Google your town name and short sale agents. Interview a few over the phone and ask if they have experience closing short sales with your bank. Read the blog posts of agents in your area who show up in the search. Call your lender asap and/or get onto their website and search around until you find info on short sales. Every lender/servicer has different policies. There is also pretty good info on www.making homesaffordable.gov. Good luck, I hope this goes well for you.
I wonder if Alan's blank means he's used up all his words for 2011 ;-(.Phil, as always has a most articulate explanation of his opinions.Melina (nice to see you btw), you represent my views: having our listings on zillow is an important part of our listing syndication strategy. I have Zillow, Trulia, R,com, Tribune.com all marked as not spam because I do want consumer inquiries to come through. My job is to service the listing and answer questions that might lead to a buyer. I have never, until the last day, worried about whether responsiveness was also something that had anything to do with client ratings. I respond because it's part of servicing the listing, not to cover my rear. I chose to break out "seeking ratings" on different sites over time. This year I sought reviews on Trulia....so specific reason, just what I focused on. So client wants to get an agent request "thanks so much for the business, now could you visit these six sites and comment about me". My company sends a review request, relo sends a request, and most lenders send a request. I think I'll have to get more organized on this and come up with a strategy for 2012. In any case, the aggregator-broker relationship is evolving in a way that none of us could have predicted. Good relations are important to meeting our mutual goals of providing good service in helping clients buy and sell homes. Better communications from the aggregators to the brokers and agents could help in improving the spirit pf cooperation.
In the interests of transparency and because I believe in creating options for consumers, I have been a good supporter of Zillow. I liked the idea that consumers could have access to at least some data, and I've never feared that a Zestimate would replace my expertise in pricing a home.This review policy of allowing someone who makes an inquiry to do an agent review, however, is ludicrous. The person who makes an inquiry is not even a customer, much less a client. Many people argued about agent reviews when they were first rolled out, and many of those against them offered this exact scenario as proof that the system was open to abuse.Kristin, your statement that Zillow "encourages" clients to contact agents is astonishing. Zillow as a firm does not direct, review, or evaluate agents. You sell ADVERTISING space to agents. Consumers can choose to contact a listing broker, any of the agents who sign up as working in that zip code, or the agent who buys space for that zip code. It is pure and simple hubris to think that selling advertising space puts you in the position of encouraging the public to select one broker over another.
In addition to the Zillow values, define what you need the information for: If you;re thinking of selling your home, a local real estate broker or agent should be able to give you accurate information on comparable sales and active sales in your neighborhood. If you need to know "assessed values" -- what value you and your neighbors are being taxed against, then contact whoever in your state does the assessments. Look on your tax bill. In my area, every township has an assessors office. If you need a valuation for a refinance, your lender will order a professional appraisal (that you will pay for in a fee or as part of closing costs).
So many transactions have been delayed this year due to hang ups in underwriting and loan approval. Very frustrating for both the seller and the buyer. Unless you wrote in a penalty clause, though, you are unlikely to receive any compensation. One previous comment suggested that the buyer forego some concession you previously made. If you are still in "financing contingency" -- in other words the loan isn't fully committed, you may not have a completely firm deal. Good news/bad news! Ask your attorney what he can negotiate, but if it's not a fully committed deal, you could aggravate the buyer into walking out.
Call two or three local brokerages -- larger offices are a good start. Ask to speak to the managing broker or the broker/owner. Do not speak to the "floor agent" or the agent who happens to answer the phone. Tell the broker that you want someone with experience is selling home that are or might go short sale. Emphasize that you want someone who has closed transactions that have gone to short sale. This agent may have attended special training but some of the training is rudimentary, so don't be buffaloed. An experienced agent will also be able to recommend recommend a good short sale attorney to team up with. The agent markets the listing and helps buyers agents start the process, the attorney negotiates with the bank. They are unique roles: agents can't do legal work and attorneys can't market properties. In our area (Chicago suburbs), we are finding that some attorneys are willing to be compensated at the closing by the bank (like real estate commissions - they're always paid at closing, not before). Attorneys may be willing to defer their compensation to the closing if they are brought in by an agent or broker that they trust and have had successful deals with.
If you are going to ask your lender to accept a short sale you and your agent need to build a compelling case. After all, you are asking the lender to accept less money than you promised to pay. The fact that your house is worth less than it was 3 years ago is sad, but essentially irrelevant. Your "hardship case" should include documented evidence of medical or employment problems. If you are receiving a settlement or have other assets you may be turned down in your request for a short sale. An attorney who has successfullly negotiated short sales should be able to advise you of your chances.