Short Sales Are Different In All States

I was speaking with a few of my brethren in the real estate business around the country and the conversation centered on ‘short sales.’ Apparently, short sales are not treated the same way from sea to shining sea. My friend in Atlanta, GA works exclusively on short sales and does quite well. In fact, not only does she list them, but she sells them and gets them under contract and closed in 30-60 days. When I heard this, I almost fell off the chair. I told her that in Colorado, we cannot get the banks to respond to short sale offers and generally, the closing time for a short sale in Colorado is 3-6 months, if you can get it closed at all. I was speaking with a colleague in Philadelphia, and he was telling me that his brokerage firm was having absolutely no problems getting the banks to respond.

Soon after that, I did a little more research and began to realize that the banks were responding differently to homeowners in different states. Why would the banks be responsive in Georgia and Pennsylvania, but not in Colorado? I know agents these days use short sales negotiators in the selling of a home and we have used them from time to time. I think short sale negotiators are great and valuable. In the cases where we have used them, they have clearly earned their money and got the property closed in a shorter amount of time, but not in 30-60 days like in Atlanta.

I have been unable to get a bank to tell me why the difference between States, but one thing is clear in the whole process. There needs to be some type of regulation and reform on how banks handle short sales across the nation. For some time now, Realtors have been calling for a standard policy on short sales. I have heard various ideas like a 30-10 rule where the banks would have to respond to offers in 10 days after receiving the contract and then be able to close the transaction in 30 days. One thing is clear: the massive amount of short sales will soon be foreclosures, unless the banks make a concerted effort to change their ways, respond to offers, and get short sales closed.

Dan Polimino is a Realtor with Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty. He can be reached at and

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