Postpartum Short Sale Syndrome: What is it?
I've processed and/or facilitated over 85 short sales in my career. Not only my own short sale listings, but I've been hired to facilitate short sales for other brokers as well.
Most clients that I work with are very appreciative of my efforts to get them out of the property, without expense, and relieve them of the debt and mortgage lien. The majority of them are grateful that everyone's efforts to avoid the alternative, which is foreclosure and a possible pursuance of deficiency by the bank, is appreciated.
On a rare occasion, I came across what I am labeling as "postpartum short sale syndrome". In essence, it is somewhat of a change in disposition of the client towards the appreciation of everyone's effort to help them with their goal of being relieved of the debt.
In the beginning, the listing agreement is signed, the process of the short sale is fully explained, and the client is on board knowing that relief is on the way. The client is fully aware that they do not pay a dime of any of the selling expenses in a short sale, and that those are all paid by the bank as terms of their acceptance of the short sale (when we obtain that).
HOWEVER, I've seen something happen during the tail end of the transaction. It usually occurs when they see a preliminary net settlement sheet, which includes not only the selling expenses with escrow and title fees, but the real estate commissions at hand.
Even though the short sale seller is not paying for any of it, when they see those fees and commissions being paid, something triggers.
They feel like they got the short end of the stick. They not only feel as if the bank is a greedy institution that has taken advantage of them, but that people (namely the brokers) are getting paid and they're not seeing a dime from this transaction themselves.
As I stated, most clients are insightful enough to know the mission is to have themselves legally removed from the debt, and get out from under the upside down mortgage.
But once again, an occasional client becomes disgruntled when they see that settlement statement. Even thought they signed the listing agreement knowing what the commissions are.
And then, I go from being their Savior to this greedy person who is taking advantage of the situation somehow.
Anyone who knows me understands that I really go to bat for my short sale clients. I watch out for them and make sure that the bank doesn't disregard them in any way. I certainly have stood up to certain institutions when they were being complacent with the files.
With that being said, on those rare occasions where the client feels disgruntled and as if I am making money at their expense, it really got to me. And those few that had that disposition were in most cases some of the most wicked short sales I've ever had which took every rabbit out of my hat that I could think of to get my clients free and clear from the debt. Most accomplished facilitators will attest that in many cases there is drama surrounding the seller and the property that has led to the point of it being upside down. And that drama is something that you have to deal with and find solutions for with a short sale. Definitely not easy!
Anyway, I understand it's not really about me, it's about the responsibility I had to do my job at hand, which was to obtain that short sale approval, or in some cases multiple approvals on those properties with more than one lien.
On each of those transactions, I walked away knowing I did my job fully and completely, with integrity, knowing I represented my client with their goals in mind.
So many times I had to wear more than one hat as psychological counselor and/or just someone to lend a shoulder to cry on, literally in some cases.
Did it hurt me to have a client disregard the loyalty I felt to them and the responsibility I genuinely gave to them 100% by feeling resentful that I got paid to service them? Of course. No one likes to feel unappreciated. It's not a good feeling at all.
But I put my big-boy pants on, did my job, and moved on - trying to save the world one file at a time.........