New Milford, CT Real Estate, Short Sale Straight Talk with Bill Gassett.
I am very excited to bring you this interview with Massachusetts Realtor Bill Gassett of RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton, MA, serving the Metrowest area. Bill has been a successful Realtor for 24+ years, earning a rank in the top 1% of Real Estate agents in the country. I met Bill Gassett on his ActiveRain blog about a year ago and have been following his blog ever since. I was thrilled when Bill agreed to this interview about short sales as I consider him to be one of the most successful real estate agents I know, in both traditional sales and short sales.
Although Bill is licensed in Massachusetts and I am licensed in Connecticut, much of our laws and customs around real estate are similar. I am always comfortable discussing real estate with Bill, he is a wealth of information for myself and many others!
When did you realize that short sales were becoming an important part of your business model?
About 5 years ago I started to get involved in short sales. I saw that the market was becoming depressed to a point that there would be folks that would need a reputable Realtor to get them out of a tough financial position.
How many short sales have you done? Your success rate?
Honestly I have never actually counted how many I have done but if I were to guess I would say around 70-80. This is probably pretty hard to believe but I have never listed a short sale that did not get lender approval. While I do know what I am doing when it comes to short sale I can certainly not take all the credit. I work with a short sale attorney who is terrific and they do all the negotiating with the lender.
I make sure the contracts make sense before it ever even reaches the attorney. This is a key part of the success rate.
What is the most important thing home owners can do when they realize they are in trouble with their mortgage?
The first thing they should do is decide whether or not they want to remain in the home. If they do, the first option would be a loan modification if in fact they can qualify. On many occasions I have met a client who has tried a loan mod but were not successful in getting one. They say the loan mod program is a miserable failure as not many actually get one. If they know they need to sell, they should get in touch with a Realtor or someone who knows how to close short sales.
How do you prepare your home owner to go through the process of a short sale?
The first thing I do is answer any questions they may have. After that I fill them in on some important things they may not realize such as the impact to their credit, tax implications, debt removal etc.
We all hear horror stories about how long the process can take. I know you have said that you have a very good track record of 3 months from offer to approval. To what do you attribute your success?
Again it boils down to structuring the offer properly. The contract should be written much the same as a traditional sale. The buyer should be doing inspections and getting financing just like they normally would. In addition one of the things that is required of every buyer who purchases one of my short sales is that they will commit to waiting for short sale approval for 90 days. Without that it is NO DEAL. I want a fully committed buyer who will see the process through until the end.
How about home owners who have a second mortgage or a HELOC? Does that make a big difference to the success of the short sale?
It hasn’t for me. I see other Realtor’s complaining about this all the time online. Frankly it just boils down to being a good negotiator. The law firm I use is fantastic at this aspect of the short sale process.
What do you think about the issue of people pricing their homes according to what they owe on their mortgage?
Frankly that is absurd! The mortgage balance has NOTHING to do with where a short sale should be priced! My short sales are priced aggressively but not so much that the lender is going to say no way. As an example if a home is worth $300,000 based on recent comparable sales. I may list the home just below that say $295,000 and settle for something close to that.
When do you suggest a home owner that is in trouble should contact a Realtor?
Right away. There really is no point in waiting.
What questions should a home owner be asking when interviewing a prospective Realtor?
The most important question of is how many short sales they have closed. If they don’t have a track record of success is it really worth chancing it. The seller’s financial future is in the Realtor’s hands.
Why do you think people should pursue a short sale rather than allow their home to be foreclosed?
The most important reasons someone should short sale over a foreclosure is the length of time before they would be able to buy another home. With a short sale it is most likely 2-3 years. With a foreclosure it can be anywhere from 3-7 years. Despite what many Realtor’s say the credit implications are nearly identical according to Fair Issac. You might save a few points with a short sale but not the totally exaggerated non-sense that some Realtor’s push who could care less about the client and are just looking to pocket another listing.
What is the most important advice you can give to a buyer who is looking to purchase a short sale?
Ask good questions about the seller’s situation along with finding out what the listing broker’s track record is with closing them. Here is a link to some excellent short sale questions to ask a short sale listing agent. Questions to ask a short sale listing agent as a buyer or a buyers agent
For more information from Bill Gassett on short sales, check out these pages:
- Mass Short Sales
- Need a Massachusetts short sale Realtor, don’t pick a short sale buffoon
- Ethics in a short sale, The responsibilities of a Realtor
If you are struggling to pay your mortgage in the Greater New Milford, CT area, please give me a call at 203.460.1775. I would be happy to sit and discuss the options available to you. Short sales can and do work!
Greater New Milford, CT Short Sales, Real Estate Talk