If you’re facing the very real possibility of losing your home to foreclosure, you’re interested in solutions to your financial tension. A quick Google search tells you that a Phoenix short sale might be an effective foreclosure avoidance solution for your situation. Even better, there seem to be a number of prolific Phoenix short sale agents with impressive track records. Some claim "100% success rates" while others say they’ve completed hundreds – even thousands – of short sales. The problem is, some unscrupulous real estate agents will say or do almost anything to win business. How do you know which ones are honest, above-board and truly looking out for your best interests?

Phoenix Short Sale Advice for Sellers

First, a brief disclosure: You should be commended for seeking effective foreclosure avoidance strategies. The easier path might be to just throw the keys on the counter, call your lender, and walk away from a mortgage you know you can’t afford. So I applaud you for taking the time to try to do the right thing.

Short sale transactions are radically different than any other property sale. Not only is it necessary to find a willing buyer, you also need a Phoenix short sale agent who understands how to negotiate with your lender, can file the correct documents (in a timely manner) and guide you through the process to a successful completion. Short sales take many, many hours to complete, and there are numerous pitfalls along the way that can derail a short sale.

When you see Phoenix short sale agent advertisements, some will make claims that seem a little too good to be true. For instance, if you keep your eyes open you’ll see short sale agents claiming that all of their short sales go through, that they can complete the process from start to finish within 24 hours, and other dubious claims (like having hundreds, even thousands, of successful short sales under their belt).

When you’re facing the very real prospect of losing your home to foreclosure, you don’t have a lot of time to spare. So caution goes out the window, and common sense gives way to a “let’s give it a shot and see what happens” mentality. Whatever you do – don’t believe everything you read or hear. Your financial future is on the line!

Real estate agents and brokers sign off on a Code of Ethics pledge, a voluntary agreement that they’ll advertise honestly & ethically, and that they’ll always look out for the best interests of their clients. Some of the Phoenix short sale agents trolling for business on the Internet will say whatever they think it will take to win business. The reason? They have families to feed, and they’ll only be paid if they successfully close a real estate transaction. And real estate is an incredibly competitive industry.

To ensure that any Phoenix short sale agent you’re considering working with is as good as he or she says they are, ask the hard questions:

  • How many short sales have you completed? Don’t accept the answer as gospel; require proof. If the agent has really completed short sales, they’ll have plenty of former clients you can contact to ensure that they can do what they say they can.  So check out agent claims. It’s worth the effort.
  • How long have you been handling short sales? While length of service is no guarantee, most real estate agents won’t continue in the business unless they’re experiencing a certain level of success.
  • How do you keep clients informed each step of the way? This is crucial. Short sales aren’t completed overnight, and if you’re staring down the barrel of the foreclosure gun, time is of the essence. Constant communication is crucial.

Short sale success comes down to knowing how the process works, and advertisements that claim the short sale agent essentially walks on water won’t get you any closer to avoiding foreclosure. You also need good representation from an honest, ethical short sale agent who can guide you through the process and help you reach your goal of avoiding foreclosure.

Short Sale Advertising Advice for Agents & Brokers

Just as the sellers of distressed real estate deserve quality representation, there are legal reasons for agents and brokers to play by the rules. If you’re an agent who thinks a little “harmless” false/misleading advertising never hurt anyone, think again.

When you sign on as a real estate agent, you swear to uphold certain principles of integrity and honesty. These agreements are important to the Arizona Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, and they keep their eyes open for violations of these ethical standards.

Do you really think the Internet is so big that nobody will ever find out about false and/or misleading claims? Think again! If you can’t document that you’re the top producing agent in an office, region or state; if you haven’t closed hundreds of short sales; if any claim you make can’t be proven and independently verified; don’t make the claim! It’s as simple as that.

Here’s another reason to toe the ethical, moral and legal line: Big Brother is watching. In this case, I’m referring to the Federal Trade Commission. Internet marketers, folks selling goods and or services, etc., have found out the hard way that Uncle Sam’s FTC takes a pretty dim view of people making claims that simply aren’t true.

Violate association guidelines and you could face an administrative hearing. Break state real estate advertising rules and you might get your wrist slapped. Here’s the deal: The FTC is a federal agency. They have the ability to make a federal issue of your false claims, and they won’t simply go away because you don’t like what they have to say. So it’s imperative that you play by the rules and always tell the truth in advertising (or in areas where you’re offering your services, including comment boards, advice columns or anywhere else you come in contact with potential clients).

Final Verdict for Sellers and Short Sale Agents

Whether you’re a seller seeking foreclosure avoidance strategies or a Phoenix short sale agent wanting to guide homeowners through the process, both parties are counting on the other to make it happen. Sellers deserve qualified representation; agents need to be honest about the way they conduct themselves – online, in person or in print advertisements.

The outcome of Phoenix short sale transactions hangs in the balance.