Setting Our Wage

“Working through short sales is working for minimum wage.”  I heard this not long ago from a respected source.  Given that I was currently laboring through the toil and turmoil over my own short sale listing,  I responded with spirit, “Their minimum wage must be different than mine”.   That comment shook me up!  Not everyone is meant to navigate through short sales, but to the rookie in the room our business is sometimes paying those starting wages.  Through this marathon of unknown distance we have a fortunate opportunity to go deeper with our clients.   No one quite prepares you for the challenges ahead, but soon you’re so far down the path that the only choice is to continue.

Last week I finally closed that short sale.  After 12 months (yikes!), 3 sets of buyers, 2 bank approvals, countless calls and hours on the phone with the bank and collaborative efforts with the buyer’s agent, we closed.  I got the see the sigh of relief on my client’s face when he learned that he didn’t have to make the month’s mortgage payment.  After months of worry and stress, I witnessed a chapter close and light open towards a new beginning.  In that period during closing, my career choice had re-solidified.  Real estate is about creating and nurturing relationships;  we are paid based upon how successful we work with others,  nothing to do with the wage rate.  Know how I am sure of that?  I have since had two transactions with clients I met through my short sale listing.

Here are some vital tidbits of learning I discovered along the way, if you were ever to land yourself in a short sale:
 Make sure you tie up loose ends at the beginning i.e. completed TISH, Code of Compliances, title clouds etc.
 You may actually gain clients out of such a transaction; people are perceptive to an agent going above and beyond.  Act as your seller’s strongest advocate and you will win trust.
 Work as a team with the buyer’s agent (with buyer’s and seller’s permission, of course).  Have them on speed dial, meet up and communicate with the bank.  It works.  I was not nearly as interrelated with the first two buyer’s agents, and as a result both buyers walked.  When buyer and seller are on the same page, you are more likely to appear stronger to the bank and gain approval.

Have I had other transactions that have closed quickly, without problems and were more lucrative?  Fortunately, I have.  But I smile when I think back to the times my career has been most rewarding—and oddly enough it isn’t the easy ones that crack that smile.  Do we determine our wage on dollars alone?  For a newbie, can wage partially come in the form of sweaty equity?  My smile says yes… and I’m okay with that!


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