What is a Short Sale Negotiator (SSN)?
An SSN is the person the seller designates to work with his lenders as his representative. It can be his agent, attorney, 3rd party or anyone else. The ideal situation would be an experienced attorney so that other options can also be explored. An SSN should be all about the seller and trying to do what’s best for the seller. I would recommend an attorney who is a proven success in the field of personal finance and short sales. The first meeting should be to consult with the seller to understand what the seller’s situation is. It is possible that the seller would be best served filing BK. A truly good listing agent should want what is best for the seller, even if that means not listing the house.
What does an SSN actually do?
The short sale negotiator acts as a point of contact for the bank, the buyer, the seller, and other parties involved in the transaction, like real estate agents. These real estate professionals are familiar with the short sale process and they know all the tricks and loopholes to exploit, ranging from challenging the assessed value of the home to force the bank to accept less, to knowing who to call when it comes to locating “lost” paperwork.
This work requires patience, stubbornness, and diligence. Short sales can take months and often fall through as people deal with issues like banks refusing to back down on how much they think the home is worth, misfiled and lost paperwork, and problems for homeowners who may be about to enter foreclosure because they cannot keep up with payments. The short sale negotiator spends a lot of time on the phone discussing aspects of the deal and may also need to meet with people in person. Fast action is also necessary, as a bank may be sluggish for weeks and then abruptly issue a document requiring an immediate response.
What should the SSN fee be?
SSN fees are all over the board. I have seen them charge as much as 3% of the sales price. In my opinion; it should not exceed 1% of the selling price of the house. Professional SSNs with proven experience can be invaluable to the process. The unscrupulous ones will charge exorbitant fees, or whatever they can get away with. This is why the seller needs a savvy, knowledgeable real estate consultant that understands the Short Sale process and can put the seller in touch with a quality SSN. If the seller is knowledgeable in this area and understands the process, then the listing agent can also act as the negotiator, assuming the agent is qualified.
Who Pays the SSN’s Fee?
This is a point of negotiation, however, in my opinion; the ideal situation is for the total commission on the sale of the house to be 6% (the lender must approve of this) with 2.5% going to the buyer’s broker and 3.5% going the listing broker. The SSN fee would then come out of the listing broker’s portion. The buyer and the buyer’s agent should have NOTHING to do with the SSN’s fee. The Seller should have nothing to do with the fee either. This should all fall on the shoulders of the listing agent.
I hope this sheds some light on the question of “What Is a Short Sale Negotiator?” For more information, or to set up a consultation, please contact me.