The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional

At a listing appointment in Lincoln last week, a client told me that her husband did not have much faith in the short sale process, and she needed me to do something for her. I asked her what it was I could do, to which she smiled, leaned in a little closer and whispered “Help me prove him wrong!”  I agreed to do just that and when I left their home with my signed listing agreement in hand, I couldn’t stop thinking about how funny it was that a client finally verbalized what I do for almost all of my clients. In the beginning of the short sale process, most of the time before I ever get the chance to sit down with a potential client, I would say about 80% of short sellers have heard nightmare stories from friends, have searched the internet and stumbled across bad story after bad story about short sales and by the time I am sitting in front of them, many believe that in the end, the home will end up in foreclosure, but they try to short sell any way as a way to let them sleep better at night knowing they at least attempted to do the right thing. That is where I come in and tell myself, I have to prove these people wrong and show them that a short sale can be successful and pain free. I have never had a client voice the challenge I assign to myself with each new client I meet, and I really thought that was very neat. I am now in receipt of 2 strong offers on this new client’s home and the process has officially begun! 
If you are considering selling as a short sale, here are some things that you should know that in the end can make or break your short sale.
1. Don’t wait until the last minute!!! So many people wait to contact a Realtor to list their home as a short sale until they are weeks or even days away from the trustees sale. Most of the people that wait to list at the last minute are in denial that this is really happening and are scared of having to move from their homes. Remember, you can stay in your home throughout the entire short sale process and the short sale will usually get your trustees sale postponed time and time again until the process is all over. Waiting until the last minute can have the opposite effect. It takes at least 48 hours for a Realtor to even become authorized to speak on your behalf, and even after they are authorized, it usually takes having an offer in with the lender to get a potential trustees sale postponed. If you have been served with a notice of default, it really is time to decide what your game plan is. I am not saying it is impossible to stop a trustees sale that is days away, I am just saying the odds of a successful short sale goes down with each day you are closer to that trustees sale date.
2. Disclose everything to your Realtor! On the day you meet with your Realtor, make sure you give them all the details. It’s very important for someone like me to know everything so I can fight for you 100%. I need to know if you have already completed or been denied for a modification. I need to know if you have filed a Bankruptcy, I need to know if there are liens on your home other than the mortgage(s). I need to know your hardship. Knowing your client’s full story from day one truly helps you fight the bank and push for the end result your client needs and you want to give them.
3. Your Friends Don’t know Everything! Everyone goes to a friend or loved one for advice, it is human nature, but remember when you are talking about short sale vs. foreclosure, you need to talk to someone in the industry. So many clients that come to me tell me the nightmare story their neighbor went through 2 years ago, or the friend that listed their home with a Realtor who didn’t keep them updated and didn’t get them the solution they needed. Your Friends have your back, but when it comes to giving you the best advice for this situation, a true friend will tell you to contact a Realtor or Real Estate attorney to get the right advice. Don’t forget, the debt forgiveness act comes to end in December 2012, so selling as a short sale now is a very wise decision if there is even a small chance you may be considering this option at this time next year.
4. Choose your Realtor Carefully. A short sale is far from a “Normal Sale”. In a Normal Sale, you can list your home with a Realtor who’s license is still wet from being printed and issued and the chances of success are still pretty strong. In a short sale, listing with just any Realtor can truly kill your sale before it ever starts. You need to interview before you list your home as a short sale. Ask a lot of questions. Find out how many short sales this Realtor has successfully completed, what their process is, the average time frame (start to finish) and what their success rate is. Asking these questions in hind sight is not a good option or plan. You need to know the truth of what your sale’s chances are, how your case looks and that you truly have chosen someone who knows how to get you the solution you and your family so badly needs.
5. Show your home! As a Realtor, I totally understand that not ONE of the hundreds of sellers I have spoken with and helped through this process is excited and happy about the adventure they just signed up for. I also realize it is very hard to list your home (many times for half of what you owe on it) and show your home to buyers who in your mind don’t deserve such a great place to live for such a cheap price. If you can get over that mentality, your short sale process will be a lot easier on you emotionally. Try to not be home for showings. It is awkward for you as well as the buyers who are touring your home. Instead, have your Realtor put a lockbox on your home (ask them to hide it so it’s not stuck on your front door), have your Realtor put Appointment w/Owner on the MLS for showing instructions and when you get a call, arrange your showing at a time that you can run some errands, pick up the kids from school, go grocery shopping or out to dinner. Just doing this small act will help you obtain an offer faster, and what many do not realize is once you accept an offer and get the process started with the bank, your Realtor changes the status in the MLS to reflect that there is now an offer, and you guessed it, the showing requests will slow to a trickle. 
6. Keep your Eyes Open. For every honest Real Estate professional out there, there are bad ones also. Beware of any one charging you upfront fees, guaranteeing you success in your sale, and professionals not able to answer your questions. You know that saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” Don’t forget about that saying! It’s true.  A good Realtor will answer all your questions, address your fears and should be providing you with contact info for a Real Estate Attorney or CPA so you can get all your questions and concerns taken care of upfront. Life is so much less scary when you have all the facts, and a good Realtor will not stop until you have exactly that.
7. Have Faith in Your Decision. Once you decide to list your home as a short sale, don’t buy into all the horror stories you will undoubtedly hear. Selling as a short sale is just like any other major decision, once you make up your mind and chose a game plan, there is always someone there to tell you that you made the wrong choice. Don’t listen to that! You must believe in yourself that you are capable of making the best decision for your family. Your Realtor is there to be your friend, counselor, advisor and pilot who will guide you through each step of the way. Your Realtor truly cares about you and your family and you’d be surprised how much better you may feel after discussing your concerns with them, throughout the entire process! A Realtor who does a lot of Short Sales is already aware of the anxiety level you are experiencing. You should never doubt yourself in this situation, simply embrace your decision and tell that voice in the back of your head “Hey, I am doing what I have to do to better my life and get a fresh start!”.
Almost every client I have ever worked for tells me within the first two weeks how much better they feel now that they know where things are headed, and I promise, you will too. The scariest thing about considering short sale is that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you have missed payments, that feeling is always in the back of your head, you wonder things like “When will the bank foreclose on me?”, “Will I still be here at Christmas time?”, “Will I ever be able to pick up the pieces and re-establish my credit?” and “Where am I going to go when this home is no longer mine?”.
You would be amazed at the relief you feel just by choosing the path to travel, embracing that plan and keeping your eyes looking forward. This is not meant to be a sales pitch. I am not a car salesman and I am not going to tell you all your fears will be resolved by listing your home, I am just telling you by making a decision, even if the decision you make is to let the home go, you can now begin focusing on your future instead of focusing on the past and all the “Should Have’s” or “Could Have’s”.
Have you recently completed a short sale or gone through a foreclosure? Did you know that by selling as a short sale, many times you can qualify to buy another home again within 2 years? The future is bright, you just have to look at it the right way, 2 years sounds like a long time, unless you are looking back 2 years ago. 2 years ago, my son was 5 years old, and I have to tell you that feels like last week. Deciding a game plan before ever selling your underwater home will bring you so much relief. I am a goal-oriented person, but even if you are not, I promise when you weigh your options and look into the future (even 2 years into the future), your stress level will usually go down. I’m not saying to look at everything through Rose-colored glasses, but remember that your future is up to you, and one thing you cannot take back is time. Embrace your decisions, believe in your self, ask questions and never give up. Oh, and call me for any advice or questions (916) 716-6512!
Remember, Friends don’t let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere.

The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional

Dear Real Estate Diary,
I just realized it’s been nearly two weeks since my last entry! Unfortunately I have been dealing with a bad case of writers block, but I am back now to share my latest successes and frustrations with this roller coaster of a market. I’m sorry but in this post, I feel the need to vent a little more than usual, so buckle your seat belt, here we go…
First of all, can I just say where are all the good buyers at? The buyers who understand that we are very close if not at the bottom of the market, that interest rates are at an all time low and homes are out there waiting to be purchased that can secure your financial future? I can’t tell you how many “cash” buyers that have made offers on my listings only to back out on the last day. I had a short sale approved in Roseville for a client of mine who just lost his wife and needed to sell as a short sale so he could pick up the pieces of his life and start over. He came to me for help and I got his short sale listed and approved by the bank in only 40 days. The buyer on this transaction was all cash and seemed very thrilled at the prospect of purchasing this home in Roseville with a pool for only $155,000. The thrill seemed to die out pretty quickly, but I am a good agent to my clients and stayed on top of this buyer. Right away, I saw some problems when this buyer did not put in a deposit on the home, the excuse I was given was that they were out of town and simply had “forgotten”. I sent a notice to perform and was able to get the buyer’s earnest money into title. The buyer then began to delay things by not letting her agent know if she wanted to do inspections or not, she delayed another two weeks with no answers. At this point, my seller who is depending on his HAFA funds as a way to kick start his life for the next chapter was beginning to be very worried, as was I. About a week before our short sale approval was due to expire, I was contacted by a loan officer who told me this buyer was doing a loan on the property and would need more time. I do not nicely agree to these type of changes this late in the game, seller’s situation aside, this is not a fair thing to do to anyone in a short sale situation. I ended up having to cancel the approved offer 2 days before it was set to expire, but I did find a new buyer who wanted the home and now am back in escrow with someone who truly wants the home. I just have to wonder why some of these cash buyers never seem to want to close escrow, this happens on probably 1 in 3 homes with cash buyers. 
As soon as I saved this home, this same scenario is happening again on my listing in Rocklin, again another cash buyer who now wants to reduce their offer now that the file is in for approval for 30k below market. How do you explain to a cash buyer that they are lucky to have such a low offer even be considered, much less approved and now they want to reduce the low offer even more a week before the trustees sale? I swear, I have the tolerance and patience of a saint with all the short sales I deal with, but when it comes to greed, I have very low tolerance for it and feel insulted on behalf of my sellers each time this happens. If only I had that crystal ball to see if this buyer is truly motivated or not in the beginning. 
If you are a buyer looking at short sales, please understand, as a Realtor I am very happy for you that you are able to purchase in this down market and make a sound investment for yourself and your family, but on the other side of things, please understand, short sales are not normal sales. In these situations, the seller is many times dealing with a major loss, health issues, divorce or unemployment. They come to me in a state of panic and desperation and I promise them that I will do everything I can to make these bad times better as soon as humanly possible. A short sale agent is not just being hired to sell a home, but to guide these sellers through some of the worst times of their lives. We become a spokesperson for our sellers, their cheerleaders and their friends, and the bond created between a short sale seller and their agent is a very close one. There is nothing fun about being a short sale seller, and this seems to be the common misconception. I do everything I can to “pre-screen” these buyers before sending an offer for approval, these buyers still many times cancel before the approval is in and sometimes as you see above after the approval is in. 
Please do not misunderstand me, there are still plenty of great buyers out there working hard to capture the American dream of home ownership, and these buyers many times lose out to these buyers that have the cash funds and zero motivation or commitment to securing the home. Whenever I am in a multiple offer situation, I explain this to my sellers that just because they are cash buyers does not mean their offer is the strongest one. I have a great buyer’s agent that I send all my buyers to and she works as hard as I do to make sure our buyers find the right home and that their intentions are true as far as purchasing a home. I wish that more buyers agents would pre-screen their buyers and not be afraid to ask important questions like “We are offering below market, if you are countered, are you willing to come up in price?” Just asking this one question can save a paycheck for both of us, so why are we not asking this question more often? 
Ok, I am done venting, I’m sorry to do that to you dear diary, but it’s my blog and I will complain if I want to! I will now switch gears to some much better, more positive news!
Update: I did the impossible! I closed escrow on both the AC home I have written about several times now and also the Name Change home! Both of those short sales were true challenges for me and I can’t even tell you an estimate of how many hours were spent on the phone with the banks to get these 2 deals closed, but close they did and I am so proud that I never gave up. (If you want details of these 2 “record” short sale stories, scroll to bottom of blog and read up, they have been a main character in most of my recent blogs)
The new office I have been working on so hard opens on Monday, and I am overwhelmed with how happy and proud I am that I have been able to get to this new level. My team mates, Agnes Worley, Bob & Beth Bloom and I have all worked so hard to get our own office and the dream has finally come true. This will only motivate me further to work harder, fight harder and get more results. 
This market is definitely not for everyone, and it is surely not an easy market to be successful in, but I continue to learn as I go, share my secrets with other agents and find solutions to the problems I encounter almost daily. I still love my job and cannot picture doing anything else, and I think my passion shows to all my friends and clients. I get so much pleasure from helping a seller out of a stressful situation that the paycheck is just an added bonus. If you need a Realtor who refuses to give up, you found her. And that, my readers is why Friends don’t let Friends go to Foreclosure. They refer them to Megan Laherrere. (916) 716-6512

The Diary of a Real Estate Professional

I have a love-hate relationship with 3 day weekends. On one side, I love having a longer weekend, who doesn’t right? That extra day to sleep in, get house work done, catch up on the DVR, it’s wonderful. On the other side of things, man is it tough to get back to work on Tuesday and have everyone rushing around like a chicken with no head. In Real Estate, the week following Labor Day weekend has always just been insane with everyone making up for lost time, and this week was no exception to that rule!
This Tuesday, I started the week out well by closing escrow on one of my listings on Aitken Dairy Rd in Rocklin. This short sale was one that went through almost perfectly. I listed it for sale and in about 2 weeks, I had an offer in with the bank. I received my approval from both the 1st and 2nd lenders within 40 days and our escrow closed in about 3 weeks. This is far from typical for a short sale, but gosh it feels great when your sellers look at you in their signing appointment and tell me “This short sale didn’t go at all like my attorney said it would, where is all the hassle and deficiency language we were told to expect in our letter? Megan, are you some kind of bad ass?” To this question, I of course answered with the absolute truth. “Yes, I am a bad ass.” Hahaha. 
Now, if only Tuesday’s charm and luck had been catching to the rest of the week. Wednesday was like a day on a different planet when compared to Tuesday. I spent most of that day on the phone working to get trustees sales stopped and short sales approved, on days like Wednesday it is tough to keep a smile on your face while everyone is looking to you for the answers you do not yet have because the banks, just like you are dealing with an over load of calls, update requests and escalations. By the end of Wednesday’s work day, I was feeling a bit unappreciated but still satisfied with the sales I was able to get postponed, the approvals I have working towards a close and the other million things I had gotten done in 2 small days. 
Now, for the troubled escrow updates….again, for any 1st time readers, to fully understand the updates below, you may want to scroll down and read the last 2-3 diary entries so you can understand these updates…here we go. Buckle up, it’s a bumpy ride…
On my trouble short sale in Roseville, I think that any of my faithful readers now know which one, but just incase, this is the one that has been in the works for over a year, and once I finally had an approval and a buyer who still wanted the home, we were told that the AC unit must be replaced to close escrow, I was able to get this approved by Bank of America, but if only that had been my last hurdle. In last week’s entry, I was fighting to get the updated approval from the 2nd lender so we could finally close escrow, our approval letter was due to expire on 8/31, so I called daily asking for this letter since our cut off was rapidly approaching. After countless calls, emails, escalations, you name it, can you guess when I received the approval from the 2nd? On 9/01/11. Of course! The day my letter from the 1st was no longer good! So, this week, letter in hand from 2nd I begged, pleaded, threatened and bargained with the 1st lender (BofA) to please grant me one final extension. Per the loan officer on the deal, they told me they would need 17 additional days, a number of days I was hoping would be much shorter, but I did get the needed extension. After blowing Bank of America up with call after call about getting an additional 17 days and telling them there was not a way to close a minute sooner, the buyer’s loan docs showed up in title the day after receiving the updated approval. The loan officer and buyer’s agent pushed hard and told me to get the final hud approved for a closing date of Friday. Thursday all day I explained that once again my timing was a bit off and we can absolutely close escrow on Friday. Friday came, do you think we closed? Come on, we are talking about the AC house after all, the fun is not over yet, right? Of course not!! Friday afternoon I received a call from my title officer who tells me she was just told by the loan officer that he doesn’t know why we were rushing to get closed by Friday, that they were not going to hound their funder to review conditions and get the deal funded, not after all the waiting they had had to endure. I explained that I have already been dubbed “the girl who cried wolf” to the negotiator and closing officer with week after week and month after month of updates on closing status that were not exactly accurate, I don’t understand why loan officers and buyer’s agents out there don’t understand the importance of telling it how it is, it would save so much time and energy and stress on just about every file if everyone truly played on the same team. After about 20 emails back and forth to all involved, I still do not have an answer on when we can get closed. Docs are signed and the files are complete, all we need is for the funder to let it fund so we can all block this transaction out of our mind. The buyer’s agent and loan officer truly do not seem to understand that on a BofA deal, I need to have the final hud approved 48 hours before we close escrow, or we cannot close the deal! I still have no answer, the latest update I was given was “we can close somewhere between Monday and the 17th day.” Really? No idea a little more narrowed down? Sometimes I feel like taking the gloves off and asking “Am I the only one who cares about this deal?”. So, sadly this deal is headed into another week, but my fingers are crossed that this coming week will be the last one that I have to run and scramble with the bank, get huds approved again and again and provide updates to the other side that seems to blame everything on my side of things. The clumps of hair that have been pulled out over this one transaction could probably make 10 wigs, but this coming week is the end I can feel it!
Now, an update on my other home in Roseville, another BofA short sale. This is the one I have brought up several times about the bank not wanting to pay property taxes, then finally approving them, only to find out that the buyers decided to change their names in the middle of the transaction. Yeah, I am still fighting with BofA daily to convince them this is the same buyer, they just changed their names. Why? I don’t know. I would have advised that just like the purchase of a new car, it would be a great idea to wait until AFTER the escrow closes to make these changes, but what do I know anyway? I hope to have this all resolved next week so this one also can close escrow.
*Switching gears*
I have a border collie who can’t break his built in sense to “herd” everything in sight. He herds the other dog, when my son was crawling, he would herd him, when my son was learning to ride a bike, my border collie would actually nip the tires of the bike to make him turn around and stay closer to the house. Sometimes I feel like a border collie in this business. Just think about it, if you think of my many short sale files as sheep, I am doing the same thing that came naturally built into my dog’s senses. I run and circle my troubled escrows until I get them headed the way I want, only to realize I have some “sheep” (more short sales) headed straight for the road, so I run and corral them. Then, I find a distressed one that needs my immediate attention. I swear sometimes I am just plain running in circles chasing my tail, but eventually it all somehow works out and all my sheep make it safely to the pasture.
As I continue to vent through typing, I realize this entry is becoming a short novel so I will try to wind myself down now and will end my latest diary entry with one last update. 
My buyer’s agent, Agnes Worley and I are working on opening our own office in Rocklin. It’s an exciting time in my life right now, and I have so much new found respect for my past & present brokers. Opening and stocking an office is hard work and is many times thank less. The office is about 90% ready now, so this afternoon Agnes and I will be finishing the painting and cleaning alone, I guess the romance of pizza and beer has died a little since I can’t seem to find volunteers to save my life! That’s ok, in my life the best thing you can probably tell me is NO. I take NO as a challenge and I am an Aries who has to make it happen in every aspect of my life. To all those who said I couldn’t do it, I hope you are watching me approach the fast lane! This will be Agnes & I’s 3rd move this year, not company wise, just location wise but this new office brings us so much peace knowing that we are in charge of our destiny from this point on. We will be opening our doors on October 1st and the new location is close enough for me to walk to work, which I hopefully will do at least once a week. 
On that note, I thank any one who was kind and entertained enough to read this rather lengthy diary entry. I feel so truly blessed to be thriving in this market and am grateful for every single short sale I work on, after all even the nightmare files like my AC house and the Name Change house in Roseville, they are all learning experiences and something I can remember back to knowing the impossible can be done with the right attitude, a lot of patience and that chilled bottle of Chardonnay waiting for me at home in the fridge after a “blow out“ day! I wish everyone the best weekend possible, and if you have stumbled across this blog in search of information about short sales, you have stumbled onto the right Realtor. I am one that will never throw in the towel. I’m stubborn and pushy when I need to be and I get the results that are needed. 
If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure with no solution in sight, there ARE options out there! Advice is always free, as are the short sale services I offer. Remember, Friends don’t let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere!

The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional

A few days ago, I called Wells Fargo to get an update on one of my short sales and couldn't help but laugh out loud when the song playing on hold was "If I only had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz and I can't seem to get that out of my head. If only the banks could see the countless ways they waste time and ultimately end up hurting themselves more than anyone else. I couldn't help but wonder if maybe the person who set up the music for their hold system had possibly just completed a short sale themselves. The Wizard of Oz was a movie about a make believe land mixed with wonderful as well as evil characters and I see alot of similarities between the movie and my job, I know I know, I must have finally lost my mind, but just think about it for a minute.... In a short sale, there is obviously the "main character", the seller who needs some help getting "home". Then, there's the "yellow brick road" that promises as long as you follow it, you will get the right end result. For a Loan Mod, go this way, for a Short Sale, go that way, for a Deed in Lieu, go here. Then there are the "bumps" you will encounter along the way, the bad BPO's, the Trustees Sale Date looming over your head, and the unforeseen lien attached to the home. I like to think of myself as the "Wizard" in the story, the one who will finally give you the answer and show you the way to get out of the nightmare your underwater property has become. Now that I have shared my insane thought for the day, here is an update on the worst of my troubled short sales I wrote about in my last diary entry.....if you didn't read my last diary entry, it may help to scroll down & read it so you know what I am referring to.

My favorite update of the week is the one of the short sale home in Roseville, Ca who's lender, Bank of America told me they would not pay for property taxes even though every file I have ever done with them both currently and in the past has approved the property taxes. You will love this update! 
So, I started calling Bank of America daily to explain that property taxes are always a fee they cover through a short sale and finally got a manager who agreed with me and promptly sent me a revised letter for closing. I was very satisfied when I sent the letter out to all parties of the transaction, but my joy was soon turned to annoyance when I was informed by the Buyer's agent that his buyers had gone and changed their names legally and I now need to go back to the drawing board again to get a revised approval letter showing the new legal names of the same old buyers. Bank of America, being as easy to work with as they are (sarcasm inserted), now tell me they believe that I am changing buyers in which case they need to go back through review and get investor's approval. I sent them the legal paperwork showing the name change 2 days ago, have called each day since and, yep you guessed response! I'm starting to see why other agents dislike short sales so much, but I'm a trooper and do love my job so my fight continues....
This week I also saved another approved short sale in Roseville that I wrote about in my last entry (the one that needed a new HVAC). I was able to do the impossible and get Bank of America to approve the cost of a new HVAC unit! Again, my celebration began too soon since now I am waiting to close escrow for almost a week for a revised letter from the 2nd lender showing the updated close of escrow due to the delay in closing caused by Bank of America's slow response in my request for the HVAC unit to be replaced. My approval now expires again tomorrow and I once again am spending countless hours on the phone trying to make this happen for the sellers and buyers who have been patiently waiting for months.
New, exciting developments in the life of a Busy Real Estate Gal:
As my adventures in Real Estate continue, I did find some time to meet with an experienced Bay Area agent, Albert Dalrymple who will be joining my team. Albert is going to be working with me on short sales in the  bay area so together we can help even more families avoid foreclosure, save their credit and prepare to buy a new home with a fresh start in a couple years. I'm very excited to be able to reach out to even more troubled homeowners through Albert.
I am also looking forward to next Wednesday when I am scheduled to teach a class about Short Sale Transactions to my fellow Realtors. I feel that knowledge about the proper way to conduct business on a short sale is truly the best way to get this market back to functional. Many friends ask me why I share my secrets of success with my competitors and I always tell them the same thing: If I can help in even a small way to make people less afraid of making an offer on a short sale, or selling their home as a short pay off, I have done my job and done my part to get this market back to functional.
Well, it's nearly 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, my desk and inbox are empty and I am free to leave for the weekend. 
Thanks for continuing to read my blog, it helps me vent about my frustration without boring friends and family (at least not in person). Hope everyone has a safe weekend, and remember: Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere. 

The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional

I am a girl who grew up in a Real Estate driven family. My grandfather, John who was a Real Estate Broker in San Mateo, Ca used to tell me as a young girl that Real Estate can be summed up to Chicken. I never quite understood this statement, but I do now and feel compelled to share it with you, this was my grandfather's favorite statement about Real Estate, and I must say, I tend to agree: "Real Estate is all about Chicken. It's one week chicken and three weeks feathers." The story below will explain why this statement is so true! 

Last week I went on my once a year vacation for a week, I am back and have already managed to get caught up, but of course there are a few files that encountered some new issues while I was away, worst of all, the problems all hit files that were short sale approved and due to close escrow, hence the reason I dubbed Short Sales as a roller coaster in my last entry.  Here are the problems of the week I am working on ...

Let's see, one of my homes in Rocklin that is in escrow fell out yesterday because  the buyer did not qualify for the loan, this is such sad news when something like this happens since the sellers have already moved out, our closing date was in sight and so much work has been put into the transaction so far. Fortunately, my buyer's agent, Agnes Worley had a back up buyer approved and ready to move into first place. She showed them the home again last night and this morning I have a new offer in hands to submit to the bank, we should be back to "smooth sailing" within another week. Having a strong team is the biggest blessing during situations like this one!

        On another one of my approved escrows due to close on 8/15 in Roseville, Ca  we found out while I was away that the HVAC system is shot and needs to be replaced, even though a few months ago we did an inspection on it and was told with some repairs it would work fine, my challenge now is to beg Bank of America to reduce the purchase price to cover this newest hurdle and allow us to close escrow. This particular short sale is a "dinosaur file", I started working on it last April and it has gone through the seller's bankruptcy, probably 8 different buyers (thanks to BofA's old policy of starting all over each time a buyer withdraws an offer, thank goodness that has changed now!) and the 2nd loan being charged off. It's going to take some serious skill to get the credit for HVAC approved, but I am up for the challenge.

        Yet another one of my approved short sales with Bank of America has been placed on hold. I got word yesterday that we no longer have the OK to close escrow, the reason I was given by my closer was that the Bankruptcy the seller filed was not discharged, but it WAS discharged, months ago. I know this will be a fairly fast fix and everything will be resolved and back on track soon enough, but gosh Bank of America is not my favorite bank this week! I wish I could see the way they conduct business over there, there has GOT to be an easier way!!!

Oh the challenges I face as a short sale's enough to make a true pessimist out of anyone!

Now for the happy stories of the week!

*I just listed another home in Rocklin on Cameo Drive, and within 4 days from date of listing the home, we have 3 offers, to view this home and others go to my website and click the featured listings tab!

*A Bank of America HAFA short sale that I initiated about 3 weeks ago has already been approved for HAFA, so this may be a great sign that BofA may actually be catching up with Chase and Wells Fargo and getting a system lined up for the Hafa program that works! (I will not open the champagne yet until approval letter is in hand, of course!)

* My real estate team is continuing to grow! I have just added a new agent to my team and also just hired a new assistant who starts on Friday!

And this my friends will conclude my latest entry in my Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional. Remember, Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere! (916) 716-6512

The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional

If Real Estate was an amusement park, Short Sales would be the equivalent to the wildest roller coaster ride in the park. I have a transaction right now with a Bank of America 1st and a HSBC 2nd. I had an approval on this property about 2 months ago, for the same buyer, and when we got approval from the 1st they were only offering 6,000 to the 2nd, an amount that HSBC will not settle for, so we went back to Bank of America asking for additional funds to pay off the 2nd and were turned down, they told us they didn't care if the buyers, sellers or agents contributed the money, just that they simply would not, so I went into "negotiations" with the buyers agent, buyer and seller, and after scrambling for 60 days going back and forth from 1st lender to 2nd lender, buyer, seller and agent, the file was finally declined by Bank of America since we had not closed escrow on time, so we went back to the drawing board and everyone in the transaction came together and each contributed funds to HSBC to allow them to approve the file. Now, we have approval on both sides, the 1st and the 2nd only the taxes on the property were not covered by Bank of America. I brought this to my negotiator's attention today, and no joke, his email stated that he will  decline the file because the 2nd is getting a cash contribution from the seller and Bank of America will not allow it. So now, after months of being told by Bank of America that they do not care how the 2nd gets the amount they want, just that they will not approve more than $6000 from their net, now I'm being told by this latest negotiator no?? Sometimes, it is just crazy the ways that the banks can be so greedy and spiteful that they hurt themselves along the way. 

Now that I am done complaining about Bank of America, I will give them a little props. They just recently removed their policy of making you start the process over from day one when ever a buyer backs out on your listing. In the past, if you had a Bank of America short sale and your buyer walked on you, you would have to start from the very first step again (getting authorized) even if you were fully approved and in escrow. Effective a couple of weeks ago, they have finally set up a way that you can immediately submit a new offer to your negotiator when a buyer walks and not "lose your place in line" and have to start all over again. Let's give them some props! After all, It only took them 4 years to figure out what all the other banks have been doing! 

Well, that concludes the latest entry in The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional. Remember, Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere!

Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional

So, I have decided to turn my Blog into my own personal "Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional". I specialize in short sales, negotiate all my own deals as well as those for other agents so I see alot. My new goal will be to write a new adventure down at least every 2 days, hopefully every day.

Working as a Realtor in this market is a pretty bumpy ride, but I love it and am very proud to say that I have done more than survive in this down market.

On Monday, I received 4 short sale approval letters equaling over 1 million in property values, 2 of them were hafa approved short sales so my sellers will be collecting $3000 for their cooperation in a short sale upon the close of escrow. 

Many people think the hardest part of a short sale is getting an approval, but in my opinion it's just as challenging to keep your buyer engaged through the multiple weeks of negotiating with the banks and then once you get approval, the roller coaster ride really begins. Things go through your mind constantly like "does this buyer truly qualify for their loan?" "Is the home going to appraise at the approved price or will I be back at the drawing board next week fighting with the bank to reduce the purchase price to match the appraisal?" and best of all, "Was the buyer's agent honest each week when they confirmed their buyer was still interested, or is this buyer going to cancel and try to purchase the bank owned property across the street?" I am an expert who has truly seen it all and I have to say it's very frustrating to have a buyer cancel after months of work to get their offer approved. So, what can I do about it? I have recently started requiring that all the buyers on my short sale listings be pre-approved by my loan officer, Beth Bloom of Academy Mortgage since so many loan officers are way to fast in issuing an approval letter. This way, I know before I spend any time pushing the banks to approve this offer that my buyer can actually close the deal. A loan officer who tells you what you want to hear is not a value to your team or business and this is why I require my pre approvals with Beth, she will tell it how it is so at least you know the reality of the buyer you are working with. Please understand this requirement does not mean the buyers have to finance with Beth, only that they need to be pre approved by her in order to submit an offer, it is completely their choice on which lender to use. This has helped me ensure that once we have an approval, I know the buyer is qualified and the escrow phase will not be as bumpy. Sure, it's a little more work on the buyer's agent and buyer's side to get the offer submitted but we're all in this for the same end result, right? The transfer of keys from my sellers to your buyers. Agents: If you will be using this technique, chose your loan officer wisely. Don't chose the one who controls your pre-approvals based on "Freebies" but based on experience, chose someone you have worked with in the past who kept you updated and got the loan closed, on time and someone who has declined a potential lead because let's face it, not all buyer leads are gold so if your LO is telling you every single lead is a "slam dunk" you may be setting yourself up for a disaster down the road and countless wasted hours. (Just some advice from a girl who has tried it all in the last 5 years in this short sale market)

Curious about HAFA? This program is great for the seller in most situations, although some banks are still not cooperating in the program and give you little explanation to go back and share with your seller as to why. I have also noticed the procedure and time involved is a huge difference from bank to bank, even though it's all the same program, which is frustrating. For example, I just got a Hafa approved short sale from Wells Fargo in about 45 days, start to finish. Chase is usually about a 45-90 day approval process depending on who you get assigned to in the set up phase. Chase assigns a "set up" person to review the docs and make sure the file is complete before assigning it to a negotiator, the true "review" of the offer actually starts when the negotiator is assigned, so my best advice is send the best package in that you can. Bank of America's Hafa program is by far the worst I have encountered. While their traditional short sales (non-hafa) go through a fast and fairly painless review process and tend to be approved in about 45 days when running through Equator, their hafa program can drag on for months. I have one now I have been working since March and we're still barely getting updates. Opposite of Chase or Wells where you get the updates from the same person throughout the process, with Bank of America when you call in, they tell you that updates come from their HAFA dept, most commonly called LRC or UTLS. This "other dept" has long hold times, opposite updates from BofA and in general very frustrating updates. Example: This week I called BofA for an update on my hafa short sale and I was given a 866# with an extension to my "Hafa Negotiator" only to find out when I called that Bank of America's system was incorrect and I was assigned to a completely different person. I have also noticed multiple appraisals being done on the home because Hafa keeps requesting an appraisal or BPO, when BofA already has it completed and just have not updated that department. It's very frustrating as an agent to relay this kind of information to a seller in distress because sometimes it can easily appear that YOU are the one who is confused and making mistakes when really it's all just a case of "Too many Chefs in the Kitchen". I'm not saying it is impossible to get a hafa short sale approved with BofA, but I will say it is like comparing a Mole Removal Surgery to Open Heart Surgery. I truly wish they would get things together and find a way to incorporate their hafa updates through Equator.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed my first entry in my new Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional. More updates to come soon! Remember, Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere!

Have You Seen The News Lately???

I recently came across a very unusual short sale. This real estate "whodunit" is still under investigation, and we still are in search for the culprit! Click on the Picture below to learn more from Channel 10 News.

Click on the Picture to see a clip of the News

2 New Homes Available for Buyers Immediately

Hurry While You Can!
2 New Homes Available for Buyers!

1. 7130 Carriage Drive, Citrus Heights, CA
Listing Price: $170,000

  • 3 Bed
  • 1.5 Bath 
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Boat Strorage/ Rv Possible
  • Remodeled in 2007
  • Sunroom

Go to Featured Listings Tab for Pictures!

2.4109 Northgreen Court, Carmichael, CA
Listing Price: $264,900

  • 3 Bed
  • 2 Bath 
  • 2 Car Garage
  • Boat Strorage/ Rv Possible
  • Huge backyard
  • Spacious Floor Plan

Go to Featured Listings Tab for Pictures!

Three homes just fell out of escrow!

Both of these homes just fell out of escrow!
Now is your chance to make an offer!

First Home: 3401 Duckhorn Drive, Sacramento



  • Lender approved at $173,000
  • 3 BD, 2.5 BA
  • Open floor plan
  • Ready to move in!

Second Home: 3105 Leiper Loop, Lincoln




  • Lender approved at $162,000
  • 3 BD, 3.5 BA
  • Luxury townhome
  • Multiple Upgrades! (ask for specifics)


Third Home: 8155 State Highway 193, Newcastle




  • Lender approved at $470,000
  • 4 BD, 3 BA
  • Lot size: 5 acres, Living space: 2379 (sq. ft.)
  • Multiple upgrades



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