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Short Sale conspiracy

March 30th, 2010

For those in the market for a home, I’m personally advising against the pursuit of all real estate properties listed as being on “Short Sale.” In my search for a home to call my own since June of 2008, I’ve come across and put in offers for countless houses marketed under the deceptive short sale banner. Sure, the prices appear affordable and the offers are irresistibly tempting. But as the old adage goes, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Nowhere is this more true than in my personal experience with short sales. Part of the reason why I am still without my own home can partially be attributed to the time and effort wasted on chasing the mirage deals known as short sale. I hope you will not share the same fate.

At present, our government (U.S.) is feverishly implementing various ways to prop up the real estate market with buyer incentives, monetary manipulation, subsidized loan guarantees for banks, etc… What I’d really like to see are truth-in-labeling legislations put in place for all real estate transactions in order to filter out some of the subterfuge commonplace in this slimy field. When I speak of legislation, I don’t mean retarded things like the lead-based paint disclosure or anything drafted with legalese. Case in point, wouldn’t it be grand if there were universal specifications on houses that will allow people to easily identify characteristics of one house against another? Think of the energy guide on our appliances, or the nutrition information label on food products – I’ve attached a sample table to illustrate my point.

Description Comment
Type: Single family detached
Square footage: 1,300 sf.
Bed/Bath: 3 bed.; 2.5 bath.
Year built: 1975
Lead paint: yes If you eat things containing lead, you will become retarded or die a horrible death.
Termite damage: 5% Too much termite damage will cause the house to self-destruct.
Roof type: 25-year Shingles (installed 1995)
Roof leak: no
Roof integrity: 85%
Electrical standard: old (ungrounded)
Electrical condition: 80%
Plumbing: Septic tank.
Plumbing condition: 90%
A/C type: Split
A/C capacity/efficiency: 3.5 ton (seer 10)
A/C condition: 90%
Overall condition: 87%
Neighborhood rating: 75%
Liens: none
Title: clean
Owner: John/Jane Smith or ABC Bank
Price: $150,000 Delivery within 5 days of payment/contract.

There are software and databases available to real estate professionals that provide different combination of the information listed above. What I’m visualizing is not a comprehensive database containing every nuance of a house, but rather, a very small but relevant list of specifications or index that clarifies what concern consumers.  Regardless, the moral of the story is this: The entire real estate market is deeply flawed and corrupt. Short sales are not short, and the players/transactions are often not transparent. Sigh… this whole experience has made me extremely frustrated and angry. I’m going to chill out for a tad and revisit this issue once I’m more calm and composed. Until then, all the best.

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