November 15, 2012To help homeowners facing a short sale or foreclosure situation navigate – a difficult and confusing process – Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors has partnered with SAFAssist Short Sale and Foreclosure Assistance to create a customizable plan that can adapt to each client's needs. SAFAssist helps homeowners who feel they are forced into considering a short sale or foreclosure of their home and is designed to give them the support and tools they need to either delay or stop a foreclosure and complete the short sale of their property.
Jodi Tate, chief operating officer for Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors, explained that the program has been designed specifically to address the area of short sales without any out-of-pocket expenses for the homeowners. Some of the benefits of the program include advice regarding income tax ramifications for the homeowner; assistance in minimizing negative effects on the homeowner's credit score; reduction in the liability for the homeowner; and help from a dedicated document coordinator in preparing the homeowner's hardship case. Best of all, the SAFAssist program allows the homeowner's Real Estate agent to focus on what the agent does best – selling their home.
So far, Tate said they have performed almost 500 successful short sale transactions in about a year and a half in the Raleigh area. This success is why Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors choose to be an exclusive partner with SAFAssist in the triad. "The program won't be offered with any other company," Tate said.
To get started, homeowners meet with the SAFAssist team for a thorough consultation interview to create a plan to assist them with their short sale or foreclosure, and to give them the best counsel, whatever their situation is.
"A team of people step in and help take the pressure off," Tate said. That team includes an attorney who helps by negotiating with the banks. "It helps us get out and do what we do best, which is sell Real Estate," she said. The attorney involved also counsels homeowners if foreclosure makes sense for them or if they should delay and do a short sale. They will also negotiate fees with the banks. "A lot of people out there are so afraid and embarrassed," Tate said. "It is just such a rough time. I think they end up going into foreclosure because they don't know they have any other options. What we are trying to do at Coldwell Banker is give them some other options."
"In the triad, distressed sales are still about 30 percent of our market," Tate explained. "Clearly, this is a type of transaction that is difficult and different, and it requires very specialized training and legal advice." Tate said that before 2007 foreclosures happened, but very sporadically. "Short sales weren't even a term we recognized—they weren't even on our radar," she said. "Over the last five years, short sales have become an everyday term for us in the Real Estate industry."
Despite the recent ubiquity of the term for the Real Estate industry, short sales go beyond the expertise of a Real Estate agent, requiring legal advice. Part of that is because with a short sale, the homeowner is trying to negotiate on their overdue payments. Tate explained that they are trying to get the bank to take less for the property than what the homeowner owes on it. That process requires negotiations with the lender as well as advice to the homeowner on the resulting tax ramifications, all of which requires legal advice.
SAFAssist was originally developed by a group of realtors of a Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtor affiliate in Raleigh. "They created it in conjunction with attorneys in Raleigh who had a lot of experience with short sales," Tate said. Not only is there no out-of-pocket expense for the homeowners who take advantage of the program, but also the Realtors involved do not incur any expense, and they also receive liability protection.
Real Estate professionals understand the world we are in today is very different than just five years ago, Tate explained, saying, "They understand consumers' needs are different. We are trying to offer them good alternatives, rather than walking away from a property because they have lost a job and can't keep up on the payments." It is an alternative that Tate is hopeful will reduce the damage to a homeowner's credit and allow them to salvage some dignity. "It is already emotional and stressful," she said. "This allows them to be able to move on from this a little more whole than if they went into a straight foreclosure."
For more information of Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors SAFAssist program, call (336) 282-4414 or visit their website at www.cbtriad.com.