Hail Mary!

Yesterday (when I wrote this) was the first Tuesday of the month.  Those of you who invest in Texas likely knows what that means… Yesterday was foreclosure day.  Many of you probably spent last week like I did… fielding calls from homeowners on the brink who finally decided to call the number on one of those mailers that have desperately been trying to get their attention.

There is some great opportunity in those calls for purchasing property from some very motivated sellers.  However, there are just as many if not more who don’t have equity and short sale is their only hope.  At StepStone, we lovingly call one of those a Hail Mary! While we may say a prayer what we are really referring to is the football term:

a long forward pass in football, especially as a last ditch attempt
at the end of a game, where completion is considered unlikely.

I love this definition because not only does it describe what we are doing (Last Ditch Attempt) but also the likely outcome (Completion is Considered Unlikely).  But, it worked for Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach in 1975 and so rather than throwing our hands up we give it a shot.

I consider a Hail Mary to be any property inside of 2 weeks of a foreclosure date. Initiating a short sale process can sometimes get the lender to postpone the foreclosure date in order to consider the short sale request.  This is also a great method to get a postponement even if your end game isn’t a short sale but you just need time to close on the property another way.

But, completion is considered unlikely so I’ll share some ways to help the possibility of a success for a postponement.

1. Complete Paperwork! To initiate a short sale, lenders require a long list of documentation.  If you are able to send in a complete and correct short sale request package your chances are improved.  Stress to the seller the urgency of providing all the items needed.  These include pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, authorizations, financial worksheets, etc. If seller says “Oh, I’ll get that to you sometime in the next few days” or they just don’t seem motivated to do the homework then say goodbye!  A Hail Mary has a good chance if the seller is Johnny on the Spot and is just as motivated to stop the foreclosure as you are.

2. Get your Authorization processed ASAP! The absolute first thing you should send to the lender before you bother with anything else is to send in an Authorization to Release Information (we call them ATRI or “Atari” — like the video game platform) to the lender so you can start a dialogue with them about the property.  Sometimes it takes lenders a few days to process these so the quicker you can get it in the better.  If you have to depend on the seller to communicate with the lender then you will lose control of the situation.

3. Get an Offer! Sending in a short sale request so close to foreclosure will likely not get you very far without an offer to submit as well. If you are hoping to buy it yourself you cannot be both the listing agent and the buyer.  Either find another agent to list for you or find another investor to submit an offer for you.  It can be an investor appropriate offer (70% minus repairs) just so long as it’s an offer for them to chew on.

If you are a StepStone Agent, you can take advantage of our experienced short sale staff to assist you with all these items.  Hail Mary short sales can be a lot of work but once you get the initial postponement you will have the time you and the seller needs to solve their house problem.