale agent already has an idea of what the bank will take and knows that accepting an unrealistic offer will often elongate the short sale process for the seller.

If you want to have your offer accepted and presented to the bank, it must be accepted by the short sale seller first.  And, there are still many reasons why the seller may care about the price.

Tni LeBlanc is an independent Real Estate Broker, Attorney, and Short Sale Agent. She is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and Certified HAFA Specialist (CHS) serving the Santa Maria, Orcutt and Five Cities area of the Central Coast of California.

* Nothing in this article is intended to solicit listings currently under contract with another broker. This article offers no legal or tax advice. Those considering a short sale are advised to consult with their own attorney for legal advice, and their tax professional for tax advice prior to entering into a short sale listing agreement.

Copyright© 2011 Tni LeBlanc *5 Reasons Why the Short Sale Seller Still Cares About the Price*

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Comment balloon 2 commentsCheryl Ritchie • December 10 2011 08:30AM
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