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I get numerous calls every week from homeowners that are in the short sale process that are having issues with the Realtor that is assisting them. I am always sympathetic to their position and constantly hear, “I wish I had found you before I chose my Realtor”. The truth is I wish they had as well because, if they had, they would not be experiencing the problems that they are contacting me about. There is not much I can do to help these homeowners except give them a little advice and knowledge and send them on their way. Ironically, I also get numerous calls from Realtors who are conducting short sales that are at impasses and are unable to address an issue that has arisen during the short sale process. In essence, they have bitten off more than they can chew and are seeking advice and guidance so they reach out to me for assistance. The bottom line is that while some short sales are very easy and will close without a fuss most short sales have problems or moments of crisis and the Realtor handling the short sale better have the knowledge and know-how to circumvent the obstacles that are sure to arise. The truth is, not many of them do so many of these short sales fail.

 

Most of the times homeowners that contact me prior to engaging a Realtor will choose me to help them short sell their properties. I am an obvious choice as I am more than capable of handling nearly any issue that may arise. As an attorney, real estate broker and mortgage broker my experience, knowledge and abilities set me apart from the average Realtor. Of course Realtors do not want to hear this and frequently tell homeowners that there is nothing more that an attorney/Realtor can do than they can or that they are better equipped to handle real estate matters than someone like myself. As you can imagine those statements are caused by insecurity and ignorance. Of course an attorney/Realtor is better equipped than a typical Realtor to handle short sales or any real estate sale for that matter. Real estate transactions are complex legal transfers of ownership consummated by a mountain of legal documents. As a homeowner, all things being equal, who would you rather have handling your transaction, a Realtor with a high school diploma and some college credits or an accomplished transactional attorney legally capable of advising you as to the contents and meanings of legal documents as well as properly structuring addenda and ancillary agreements.

 

Most short sale attorneys like myself do not charge any differently than average Realtors. Just like Realtors we are compensated at the end of the transaction from the proceeds of the short sale. So if a homeowner can get the services of a short sale attorney for no cost out of their pocket why in the world wouldn’t they?

 

Recently I had one potential client choose to use another Realtor instead of my services. Although the homeowner was impressed with my resume and abilities they were concerned that I was not local enough to properly assist them. The homeowner was located in Rancho Cucamonga which is a little more than an hour from my office. I stressed to her that I was ready, willing and able to assist her and that the distance should not be an issue. I also told her that she should be careful on who she retained to help her because her short sale was not going to be easy. She had 3 liens and the 1st lien was not a short sale as the proceeds of the sale would more than cover the 1st lien holder in full. I warned her that if a Trustee Sale date was issued by the 1st lien holder that an average Realtor would have a very difficult time getting it stopped. I assured her that not all Realtors are created the same and that, although she was worried about the distance, that should be an insignificant consideration in determining who to use for the short sale. In the end she chose another Realtor closer to Rancho Cucamonga because he told her 1) he had completed hundreds of short sales; 2) he was going to keep her very involved in the short sale negotiation and process; 3) that there was nothing an attorney/Realtor could do that he could not do; 4) that her short sale was a run of the mill short sale and that it should be easy; 5) that he and his Realtor had connections with the lenders that no one else had; and 4) that there was no one in California more qualified than he was. I told the homeowner that he was full of hot air, that the Realtor was selling himself and that, if he sold her, she would wind of regretting her decision to use him. I assured her that her short sale was not a typical short sale and that this Realtor was biting off more than he could chew. Despite my warnings she decided to use this Realtor due to his proximity to her house.

 

To make a long story short, on Friday of last week at 1:30pm I received a frantic phone call from the homeowner who told me that her house was going to sale at 2:00pm. She was desperate and wanted to know if there was anything I could do. I asked her what had transpired to bring her to this point. She told me that the short sale started off well but soon she began to notice that the Realtor was living up to his promises. His communication was lacking and even when she did speak to him he was not forthcoming with details. When the 1st lien holder issued a sale date the Realtor remained confident and told her that he was working with 1st lien holder’s short sale department and that the sale would get pushed back to allow for the transaction to move forward. The homeowner started to lose faith in the Realtor as the sale drew closer and closer. She told me that she remembered what I had said about this not being a normal short sale and that the1st lien holder could be difficult if a sale date was posted. As the sale date remained her tension increased and the Realtor’s confidence faded. When the homeowner discovered that the Realtor was using a 3rd party negotiator to communicate with the bank and was not directly involved himself, she said she swallowed her pride and called me.

 

I told her that I had warned her that the Realtor had oversold his abilities. I told her that it was too late for me to intervene at this point that the sale was in 25 minutes and that her fate now rested in the hands of the Realtor she had chosen. I also told her that if this Realtor or whoever was calling the lender on her behalf was asking the 1st lien holder’s short sale department to intervene that her house was surely going to sale. I reiterated that the proceeds of the sale were enough to completely compensate the first lien holder and that as far as the 1st lien holder was concerned, the sale was not a short sale. There was nothing that the short sale department could do. I told her that I believed her house was going to be sold.

 

Sure enough I was correct. The house did go to sale. The Realtor stopped communicating with the homeowner, that is until she demanded to see her short sale file. The homeowner also insisted that the Realtor provide her with the names of the vice presidents at the lender that the Realtor alleged to have contacted to help stop the sale. The Realtor refused to turn over the file or the names and insisted that if he and his office could not stop the sale then certainly no attorney could. The Realtor then ceased communication entirely. You can imagine why. He had bitten off more than he could chew and was now in defensive mode. He did not understand the complexity of the short sale and the homeowner was now paying the price. If she had used me that sale would have been stopped and the short sale would have been completed. To make matters worse, the 2nd and 3rd lien holders are recourse 2nd liens and now that the 1st lien has foreclosed they are free to pursue judicial remedies for amounts owed on their notes. If the short sale had closed properly the 2nd and 3rd lien holders would have been satisfied. The homeowner is now forced to contemplate bankruptcy.

 

The bottom line is that not all Realtors are created the same. If you are looking to short sale your home do yourself a favor and get a competent short sale attorney to represent you. Do not be sold by fast-talking Realtors that promise more than they can deliver or you may suffer the same fate as the homeowner in this situation.

 

If you are looking to sell your house please contact Michael Gaddis, J.D. of Michael Gaddis, J.D. Realty Group. Michael Gaddis is a real estate broker, NMLS licensed mortgage broker and licensed California attorney. Michael Gaddis, J.D. assists homeowners in San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties with the sale of their homes. Michael Gaddis, J.D. charges no additional fee other than the traditional fees paid to a real estate broker but brings with him the knowledge and experience of a licensed California attorney. Call 888-242-2272 for a free consultation of your situation. To obtain more information regarding Michael Gaddis visit www.sdshortsaleattorney.com or www.michaelgaddis.com or www.californialoanmodificationattorney.com. To view sample of short sale approval letters obtained by Michael Gaddis for homeowners that have successfully short sold their home please click the following link: http://sdshortsaleattorney.com/approved-short-sale/

July 23rd, 2017

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