Mid-Week Open Thread (2012-05-16)

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Here is your open thread for the mid-week on May 16th, 2012. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

50 comments:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

    The median in S. Cal. is being affected the same way as here by declining REOs and short sales, although there 47% of the market is a decline in such sales!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-16/southern-california-home-prices-rise-as-distress-declines.html

  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5

    I’m really tired of this sales hype about foreclosures dragging down the sales statistics. Foreclosures, and short sales have been selling for obscene amounts of money to people who think they are getting a “deal” because Real Estate agents say so.

    So what that foreclosres and short sales sell for less than what is owed? That’s a topic for another time, but let’s get to the meat of what the sales hype really is:

    The article says “The price increase was helped by a larger portion of purchases in higher-priced coastal markets”

    then it goes on to the sales hype of why that isn’t significant, when it is actually the real story:

    and a decline in sales of foreclosed properties, DataQuick said. Foreclosures and short sales — “deals where the transaction price is less than the amount owed on the property” — made up about 47 percent of last month’s resale market, the lowest level since April 2008.

    The real story about the median is the amount of high end properties that are being dumped for less than what was paid by people who can afford to take the loss.

    There are some very wealthy people who are buying into properties at huge discounts, and dumping off the property they own for losses. It’s kind of a down sizing thing, but a lot of people who can afford to live where the choose, are choosing to move.

    The foreclosure short sales will be back to bite us from those people who snapped up them there “bargains” without a clue about property value.

    As Ray says, they are all coming back.

  7. 7
    David Losh says:

    RE: Dirty Renter @ 3

    I do love these stories of traders who feed off of each other with a little inside information here, some leaks over there, and investors, or a government who will be left holding a big bag of pooh.

    Today’s profits are tomorrow’s losses, until the whole thing starts over again.

    All of these trades should be monitored so they can be taxed, globally.

  8. 8

    By David Losh @ 6:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5 – I’m really tired of this sales hype about foreclosures dragging down the sales statistics. Foreclosures, and short sales have been selling for obscene amounts of money to people who think they are getting a “deal” because Real Estate agents say so.

    You’re tired of it because you don’t understand how the median is calculated. That is not our problem, it’s yours. It’s also because you don’t understand how to work Matrix to figure out the facts, both of which are based on the fact that you even wrote the highlighted sentence.

    As Ray says, they are all coming back.

    Which is why the news today was of lower delinquencies and fewer properties in foreclosure. /sarc

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-05-16/mortgage-delinquencies-in-u-dot-s-dot-fall-to-lowest-since-2008

  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    Total leadership failure:

    “The Senate torpedoed (Obama’s) last budget 97-0 in May 2011, then the House dropped a goose egg on him in March with a robust 414-0 tally. Now this.

    610-0:

    Republicans forced the vote by offering the president’s plan on the Senate floor.

    Democrats disputed that it was actually the president’s plan, arguing that the slim amendment didn’t actually match Mr. Obama’s budget document, which ran thousands of pages. But Republicans said they used all of the president’s numbers in the proposal, so it faithfully represented his plan.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, even challenged Democrats to point out any errors in the numbers and he would correct them — a challenge no Democrats took up…

    The White House has held its proposal out as a “balanced approach” to beginning to rein in deficits. It calls for tax increases to begin to offset higher spending, and would begin to level off debt as a percentage of the economy by 2022. It would produce $6.4 trillion in new deficits over that time.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/05/16/99-0-senate-votes-down-obamas-budget-unanimously-again/

  10. 10

    RE: Scotsman @ 9 – If by “total leadership failure” you mean Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and the President, I would agree.

    It’s too bad that it’s only theoretically possible to vote out about 1/3rd of them this year, and that as a practical matter only a few will not be re-elected that run.

  11. 11
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    You have been discussing the median for years, it’s the old timey stand by that lot’s of sales people use to have a talking point about Real Estate prices, and projections for that matter. I think it was Geg Perry who used to have a monthly report about it.

    Let me just say that I’m in more, and more of these hot deal short sale, foreclosures lately from people who are selling them for a profit. The margins are a little slim, they seem a little over priced to me, but hey, some one will come along and scoop them up, I don’t know why.

    What I also see is a lot of lower priced inventory that has sold in the past couple of years to people who I think are going to be renting them out.

    Well, if you wanted to say that the bottom feeding was done, that’s fine, but you never go beyond what that will mean to future pricing because you don’t predict.

    What it means is more movement in the upper tiers for better positioning. It has nothing to do with the great bargains that were short sales, or foreclosures those are done. What it has everything to do with is to create hype that prices are on the move upward so more buyers should jump in, or be priced out forever.

  12. 12

    RE: David Losh @ 11 – First, those short sales and other so-called bargains you complain of drive the median down, not up. That’s because those sales are overwhelmingly below median price.

    Second, the warnings that fewer short sales and REOs have the effect of driving up the median are the opposite of sales hype. It’s an explanation of what is happening which is explaining that prices ARE NOT RISING as fast as the change in the median would indicate.

    Third, your last paragraph still indicates that you don’t understand the median or the market. The median can go up or down for many reason, but if you have fewer REO and Short sales, and if those REOs and short sales are typically overwhelmingly below median price sales, then the median will go up because of fewer REO and short sales. That is an absolute truth, just like if you remove two people from a group of 11 people all of different heights, that the median height of the group will go up if the two people removed were below the old median height. That’s all that’s occurring. It doesn’t mean the other people got taller!

  13. 13
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12

    Geez, it’s simple, lower end properties sold for less money because everybody was dumping them. Short sales, actually foreclosures had little to do with it, sold for high prices, so the median is kind of an all around useless talking point.

    That’s the point.

    The media, and sales people keep saying short sales this or that like there is some magic about them, and in the past there was. In the past short sales sold for below market value, now we use the term median. Kind of tricky huh? We just substitute one word for another and presto changeo(sp?) we have another selling feature, slick huh?

    Buy the bargain short sale or, you will be priced out forever, it’s a screaming deal I tell you because you have to wait six months to get an answer. Never mind that in that six months every other property on earth went down in price, just keep your eye on the bargain.

    It’s a screaming deal I tell you, don’t look behind the curtain, don’t look at the economy, don’t look at pricing as a trend, we are at the bottom, in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

    It’s a load of crap that people should catch onto, but they don’t.

  14. 14

    By David Losh @ 13:

    . Short sales, actually foreclosures had little to do with it, sold for high prices, so the median is kind of an all around useless talking point. .

    You’re seriously trying to claim that short sales and REOs sold for more money than normal listings?

    When you just make up things, the facts are whatever you want them to be.

  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 14

    What I’m saying, and have been saying is that short sales, and foreclosures were the market place, and yes sold for premium prices.

    You’re claiming that if you bought a short sale in 2009 it would still be a bargain, or even 2010?

    They’ll need to resell to know for sure, but I think they will either be amortized, or go back to the bank.

    and no, what I said was that while people waited for those good deals on short sales to close the price of all properties declined.

    The house i was in today was bought at foreclose three years ago, and is now at fair market value, but the people put in a $60K ADU, ouch.

    The house that isn’t on the market yet, and the owners are frantic, was bought at auction for $209K. It’s in Arbor Heights, just a minute let me run the numbers on that,

    Yes they paid $209, the house needs work. in 2003 the house sold for $237K, which seems about right, but today a $31K decline from 2003 is a bargain? I don’t think so, but that is my opinion.

    Let’s say that some one does gift these people $100K for this lovely property, is that going to be another bargain, or will it be going back to the bank? I vote bank.

    Face it the foreclosure short sale market is all screwed up, if anything they are keeping the price of property propped up. If any of these dumpers were selling for a discount it would help the median be lower, but they don’t, they sell for what the market will bear.

    What I’m saying, and keep saying, is that everybody dumped lower priced, no equity properties, by either sending them back to the back, or selling them. The market place of buyers paid fair market value, and there were no great deals being had.

    So I’m saying labeling short sales as significant is misrepresenting the fact that the Real Estate market has changed.

  16. 16

    By David Losh @ 15:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 14

    What I’m saying, and have been saying is that short sales, and foreclosures were the market place, and yes sold for premium prices.

    You’re claiming that if you bought a short sale in 2009 it would still be a bargain, or even 2010?

    It depends on what they paid and where they bought. For some short sales it would be true, for some it wouldn’t. Remember, short sales often sell at a huge discount. With the right house you could probably flip it immediately for a profit without doing any work at all, except for possible buyer financing difficulties.

    Face it the foreclosure short sale market is all screwed up, if anything they are keeping the price of property propped up. If any of these dumpers were selling for a discount it would help the median be lower, but they don’t, they sell for what the market will bear.

    First, I’ve been critical of banks on REOs and short sales for years. Yes it is all screwed up, although the REO side is better than it was.

    Second, of course they are keeping the price of property propped up! They are selling property. Why wouldn’t they do that? They want to recover as much as possible. But they aren’t accomplishing that entirely because they are harming the market overall with what they are doing with REOs and short sales. If they wanted to prop up the value of properties more, they would quit being idiots when it comes to REOs and short sales.

  17. 17

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – If you think short sales don’t sell at too low of a price, how do you explain “flopping?”

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/short-sale-fraud-three-scams-33440.html

  18. 18
    Scotsman says:

    The American Foreclosure Process Has Ground To A Halt

    “Something funny happened in the aftermath of the US fraudclosure settlement, in which millions of backlogged housing units were supposed to enter the foreclosure process and begin the clearing of the nearly 9 million housing units in shadow inventory: nothing. Because as RealtyTrac disclosed overnight, in April the US saw a mere 188,780 foreclosures events of various type (NOD, auction, REO) take place. ”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/american-foreclosure-process-has-ground-halt

  19. 19
    deejayoh says:

    It’s ridiculous to say that people didn’t get deals on short sales in 2009-10. There were plenty of sales approved by banks when they were desperate for far less than they could have gotten had they not been overwhelmed.

    I bought a short sale property in 2010 for ~$235 a square foot. The last three comparable properties that have sold in my neighborhood have all gone for $290-$310 per square foot.

    I’m sure some people got lousy deals – but I know that plenty of people got great deals too, especially those that bought in close-in neighborhoods. Deals you can’t find today.

  20. 20
    Pegasus says:

    Amazon hiring 1,000 new tech workers for Seattle offices

    Amazon announced Monday it is hiring more than 1,000 new people for its Seattle offices.
    The company is looking for technical developers to work on software engineering, management of software development, user interface and user experience design, and technical program management.
    Amazon will be competing with Microsoft, which is hiring more than 1,500 new tech workers in the same geographic area.

    http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2012/05/amazon-hiring-1000-new-tech-workers.html

  21. 21
    Pegasus says:

    Southwest Delays 30 Jet Deliveries to Save $1 Billion

    Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) deferred deliveries of 30 Boeing Co. (BA) 737-800 jets by about four years, as the largest discount carrier extends a cap on fleet size and works to curb rising costs until it hits financial targets.

    Southwest is delaying 20 deliveries that had been set for next year, and another 10 scheduled for 2014. Half of those aircraft instead will arrive in 2017 and half in 2018, the Dallas-based airline said today.

    As a result, Southwest will receive 20 737-800s in 2013 and 24 in 2014, along with five 737-700s. It is adding 34 737-800s to its fleet this year.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-16/southwest-delays-30-jet-deliveries-to-save-1-billion.html

  22. 22

    RE: Pegasus @ 21 – When I read that news this morning it struck me as odd until I remembered the 737 Max is coming out. If they don’t need the planes badly right now, waiting could be good for them.

  23. 23

    By deejayoh @ 19:

    It’s ridiculous to say that people didn’t get deals on short sales in 2009-10. There were plenty of sales approved by banks when they were desperate for far less than they could have gotten had they not been overwhelmed.

    You don’t understand real estate. What you need to do is take the C-S index number when the property was bought, then the C-S index number today, then multiply the resulting fraction by the old sales price to determine the new value today! Doing that proves that it was impossible that anyone got a good value in 2009! :-D

  24. 24
    deejayoh says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 23:

    You don’t understand real estate. What you need to do is take the C-S index number when the property was bought, then the C-S index number today, then multiply the resulting fraction by the old sales price to determine the new value today! Doing that proves that it was impossible that anyone got a good value in 2009! :-D

    As long as one takes into account that there are no tops and no bottoms, except for the seasonal ups and downs.

  25. 25
  26. 26

    I have been critical of the Wall Street Journal, and I think others have here too. This article is a good example of why!

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120517-715501.html

    I love the reporting style of pick an excuse for something happening, while totally ignoring a major reason (or two) for something happening.

  27. 27
    David Losh says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 19

    Price per square foot can change in a few blocks or by size of the property. Smaller homes have a higher price per square foot.

    I don’t doubt there were bargains in 2009, 2010, but REOs, and short sales were only a part of a larger market of other properties, normal properties, that also sold for lower prices.

    What I object to is the sales hype of short sales. Banks sold for what the market would bear.

    You got a “deal” because the Real Estate market was tanking. Your price per square foot looks good today, because the market is good today.

    However we are in a strange place where anything can happen in the economy, and holding onto a bargain may prove to be a loss.

  28. 28
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 17

    Because Kary, there is a sucker born every minute, and it is easier to play on some one’s greed, and belief they are getting a deal.

  29. 29

    By David Losh @ 27:

    Banks sold for what the market would bear.

    Even accepting your claim that banks are somehow competent to get FMV, the demand for short sale is lower, so that means lower prices.

    I just did a search of sales in a subdivision I know in Snohomish off of Cathcart where the houses are roughly the same age (and probably the same builder).

    The two lowest price sales in 2009 were for $360,000. The short sale property at that price was about 2,500 square feet and the normal sale was only about 2,000 square feet. The other short sale was about 3,000 square feet and went for $415,000. All the other properties between approximately 2,900 to 3,000 square feet went for over $450,000.

  30. 30
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 29

    Have you been out there? Even at your example, or Deejayoh”s, short sales for all of that hassle that you keep claiming, were still selling for within 25% of Fair Market Value, but what the market will bear is different. They got what they could, I don’t see the bargain, and in the past couple of years property prices have been declining.

    You are pointing out a classic sales pitch that Real Estate agents used to unload these properties, which is what a great bargain they are.

    Have you been out there?

    The real surprise is that others paid $450K.

    You don’t predict, but what do you think prices of property will do? I think the banks know a lot about the market place that is coming because they control it. Assuming banks are stupid, or overwhelmed is sales talk.

  31. 31
    David Losh says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 24RE: deejayoh @ 19

    I’ve got to go back to work, but are you saying the bottom was in 2009?

    Some body is going to be happy to know that you agree.

  32. 32

    By David Losh @ 30:

    Have you been out there? Even at your example, or Deejayoh”s, short sales for all of that hassle that you keep claiming, were still selling for within 25% of Fair Market Value, but what the market will bear is different. They got what they could, I don’t see the bargain,

    I’m sorry Dave, but other people don’t use your terminology. Most people consider getting something for 75% of FMV to be a bargain.

    You are pointing out a classic sales pitch that Real Estate agents used to unload these properties, which is what a great bargain they are.

    I have hardly been trying to get people to buy short sale properties because they’re a bargain. I’ve been complaining about the banks screwing with the market by being so stupid in processing the short sales that they get much less than they could (or more often they end up not getting anything for months and then foreclosing so they can then sell at an even lower price).

    I think it was just last year that the state passed some laws requiring some banks to make a decision on short sales within 120 days! That’s totally nuts that banks have to be restricted to that long of time, because they should be deciding in 30 days if they want to maximize the price. It’s in their own self interest. Bank of America only recently realized that.

    More recently Freddie and Fannie came out with a program that they will process the short sale in 30 days, and hopefully reach a decision in 60. But in making that policy they fail to understand one important thing! It’s the buyers that need to know that information–that it’s a Fannie or Freddie property–and they provide no way for buyers to know that. I’ve compared that stupidity to the Soviets and their doomsday machine in Dr. Strangelove. If buyers don’t know, it does not help!

    Have you been out there?

    No, I’ve only been a full time real estate agent the whole time period that we’re discussing. What have you been doing? /sarc

    You don’t predict, but what do you think prices of property will do? I think the banks know a lot about the market place that is coming because they control it. Assuming banks are stupid, or overwhelmed is sales talk.

    First, what prices will do is not part of the discussion. The discussion is whether the banks are getting the same prices on short sales as normal sales. And if you don’t think banks are stupid, well I don’t know what I can say. You obviously have no experience with them. It took them a couple of years just to figure out to haul the trash out of REOs before putting them on the market. I thought you had experience with that. Why do you think it took them so long to figure that out if they are not stupid?

  33. 33
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 26 – Oh Great Oracle of All Facts pray tell what those major reasons are for something happening. I know you are dying to share your most infinite knowledge of all things of this world and perhaps beyond.

  34. 34

    By David Losh @ 31:

    RE: deejayoh @ 24RE: deejayoh @ 19

    I’ve got to go back to work, but are you saying the bottom was in 2009?

    Some body is going to be happy to know that you agree.

    Clearly that’s not what he’s saying. What he’s saying is that it’s possible to have bought a house as a short sale for less in 2009 than what you could buy a similar house for today that is not a short sale. That’s because it sold at a discount in 2009 because it was a short sale.

  35. 35

    RE: Pegasus @ 33 – I’ll give you a hint. Just about every other article picked up on one of the reasons. That one is rather obvious.

    Seriously, do you not know what I’m referring to?

  36. 36
  37. 37
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 9:

    Total leadership failure:

    “The Senate torpedoed (Obama’s) last budget 97-0 in May 2011, then the House dropped a goose egg on him in March with a robust 414-0 tally. Now this.

    it’s not the presidents budget. I knocked this down when it went through the House.

  38. 38
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 10:

    RE: Scotsman @ 9 – If by “total leadership failure” you mean Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and the President, I would agree.

    It’s too bad that it’s only theoretically possible to vote out about 1/3rd of them this year, and that as a practical matter only a few will not be re-elected that run.

    it’s Senate Republicans that have gone radical, not the Senate democrats. never before has the filibuster been used to block just about everything.

  39. 39

    By pfft @ 38:

    never before has the filibuster been used to block just about everything.

    Says the partisan Democrat.

    Both parties are more extreme. The Democrats are now talking about a constitutional amendment to gut the First Amendment (campaign finance). That used to be something the Republicans would be pushing (flag burning).

  40. 40

    On the topic of predictions, what’s the deal with the rain? They can’t even get the weather for today right, but people here think some can predict real estate prices 1-10 years down the road.

  41. 41
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 32

    A short sale, as has been explained to you repeatedly for over two years, maybe three, has to show a compelling reason for the bank to accept. A compelling reason is job loss, medical, financial distress. Did all short sales show compelling documentation, or did Real Estate agents promise millions of sellers they can just go ahead, and short sale the property?

    Real Estate agents back logged the system of short sales with BS listings that would never get approved.

    As far as clearing out the properties, banks went to a central billing system that delayed payments, and guys like me, who deal with distressed properties, and people I know, stopped taking the work. Nobody was getting paid in a timely manner.

    It made no difference really because those short sales started selling like hot cakes. Nobody cared then, or now, if they sold, or didn’t sell, all a bank has to do is wait, and they get more money.

    As has been explained to you, repeatedly, banks also answer to investors, and share holders. They have no rush to sell, they own the property, they have the inventory. It’s the buyers who are panicked, spooked, and in a rush.

  42. 42
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 34

    You’re toast.

    You can get a deal any time, in any market. 2009, short sale? Come on, plenty of people sold in those years at a discount.

    Was this the best deal out there? Who knows, who cares? A deal’s a deal.

  43. 43
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 35 – I am just looking for an answer from you based on your statement. We don’t need any more bullshit Kary.

  44. 44

    By David Losh @ 41:

    Real Estate agents back logged the system of short sales with BS listings that would never get approved.

    That very well could be, but neither you nor I would know that. I’ve also complained about agents. It took them about two years locally to figure out that getting a short sale approved did not mean the debt was discharged. So I’ve never said that agents were not entirely at fault.

    Still, I have said that banks should spend more money processing short sales–that would make them more money. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars difference for the banks on each transaction, and they pay the people who process them peanuts. They can hire more. But that gets into the issue of servicers.

  45. 45

    RE: Pegasus @ 43 – Just admit it. Yet another thing you don’t have a clue about. It’s obvious, but you don’t have a clue. Hell, there are probably at least three better answers than in that article, and you don’t know a single one of them. That’s how clueless you are! You’re an anonymous joke. Good choice being anonymous! Mr. Joke.

  46. 46

    By David Losh @ 42:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 34

    You’re toast.

    You can get a deal any time, in any market. 2009, short sale? Come on, plenty of people sold in those years at a discount.

    Was this the best deal out there? Who knows, who cares? A deal’s a deal.

    When did I ever say that a short sale was the only way to get a deal? I’ve said it’s really only a good option for investor types who don’t really care if the deal goes through or not.

    You’re the one that seems to think that when you bought determines whether you got a deal or not. I’ve never made such a claim. In fact, I’ve disclosed how to identify listings you’re more likely to get a deal on. A short sale hasn’t been one of the factors to look for.

  47. 47
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 44

    We do know that the banks were complaining about agents who were lost, and bogged down the system, then entered the short sale negotiators, who were worse.

    The banks have a policy, and procedure; if you play ball, and pay the price, great, but the seller still has to meet the criteria for a hardship.

    Processing short sales quicker, would go quicker if Real Estate agents, Brokerages, and negotiators would simply follow the program, but they don’t, they don’t think they should have to.

    So yeah you can claim banks lost money, but you would have to predict the future to be able to do that. You have to predict the future to know if Deejayoh got a good deal. You’d have to be able to predict the future to know what a good deal was.

  48. 48

    By David Losh @ 41:

    As has been explained to you, repeatedly, banks also answer to investors, and share holders. They have no rush to sell, they own the property, they have the inventory. It’s the buyers who are panicked, spooked, and in a rush.

    Getting answers on short sales might be difficult, but not for the reasons you state. You’re just making stuff up. Quit it. And quit listening to whoever you think explained it many times to me. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

  49. 49

    By David Losh @ 47:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 44 – We do know that the banks were complaining about agents who were lost, and bogged down the system, then entered the short sale negotiators, who were worse. .

    Okay, I’ve been critical of short sale negotiators too. Consumers have three choices: (1) Attorneys who largely have little interest in doing that sort of thing; (2) Licensed loan officers who have no interest in doing such things; and (3) Real estate agents who usually don’t know what they’re doing and if they do take on the task cannot charge for doing it.

    You’re like the banks though, you don’t understand the market. For short sales to function property buyers have to have an interest in them. That’s the key. Even if agents and short sale negotiators do their job, buyers won’t have much interest if the banks don’t make a decision reasonably promptly.

  50. 50

    By David Losh @ 41:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 32 – A short sale, as has been explained to you repeatedly for over two years, maybe three, has to show a compelling reason for the bank to accept. A compelling reason is job loss, medical, financial distress.

    BTW, you say that as if the banks’ position on such things itself makes sense. I agree that agents should be aware of what the bank will require, but perhaps those requirements don’t make sense. Almost certainly having the same set of requirements in all 50 states doesn’t make sense. In Washington, for example, where the non-judicial foreclosure process can take over 9 months and leave no deficiency, perhaps the bank should agree to terms where the projected deficiency is small. In some other states which allow a deficiency, they should be less likely to do that.

    Back when short sales in volume were relatively new, my complaint was that you often couldn’t get a decent answer from the bank prior to actually having an offer. I wanted the NWMLS to take a hard line position on short sales, and only allow them to be listed if the bank had approved the list price. I realized that’s an extreme position, and that there are reasons the NWMLS wouldn’t want to do that, but if they had I think we very well could have been in a better situation today. As it stands four years later, I believe only BoA and FHA are the only two entities where you can get an approval of the price and terms prior to listing.

    And on this topic, why is this the one area where the banks have not thought of charging their customers? I suspect lots of owners would be willing to pay $400 or more to get an answer from the bank on short sale terms in a timely manner. That type of fee would allow the banks to staff up to process the applications (and questions) quickly.

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