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A Short Sale Christmas Miracle…?

As many of you know, I enjoy working with distressed homeowners (yes, another label), that is, those homeowners who are facing a hardship. It could be a job relocation, death of a loved one, divorce, loss of employment, etc. I like working with these people because, it keeps me humble and more importantly, constantly reminds me that we are all part of the tragic human condition. More to the point, it’s a constant, in my face, open your eyes and stand witness to the plight of those who are hurting. As witness to these terrible circumstances facing these good people, I can empathize and help shoulder the burden that a home can sometimes cause a family. In this, I am reminded of just how human and fragile we are.

This day, started like any other, following up on my files, calling banks, listening to recordings, staying on hold for endless hours, I am sure you know the drill however, something different happened today, something that truly could be called, a Christmas miracle.

My clients banks called me to inform me that they will not be postponing the foreclosure and no other options to save my clients home was available. These calls are always gut wrenching and over the years I have developed an almost morticians kit gloves however, I was bamboozled when the representative asked my client and I if we would like to talk with his supervisor. You see, that never happens…never. Now, keep in mind, our call was not hostile in any way and in fact, by all accounts, it was going really well. Sure, my client was upset and anxious but, he wasn’t agitated, rude, belligerent and he had no malice in his tone or cadence with the representative.  This may be because I had prepared him for this eventuality months before and in reality, we had settled into the idea that this would happen so, all in all, the call was going well. Towards the end of the call, right when I normally say, “thank you Mr. Representative, I will be in touch”, Mr. Representative asked if we wanted to speak with his supervisor. Of course, my client and I jumped at the opportunity, with a little glimmer of hope but, in the back of my mind, I knew and understood we were likely going to be told “no” once again.

Relaxed in our defeat and comforted that up to this point, we had truly done everything we could, everything we knew how to do, the supervisor came on. Now, before the conversation really got started, pleasantries were exchanged and lines were drawn. That is, we were told, that no matter how the call ended, the end result was still going to be “no” and truthfully, to my client, I think that was just fine, as long as he had a chance to speak and tell his story….that is really all he wanted to do. The supervisor, lead by what seemed to be her nature, calmly and empathetically said, “I would be happy to listen.” I immediately muted my phone so as to not disturb my client and I listened in complete amazement as I actually hear silence from the supervisor, interrupted only by her warm, calming and assuring voice as she said things like, “Oh no” or “That’s terrible”. You see, for any of you who know anything about short sales, first off, we rarely get to speak with supervisors and those that we do get to speak with, rarely ever are they willing to just stop, listen and empathize. Down here in the south, we would say that’s about as rare and hens teeth.

In a flash, I realized what I was standing witness to and it moved me, it did something to me that I don’t know will ever be undone. I was listening to a divine moment. A moment where one wretched human, down in despair and looking into an abyss was given a flickering, fragile, flame of hope in nothing more than the simple act of listening. I saw the burden of a crushing debt begin to lift with the calming, reassuring voice of an empathetic ear. I heard the divine reach from the mouth and ear to the soul of another. I was moved. Sure, the outcome didn’t change, the foreclosure is still taking place as scheduled but, foreclosure was the furthest from the soul of the people talking and listening even though it was the word most spoken and weighting most heavily on the tongue.

I know I will never make a dime on this property or client. I have worked tirelessly and yet, my work will not help me keep my lights on, pay my mortgage or even put gas in my car but, it did change my life because, how could anyone stand in the presence of such an awesome act, witness evidence of the divine and not stand in complete awe with their nature changed forever?

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Comment by Jill Grieco on January 3, 2014 at 6:17pm

I have a small story of my own.  I had a property listed that was listed as traditional sale.  I was told to do this as the seller did not want to do a short sale.  The listing price was too high so it wouldn't sell.  Finally, I convinced them to list it as a short sale.  They felt that because they owned other property outright and had some cash in the bank, that the bank would never go for forgiving all of the debt with no contribution.  I said, what do we have to loose?  You can always change your mind and not follow through with the sale.  They were comforted enough knowing that they didn't have to go through with it if they didn't want to, so we gave it a shot.  We closed the deal in Dec. and the bank did not ask for a contribution and forgave all of the debt.  They are sooo happy.  So the moral of the story is, you never know until you try.

Comment by Jesus (Jesse) Gonzalez on January 3, 2014 at 7:57am

Hey Patti Baker, well...I think it's too late for me. I have been doing short sales since 2006 and in 2012, had my best year in short sales. I closed nearly 60. In fact, I have gotten so good at them, I ended 2013 with a 96% closing ratio on my short sales. Every once in a while, I get one that is just impossible however, these are rare but, when they do happen, they go "bad" in a big way.

Comment by Patti Baker on January 2, 2014 at 6:58pm

you are either smoking or drinking.  walk away from these short sales where you do not make a dime...life change does not put money on the table...I just walked away from one that I have spent a year working on, I got smart, do not need the hassle these banks give you

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