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RISMedia, June 7, 2011—As time goes on, the landscape of our real estate industry is beginning to look more and more like a high school campus. We have cliques, and whichever one is on top at the time looks down on the others as inferior. However, our cliques don’t have names like “popular,” or “troubled,” or “wannabes.” Instead, we have Traditional, REO, and Short Sale.

Originally, the clique on top of our industry was Traditional sales. Traditional sales can be likened to those kids years ago who were “popular” because they were very status quo. They had few blemishes, never caused any problems, and did what was expected. Traditional held the top spot for many years, and no one ever thought they would be outnumbered.

Then came the onslaught of REOs. Suddenly, this “troubled” group had a lot of backing, and they were the clique on top. Similar to troubled youth classes, REOs were not what any society wanted to deal with, but attention was given to them and they gained notoriety because of their superior numbers.

Today, there is another clique deserving to have their day in the spotlight, and that is Short Sales. Short Sales are the “wannabes.” They are never quite as perfect as Traditional, because they always have a streak of trouble running through them. However, they are nowhere near as troubled as REOs because they are working to keep from falling to the bottom. And like the “wannabes” in high school, the thing preventing Short Sales from raising their popularity level is the lack of a helping hand. People are always willing to help those on top, because they want to be associated with the best, and they will help those most troubled because they need the most assistance. The ones in the middle get left behind because they are seen as the ones who need the least attention, but there is nothing further from the truth.

With that in mind, our industry needs to lend a helping hand to Short Sales. It’s easy to forget about them or pass them by because of how frustrating they are. You never want to continually spend time on a project where you have put the time and effort into it time and time again, only to lose the deal—whether it was because the servicer was difficult to communicate with, or because the homeowner lost interest during the long process ultimately leaving you with nothing. Why would you ever want to try that again? However, it is because of these problems that we need to give Short Sales the help they need so they can become popular, allowing our industry to become as important as it once was, and as it should be again.

In order to accomplish this goal, we need to come together and settle on one way of pushing Short Sales through the system in a quick and efficient manner. Current homeowners who are eligible for a Short Sale often avoid the process because either they hope it will go away if they ignore it, or they just don’t have the proper information about it.

And why don’t they have the information? Because we in the industry haven’t settled on one way to get the process done, and haven’t made the information readily available.

The systems are out there. There are manual versions, online versions, and versions that use several different means to complete the sale. We could look to an established company, or we could look at a company new to the industry, which has an efficient product.

It doesn’t matter which one comes out on top. All we have to do is choose one, and have everyone get on board with the process, from agents, to servicers, to the GSEs. However, the system we choose must work for all involved in the sale. It must have clear communication between all parties. Each person involved in the transaction must be able to see what is going on, and when. Everything needs to be documented, so when a task isn’t completed by its set deadline, we know who the responsible party is for holding up the sale. But most importantly, we must all support the chosen system. Short Sales will never have the chance to become important if we don’t provide a united front for them.

Homeowners can be educated—and as we all know—the more you know about a situation, the more comfortable you are with it. If we all provide the same information to everyone, and have it readily available, homeowners will feel a comfort level with the Short Sale process, which will ultimately help push Short Sales through the system and get our industry back on track.

Choosing the right system and sticking to it will be the helping hand that Short Sales need. They will finally be pulled from the shadows and can be as popular as Traditional sales once were, and REOs are now. The new clique on top of our industry can be Short Sales, but only if we as the mentors of the industry can come together to choose a united approach, and give the advice needed to put the Short Sales clique on top.

Pauline Perenack is the Marketing Manager at RES.NET, a real estate technology platform that provides an array of functional portals, each specifically designed for various aspects of the real estate industry. For more information, please visit, or email