Our friends over at Redfin have finally given up on their aversion to short sales, and now allow you to work with one of their agents on a short sale purchase. For the last year and a half, their agents would take you on tours through short sale houses, and then pass you off to a non-Redfin agent if you wanted to write an offer. Before that, they simply wouldn’t help if you were interested in buying a short sale.
We get their dislike of short sales. The process can be slow and maddening, and the percentage that actually close is still much lower than a regular home sale. We actually write lots of short sale offers that don’t pan out. But they couldn’t ignore the numbers. In King County, there are 10,789 active listings at the moment, 2,034 of which (19%) are short sales. I’m guessing that other markets may even have higher percentages.
The change is good for their customers, but if you are in the Seattle area, findwell remains a better choice if you are considering buying a home that is a short sale. The obvious reason is that if you use a Redfin agent to buy a short sale, their commission rebate goes from 50% down to 15%, presumably because short sales are more of a hassle. That means if you are buying a $500,000 home, your commission rebate is $2,250, with Redfin taking $12,750 for their services.
Our approach is that we want to charge a consistent fee for our services and expertise, whether or not a property is a short sale. Are short sales a hassle? Yes, but no more a hassle than some other “regular” transactions. We’ve had some hair-raising fair-market and bank-owned transactions that easily consume more time than a short sale, and we’ve had some extremely painful short sales as well. Is a short sale worth a 70% increase in our fee? No way. I challenge the math that leads them to come up with such a big difference in their fees.
We’ve always supported short sales, whether you want to view them or write offers, but frankly we’ve been at it for 3.5 years longer than they have. We know the time and effort it takes to successfully get through a short sale and have the experience needed to guide you through any scenario that you encounter.
We’ve always respected what Redfin is up to, but if you are looking for an agent to help you with a short sale in the Seattle area, drop us a line. You’ll be happy that you did.