It was 2008. Jake and Sophia had been working hard and saving their money to buy their first place. The market had fallen enough to make a home a reasonable dream. Armed with their pre-approval from Melanie Flynn, we took a look at homes in San Carlos and Redwood City. It didn’t take long for us to find a darling place in Redwood City. It was a short sale. Two loans on the property with two different banks. We knew it would be a tricky deal, but the home was well worth the work.
We wrote an offer and the sellers accepted right away. The offer was sent to both banks and together we waited on pins and needles to hear back. Weeks passed. Each Wednesday I’d call the Listing Agent to get the scoop. And each week she told me she hadn’t heard back. Months passed. Six – I think – could have been more. Finally I get some answers. The two banks were at a stand still. Neither would budge.
Now during these six months when everyone was in the dark – Jake wanted to propose to Sophia and wanted to do so in their future home. At the time – The Caton Team didn’t know the shenanigans going on with the bank – so we arranged to show them the home again and hang out in the car so Jake could properly propose. It was super cute and of course, Sophia said yes. (They are high-school sweethearts.)
We all went home with hearts and stars in our eyes – that lasted until I got the phone call. You see, a short sale with one home loan is easy compared to a home with two loans. One loan, means one bank decides their bottom line. Two loan, and now we have a fight. Technically, the 1st loan has precedence over the 2nd loan, so much so, the 1st loan could foreclose on the home and own it – wiping the 2nd loan off the face of the earth – the 2nd loan would have no recourse and just take the loss. But since the 1st loan was trying to work with the sellers to avoid foreclosures – the fight is over how much the 2nd loan would accept in the short sale and walk away. Typically, the 1st loan gives about $1000 – $3000 to the 2nd loan as a courtesy since the 1st loan is not foreclosing. Generally the 2nd loan is happy to get anything – and accepts what the 1st loan gives them. Well not this time. The 2nd loan was demanding more money – the 1st loan wasn’t going to give it to them. Both Realtors tried every which way to put the deal together, but in the end, nobody had enough money to satisfy this 2nd loan.
After a long talk with Jake and Sophia we knew it was time to walk away.
Thankfully, since we saw the writing on the wall – we started looking for other homes. Seems like everything that would work was already pending or sold. Except for one.
The trick to being a great Realtor is also being a great detective. Combing through the pending listings, Susan saw a cute home which was pending but in the agent comment section – it was begging for a back-up offer – it appears the current buyer was threatening to walk away since they were tired of waiting for the short sale bank to respond. The Listing Agent knew she was so close to a short sale approval – but the buyer had enough.
We called right away and showed the home that night. Jake and Sophia loved it. Sadly, the home was priced about $50,000 over their budget. That didn’t stop the Caton Team. We knew the buyer was going to walk, the bank was ready to sell and we knew to strike when the iron was hot. We wrote the offer right away. The seller accepted the offer and sent it to the bank. In the mean time, the other buyer rescinded their offer and suddenly we were the only offer on the table. It was the banks call – wait another 356569546 days or sell it now…
With bated breath we waited. Two offers on two short sales – it was like roulette.
Before we knew it, the bank accepted our $50,000 below price offer and we were in the home stretch. We rescinded our offer on the 1st house and about 25 days later handed the keys to Sophia & Jake. They couldn’t be happier.
Just so you know – the original house – the two banks fought for over 1 year and in the end the 1st foreclosed on the 2nd. It wasn’t the best solution for the seller, but thankfully they were finally able to move forward.
In the end – Jake & Sophia got a home that was far better than the first place. It’s why I tell each buyer upfront – we’re going to see a lot of homes, we’re going to write a bunch of offers, some will be accepted or rejected, some homes will move faster than other – but in the end – what’s meant to be is meant to be.
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