Our team has been averaging about 10 new listings a month. Because of our Certified Distressed Property Expert designation, about 1/3 of them are short sales or pre-foreclosures of some sort.
Talk about being waist-deep in the personal lives of our Sellers… Job losses and illnesses and interest rate increases that lead to financial instability and stress that then even lead to illness and divorce (in some cases) are a large chunk of the lives of these Sellers that we work with.
Sometimes, I hate listing these homes. I feel so bad for the situations that these people are in. Regardless of “WHY” it is happening (poor buying decision, downsized employment, increased rate, cheating spouse, cancer) … losing your home to foreclosure sucks.
I mean, I am happy that Derek and I are knowledgeable enough to get the home sold BEFORE it forecloses and wrecks havoc on their credit even more than the missed payments have done, but knowing that these people WANT their homes (in most cases), but have to get rid of them … It breaks my heart.
Well, last month I installed a “For Sale” sign in the yard of a home and went up to the door to chat a little more with the Seller about how they wanted the home shown, etc. He was the sweetest man and was devastated that he could no longer afford his mortgage payment. See, he, like plenty of other people in America, bought his home in 2005 with an ARM. He makes his payments early every single month – not only his mortgage, but everything else, as well.
2008 rolls around and his rate increases by a little over 2% MORE than he was originally paying. Although it is a stretch (as he was used to a lower payment for 3 years), he continues to make his payments.
Then, he loses his job.
However, he CONTINUES to pay all of his bills on time, to include his mortgage, with the money he gets from unemployment. Granted, he lives on ramen, but he pays his bills. He assumes that when he finds employment, it will be easier… and knows he cannot keep up like this for much longer.
Months go by and he is unable to find a job. So, he calls his mortgage company and asks if they can help him. All he wants is the original interest rate for a few more months, until he finds employment. But, regardless of his stellar payment history and regardless of the fact that his unemployment covers the payment, they deny him that option … and tell him that his best bet is to GIVE UP and SELL THE HOME AS A SHORT SALE and FIND A PLACE TO RENT. … So, he Googles “colorado springs short sale help“, finds us, calls us and asks us to short sale his home.
We decide to put the home on the market, but impress upon him that he needs to continue to work with his lenders to find a way to KEEP his home. Just because ONE lender-representative told him to give up, does not mean all is lost.
He continues to press through, pay his bills (to include his mortgage) and continues to call his lender, other lenders – ANYONE who could help him KEEP his house.
All the time, I am praying for the call where we are asked to CANCEL our listing agreement with our Seller.
Yesterday, with tears in his eyes, our seller calls us and tells us that his lender finally agreed to work with him. And get this– They are ONE UPPING his request. He had originally asked just to remain at the interest rate that he had been at since 2005, which was somewhere in the 5%-6% mark. But instead, the lender (the same one who told him to GIVE UP a month ago) permanently LOWERED his interest rate to … drum roll please … 3%! He can now KEEP his house.
We happily canceled our listing agreement and I am yanking that “For Sale” sign out of his yard, today.