The Real Estate Encyclopedia
It's Been a Very Short 5 Years
Category - Real Estate Information Sources - Real Estate Articles
Atlanta experienced a record 3,431 foreclosures and several Colorado counties were blasted with 5,665 foreclosures in one month. Today’s statistics? No, these numbers came from 2003, just a short five years ago, proving once again what we all know – real estate is a cyclic business.

In 2003 it was the softening economy, a rising real estate market and the availability of easy money mortgages. It was a time of mixed blessings in the industry as was noted in an article in April of that year by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “Home ownership nationwide has reached a record level: 68% of households now own their homes. The latest recession, unlike those of the past, has seen strong home sales, rising home prices, and a generally buoyant housing market. Nonetheless, despite these encouraging trends, foreclosures on home loans are also reaching record highs.” Forbes reported similar news – Last week, refinancings (as opposed to purchases) represented 73.3% of all mortgage applications, according to real estate finance trade group, Washington D.C.-based Mortgage Bankers Association of America. And the percentage of loans entering the foreclosure process rose from 1.15% to 1.18% during the third quarter (which was a record high since MBAA first started tracking the foreclosure rate in 1979).

How about this book written in 2003 – Real Estate Sales from Hell: What You Don't Want to do when Buying or Selling Homes, Repos, Probates and Short-Sales. I guess one might hearken back to the sage words of baseball’s greatest philosopher, Yogi Berra – “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Today as you scan through the headlines and articles you get an eerie feeling of going back in time. A big subject today, as it was then, is the “short sale” and the opportunity it affords not only sellers in trouble but real estate professionals that are prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. While cycles repeat themselves they are never exactly the same and that is certainly true this time around in the area of short sales.

Just one area alone that was covered in a previous article has a major impact this time around – “tax ramifications”. It’s a different ball game this time and relying on the “the way we did it last time” may result in lost sales or even more importantly – added disclosure liability for the agent involved.

One of the great advantages of the short sale niche is the tremendous number of houses on the market today that may be prime candidates for the process. But understanding and successfully negotiating the short sale isn’t easy. Even if one is not specializing in the market an understanding of the process is a needed tool in the “customer service tool box.”

As we continue to move into 21st century real estate the message we are getting louder and clearer every day is that the real estate industry in moving into the customer-centric model. It’s all about meeting the customers where they are and fulfilling their needs and desires. Today’s homeowner in desperate straights may very well be tomorrow’s buyer. Having helped them through a difficult period with minimal damage to their credit is certain to pay future benefits if not a commission today. Some of the same lenders that made some of these bad loans are now out there giving sellers misinformation about what they can and cannot due with respect to the short sale process.

If you want to add the short sale process and an understanding of the foreclosure process to your skill set there are a lot of books on the market and certainly a plethora of “get rich quick” seminars from every corner of the industry. The key is to ensure that what you are paying for is actually going to equip you to understand not only the process but the nuances inherent in the short sale. One of the best tools on the market today is the online course from RealtyU entitled the “Certified Short Sale Professional” (CSP). It provides the opportunity to obtain the basics of the short sale as well as learn how to “avoid the liability” and “determine up front which deals don’t stand a chance of closing.”

Expand your horizons by being able to successfully complete a short sale transaction. National Realty News invites you to visit

-Tom Mitchell, Senior Vice President, RealtyU


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