Did you ever hear the expression “Never say die!”? Here is a quick story about a Countrywide short sale in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. And it has a happy ending.
I have a house listed for sale in the Mack Bayou area for $187,100. The sellers had purchased the home as an investment property but were no longer able to cover the mortgage, as rental rates have decreased on the Emerald Coast. The home needs work- carpet, paint, etc, and has about six tenants living in it. After four months of gently lowering the price, and still no offer, we were sitting below what typical market value might be.
Lucky for us, we got an offer for $185,000! The first time home buyers were SO excited and loved the home. Per my recommendation, and since it was Countrywide, their agent structured the contract for a 120 day short sale approval timeline, the buyers put down earnest money, and we eliminated closing costs we know Countrywide won’t usually pay. The package was submitted.
A few weeks later, I found out during my bi-weekly phone call to Countrywide, that the file was “closed” due to “insufficient offer”. I was dumbfounded. Yes, the offer was a bit below some of the competition, at about $195,000- $200,000, but not low enough that the file should be “closed” and not even countered. I did two things. I contacted a negotiator who had helped me in the past, and I called the short sale department again. The representative was very helpful, and listened carefully as I explained my bewilderment at the file being closed. She gave me her email address and I sent in my comps indicating the price was not that far off. I sent the same to the negotiator. A few days later, I got a call from Countrywide. They told me the file would be re-opened, and suggested the buyers increase their offer by $5000. We did it.
A couple weeks later, the Countrywide Phase II negotiator told me the offer was still too low, “Could the buyers come up by another $10,000, to match the appraisal?” The buyers said “no”. The negotiator said the investor also might require a promissory note, or it would be declined anyway. I told him the couple had no money, were self-employed and barely getting by. I also had their primary residence for sale as a short sale. He said he would submit the package as is and see what the investors would do.
One week later – APPROVED!
In summary, do not give up if you have a strong case. I could have said “OK” when Countrywide told me they closed the file. I could have put the home back on the market, and waited for six months for another offer. The buyers would have lost their home. The sellers may have gone into foreclosure. Countrywide would have gotten even less in the future. So don’t let the negotiator close the file or close the door on your sale! Submit a strong offer, one that YOU can justify. Tell them to let the investor decide. You may be pleasantly surprised.