Since I am a licensed California Attorney (a well as a real estate broker) it would probably be unethical for a me to call myself a short sale specialist. Lawyers are not allowed to call themselves specialists unless it is in certain approved areas of the law.  Therefore, I will not call myself a short sale specialist.  However, I can say I am a real estate attorney and broker whose law firm has negotiated hundreds of shorts sales and I advised over 700 people on their strategic defaults, loan modifications and short sales.

However, my Real Estate license apparently enables me to call myself anything I wish to call myself.  I could be a luxury home specialist on a Ranch Santa Fe website (although they are pretty upside down right now)  and a foreclosure or short sale specialist on another website.  Of course I will not jeopardize my law license, so you won’t see me calling myself a short sale specialist.  But, I think the public should be aware that the California Association of Realtors does nothing or next to nothing about the far fetched claims being made by some inexperienced Realtors.
(this is not aimed at skilled experienced Realtors.)

In my mind there is no substitute  for an intelligent Realtor who really knows the property in your target neighborhood.  To weed out the newly minted specialist from a true professional – here are a few questions:

– When did you first claim to be a short sale specialist?
– How many short sales have you completed?  Can you give me the MLS numbers?
– How many short sales have you completed in the last three months. Please provide me with the MLS numbers?
– Did you ensure the seller would not be pursued for a deficiency?  How?   Did you draft the legal releases?
– May I see a copies of your release – feel free to scratch out the  names?
– Do you have a lawyer on your team?  Will she tell me in writing she represents me or your brokerage?
– Who will answer my legal questions?
– What if we do not find a buyer or garner an acceptable offer?  Do I just take a foreclosure?
– Will a sold out junior lien be less likely to negotiate if the first is foreclosing?  Why? Can a lawyer help me with that problem? Are you sure I should go into default on both loans?
– When should I speak with an attorney about a deed in lieu?
– When the Notice of default comes will you have me speak with an attorney then?
– Who will review the paperwork?  Are you licensed to explain the escrow documents?  How about the legal releases?
– Do I have a non recoure loan?  Can you guarantee my Heloc is purchase money.  How?
– Could I jeopardize that status if I rent the property, move out, damage the property,  or not pay my property taxes?
– Are you sure these are not questions for a lawyer?  Will you put your answers in writing?
-What should I do if I am still current?  Is it critical that I understand about sold out juniors before I stop paying my loans?

If the lender agrees to do a short sale – will you tell me to sign the closing paperwork?  Will you put your advise in writing regarding what the closing paperwork means?

Copyright John McConnin 2007-2009



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