5 Tips for Marketing A Short Sale

1) If it’s only one lien, say so.

Buyers, and their brokers, can be reluctant to consider purchasing a short sale property because the transaction can be more complicated and time-consuming than a conventional sale. A short sale involving just one mortgage has a much higher chance of closing, and closing more quickly, when compared to a property with multiple liens. You’ll increase your pool of potential buyers by clearly stating in your marketing materials that the property has only one mortgage.

2) Make sure the property is priced at a compelling, not just competitive, price point.

Pricing a short sale is a balancing act. You need to set a price that prompts someone to make an offer, but is also acceptable to the lender. Price too high, and you get no offers; price too low, and the bank won’t approve it. BPO brokers are given guidelines by the bank for pricing, for example, looking at three active and three sold comparables. What they normally don’t take into consideration are things like listing history or individual characteristics of your specific property. Has there only been one offer in four months? Does your property have the same number of beds and baths as a comparable home, but the layout is odd? Meet the BPO broker prior to their pricing armed with this information, and you can help set a price that buyers find appealing and lenders will accept.

3) Know the facts about each lien holder’s process and timelines.

This is about managing expectations. Most buyers know a short sale is more complicated than a standard transaction, and they’re willing to accept the trade-off of less convenience to get more house for their money. However, you can lose a sale if you don’t correctly outline what a buyer should expect. If you tell a buyer upfront that closing with Lender A averages 90 days, they can make a decision about whether that works for them. However, if they’re in a situation where they need to close in 60 days, and you tell them it’s going to take 30 days, you’ve just lost the sale and squandered precious time on market for your client.

4) Don’t scrimp on listing photos.

I’m surprised at how many short sale listings have a single exterior shot of the property and little in the way of description. There is a preconceived notion among some buyers that short sale properties are in poor repair. For the vast majority of properties, this is not the case. You can alleviate those fears by showing the property to its best advantage and providing as much descriptive information as possible.

5) Let the selling brokers know the sale will be professionally negotiated.

Selling brokers want a smooth transaction and a good experience for their buyer. Short sale properties that are represented by brokers with little or no short sale experience can result in transactions that are disastrous for everyone involved. You want to alleviate any of the selling broker’s concerns so they can confidently recommend that their client make an offer on your short sale property. When we list properties, we include language in the Agent Remarks that indicate that the sale will be professionally negotiated by short sale experts. Washington Property Solutions’ short sale expertise increases a selling agent’s willingness to recommend the property to their client.


Washington Property Solutions has educated hundreds of brokers throughout Washington on how to navigate through the short sale maze so they can best serve their clients. You can find out more about our free in-office short sales training here.

If you are working with a buyer or seller on a short sale and have any additional questions, I’d be happy to provide you with advice free of charge. My name is Richard Eastern, and I’m a Windermere real estate broker and a partner in Washington Property Solutions, a short sale solution provider. Our goal is to help brokers like you provide the best possible service to their clients in the short sale process. We pay a 30% referral fee.

If I can be of any help, please give me a call at (206) 612-5541 or email me at reastern@washortsales.com.

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