Is Writing An Offer For A Short Sale or REO with the Listing Agent a Good Idea?

Well, it depends on the situation, but probably not.

Here’s a very common situation. A buyer is looking to buy a  short sale, foreclosure or a below-market priced home. The buyer may be getting an FHA loan or have only 20% to put down. They are competing against other cash heavy buyers for the same property.  The Buyer believes that they will be able to get the best deal and get their offer accepted if they are represented by the listing agent. Unfortunately, the Buyer could be at a disadvantage because in this case the Listing agent is representing both the Seller and Buyer and no one is working solely in the Buyers best interest. Meanwhile, the listing agent stands to double their commission. Unfortunately, with these high demand, high competition homes, particularly in LA,  it’s a crap shoot.

You see, you can almost be insured that you’re not the only buyer who’s thinking like this. So, this would mean that this listing agent has multiple other buyers looking at a specific home. So if you’re interested, the first thing the listing agent will probably want you to do is get pre-approved from a preferred lender so they know where you stand financially. Once they understand the financial situations of all the potential buyers, the listing agent will suggest the Seller move forth with the person in the strongest position. Listing agents in this position are often inundated with interested buyers and be lucky to get in contact with them or get a response at all!

In this case, the buyer really has no one looking out for them. The listing agent is looking out for theirs and the sellers’ interests and to close the deal as quickly and easily as possible. Particularly when the bank is involved. The bank only cares about the bottom line, not which buyer really wants the home.

The key to solving this problem is having a buyers agent to help you negotiate these confusing waters. A buyer should have someone working solely for them. This doesn’t mean they will always be able to get you in escrow with one of these homes, but at least they will get you a seat at the table. They will be able to get the scoop on whether you should write an offer or move on to the next property.

This type of market will definitely breed frustration in buyers, but if they persist with a good buyer’s agent who is looking out for them, eventually they will close escrow on a new home.

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