And you are really wondering why your Chandler home didn’t sell?

See the photo below, this is an actual photo taken recently from the MLS, it was not altered.

Actual MLS Photo


As a Chandler real estate agent, I often get calls from people wondering why their Chandler house is not selling. While I cannot solicit or initial calls from houses that are listed, we can answer questions if a home owner reaches out to us.

Often, the reason it is not selling comes down to 1 of 2 things. Either it is not price correctly or it does not show well at all online.


It is a big mistake to not price your home correctly at first. Why? I will do more on this soon, but if you have ever been shopping for houses, and you find out the days on the market is high, what are your first thoughts? If you are like everyone else, it is either A) What is wrong with the house B) I can steal this one or something with a combination of both of those.

Get the price right on day one. Stop thinking I need to leave room to negotiate. There are things you can do to make your house sell for more, but once you have the number that you believe it is going to sell for, list it within 1-2% of that.  You will cost yourself a lot of time and money in the long run if you do not.

Online Appearance

This is no longer 1995, everything starts online these days. I have two types of clients. Those that like to search my MLS site Homes Around Chandler by themselves, and leave me comments on houses they like, or those who like for me to search for them and just send them comments on the ones I think match what they are looking for.

How it works in real life

Either way it always starts the same, with me as their Chandler real estate agent, or them as the Buyer, looking at photos to see how the house looks. If I am looking at houses that are listed between 250,000-325,000, I am comparing it to other properties that are in that price range. If I see 8 properties, and 7 of them have professional photos, and one has cheap photos that do not make the house look very appealing, which ones do you think I am recommending to my client

If your house should be priced at 225,00, and you decided to price it at 250,000, to not “leave money on the table” do you think we are taking a look at it when we compare it to homes that are worth an extra 10%?

Don’t hurt yourself. As soon as your house is on the market. Go online to different sites and do a search for houses like yours. How does it look compared to them? Would you take a look at it, or would you pass for something that looks a lot nicer?

I will be answering your real estate questions on a regular basis. You can follow me on my Youtube Chanel here or you can get the 15 second version of my answers at:
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Fannie Mae short sales: Making things harder than they should

So the good news is we just closed a short sale listing from Queen Creek at the beginning of the week. More good news is this short sale was not a cat because if it only had nine lives, it would be dead.

We took the listing in May of 2010 and by the time we got an offer that would stick it was mid-July. The BPO came back at $131,000, right about where we thought it should be. Even thought he buyer had only waited for less than five weeks, they had found another house so back to the market the house went. The problem we were facing with this area of Queen Creek is it was probably the most rapidly declining area of the East Valley.

We got another offer in October, and because this is a Fannie Mae short sale the original BPO should have been still valid and with an offer of $120,000 we knew we would have to work some magic to make this happen or challenge the BPO. But for some reason, they ordered a new BPO, and in this rapidly declining market the number came in at $152k. 152k? Someone used some bad comparables. I usually meet the BPO agent at the property as I did this time, but this BPO agent would not allow me to even talk to him, so there was nothing we could do to make sure he was looking at the same info I was.

The buyer was not willing to work with us as we fought it, so they walked too and back to the market we went.

The first week of January I get an offer for $117k, which was about market value, and they were willing to wait while we challenged Fannie’s BPO.

Of course Fannie would not make it easy and just look at the comparables we were providing and see the obvious. They refused to look at value. We escalated in Bank of America to try to get them to help us fight Fannie Mae. Again we were told no Fannie would not take a look at value.

After we were told at least 5-6 times by a variety of people that Fannie was refusing to even look at value, we eventually found someone in the escalations department who realized we were right. How could values go up 20% in four months? If the comparables sold in the last three months were 95k-130k, with only one above 117k, how could ours be worth 152k?

But again even though she was working on making the case to Fannie Mae, they would not look at it. Finally as a last ditch effort I started calling every manager and executive at Fannie I could get a number for, and they all refused to talk to me saying I needed to go through the servicer. Then I blasted them all with emails outlining my case. I was so aggressive in my contacting that Fannie Mae called my escalations contact at Bank of American and yelled at her telling her I had to stop contacting them. That meant I was doing my job.

Eventually all my harassing of Fannie Mae paid off and they agreed to do a new BPO, which came back at $122k, right where we thought it should. So we wasted hundreds of man hours and two months of time, but we were making progress. Of course there were issues with cash contributions and promissory notes that I will discuss tomorrow, but we would eventually get an approval letter and they gave us only 5 days to close. Of course they had to make that difficult to and it took two days on the phone to get them to eventually extend it two days AFTER the letter expired.

Fannie Mae needs to find a better way to work with agents and/or servicers. Eventually they would agree with everything I say, but they took months and hours of time to get there. If they had been able to use their brain, it could have saved a lot of time and money.

Accepting the banks counter offer is not the same as having a deal

When you are negotiating your Chandler short sale there is most likely going to be a point where your bank is going to counter offer and you will accept the deal. That does NOT mean you have an agreement. That means based on the guidelines the investor behind the loan has given the bank who is servicing the loan, the deal is good enough to be submitted to the investor for final approval.

After you and the bank come to an agreement the deal is sent to the investor to be approved. Often the investor is going to come back and say they need more money, a cash contribution or a promissory note from the seller. This is often negotiable, but expect that to happen.

So don’t be surprised when the bank you thought you had a deal with all of a sudden says they need more money. This is when the real negotiations begin. Until you get the final approval letter in writing in your hands never assume you have a deal.

Short sale agent sees battle coming with banks and pricing

Chander short sale agent sees a battle coming up with banks over short sale sales prices. Future BPO’s for these short sales could be an issue. The problem is BPO pricing is done off recent solds and with prices dropping the offers are going to lower than the recent sold properties. The battle is coming so get ready.

Short sale agent with designations and short sale home conditions

When you put your East Valley home on the market as a short sale it is important that you maintain the home in a presentable way. No one wants to walk into a home and see trash all over the floors and junk on the counters.
No, you do not need to professionally stage your home, just make your home inviting to the people viewing it. Make it a home they can see themselves living in and a home that looks like it is enjoyable to own. A home that looks like it was cared for is going to get a much better offer than a home that is trashed. That better offer is going to make it much easier to get your offer approved.

Another subject that gets me fired up is designations. Why is it that almost all designations you need to pay for and then pay the designation company every year to keep using it? This of this, you go to ASU (Go Sun Devils!) get your degree and then every year ASU comes to you and says if you want to say you got an education from us you need to pay us every year (insert student loan joke here.) Also that designation does not mean you know how to do anything, it means you took the class.

The exception may be the SSG or Short Sale Genius designation. With this designation once you have it, you have it. But the kicker is, you actually need to have closed short sales before you can use it. But even then I would not hire an agent just because they have the SSG designation. When interviewing an agent make them explain to you the process the use and ask them questions on how they do things.

Fight for clients in short sale approval

Not every short sale is going to close, no matter how good you are. Often times issues like PMI are going to get in the way. But you should be taking the fight to the bank for your client to get the deal done and sellers when interviewing agents make sure you ask them what they are going to do when the bank says no.

But I don’t have PMI?!?!

So you purchased your East Valley home with a 80/20 loan so you would not have PMI. Now you need to sell your home and you find out the PMI company is asking for a cash contribution or a note for $10,000 to be signed. Why is that?

Well it turns out that investors who purchased your mortgage didn’t trust you so they purchased PMI for them. That is all well and good, and allowed, but that PMI company is not allowed to ask you for a contribution. Well they can, but they are not supposed to.

When they do this it is called 3rd party bad faith. The problem, even through you are right it is going to be more expensive to fight it than just pay it. I think this is going to end up leading to a class action law suite.

Question real estate stats and Fannie Mae is costing us money

National real estate numbers almost mean nothing to your local real estate market, and even local real estate may have more than one market. Dont read to much into numbers they dont always tell the whole story. And what is up with Fannie Mae not allowing more time to work on short sales? This does not cost them money, it cost US money. Either allow time for the deal to be worked on or work on it a lot quicker.

Tempe Short Sale: A lot tougher when agent seller don’t have great 2-way communications

Short sales are hard, short sales when the seller and the listing agent don’t have great open communications is even harder. A recent Tempe short sale experience showed that. The home owner did not communicate about some financial circumstances and the agent negotiating (me) was hit from no where by banks negotiator.

Bank of America short sale resolved quickly by not hearing no

This Bank of America short sale problem was resolved because when they said no, we heard KNOW. Many people hate short sales because they say no to often and many people hate Bank of America because they are slow to respond. When you get the two issues together it could create a problem.

Many times when banks say no the agent negotiating should be hearing KNOW not NO. When you have that mindset it becomes a problem to solve. What do they not KNOW that will make them change their mind.