A new wrinkle on real estate short sales

Vacation doesn't stall transaction for Orlando Realtor

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Orlando Realtor Kathy Llamas made a suggestion to her short-sale prospect that resulted in a $250,000 sale that closed within 45 days.

She didn’t write the contract, provide transaction management services or help with the financing. This sale had everything to do with trust, establishing needs, and the prospect’s urgency. And it had nothing to do with scripts and closing skills.

The relocating couple didn’t want to wait — they needed a home. For Llamas, it was a case of listening to her prospects as they discussed the likely short-sale properties that she showed them.

Llamas noticed that in every case, when the couple found homes they liked, the homes would have required expensive renovations of cabinetry, flooring and/or appliances.

To add to the pressure, Llamas was leaving in a few days for an extended vacation to the Philippines.

She assured her prospects she could provide services while on vacation, then made what turned out to be a great recommendation to the prospects.

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Llamas suggested that since the short-sale homes seemed to require such expensive repairs, that maybe her prospects should at least look at new homes. Once the couple added the cost of renovation to the short-sale price for resale homes, it made it easier for them to broaden their search.

She designed a showing schedule for the new homes that included virtual tours, as the prospective buyers were not local. When they narrowed the list to two builders, Llamas began working on the details.

She also gave them a stack of business cards and asked them to register in her name, which they did.

Typically, most builders’ co-broker policy calls for the broker to bring the prospect to the property the first time in order to qualify for their commission, but Llamas was leaving the country.

That’s where her experience paid off. She knew something many real estate agents don’t know: She knew that most homebuilders will waive that policy under such circumstances.

In her case, Llamas was in touch with her clients and advising along the way, although she was on vacation — a fact that did not go unnoticed by the buyers.

When the couple narrowed their choice to the homes of two builders, Llamas made calls from the Philippines to confirm their wishes and to confirm her commission protection with the builder.

The couple purchased their new home while Llamas was on vacation, and closed escrow soon after her return. Representatives for the builder had shown the model, "wrote the contract, (and) provided the financing and transaction management, including the walk-through and closing date," Llamas said.

"I made a sale I would have missed and didn’t have to do a lot of the things I would have had to do with a resale."

It was a clear case of the real estate agent not actually selling the home, but being the reason the home sold.

Llamas said she learned a lesson in the experience: "Always listen for (clients’) needs, and then make sure your showings meet those needs."

She added that a highlight of the experience, which impressed her clients, "came at the final walk-through, when three builder representatives showed up. One went through construction issues; one showed them how to use the technology and appliances; and one was to be their contact if they needed anything."

David Fletcher, a licensed real estate broker and lifetime achiever, is founder of EMentoru, a company dedicated to helping real estate agents and homebuilders help each other make sales. Contact him by phone or text at 407- 234-2349, or by email at davidf@ementoru.com.

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