What does a Short Sale Negotiator do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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A short sale negotiator works with a bank in a short sale transaction, where the goal is to sell a home for less than the value of the mortgage to prevent a foreclosure. Depending on the situation, it is possible to still owe the bank money after the sale goes through. People should discuss this possibility with their real estate agents and attorneys to make sure they understand what will happen after the short sale. The short sale negotiator's job is to facilitate the process to the satisfaction of sellers, buyers, and banks.

In a short sale, a person with an outstanding mortgage requests special permission to sell the home for less than the outstanding value of the mortgage, usually because the property value has fallen dramatically. Homeowners in this position may have a variety of reasons for wanting a short sale. Banks are often reluctant to agree because they would like to recover the full amount of the loan. They may choose to push through with foreclosure proceedings to see if they can sell the home at auction and recover the funds or sell it on their own after taking possession.


The short sale negotiator acts as a point of contact for the bank, the buyer, the seller, and other parties involved in the transaction, like real estate agents. These real estate professionals are familiar with the short sale process and they know all the tricks and loopholes to exploit, ranging from challenging the assessed value of the home to force the bank to accept less, to knowing who to call when it comes to locating “lost” paperwork.

This work requires patience, stubbornness, and diligence. Short sales can take months and often fall through as people deal with issues like banks refusing to back down on how much they think the home is worth, misfiled and lost paperwork, and problems for homeowners who may be about to enter foreclosure because they cannot keep up with payments. The short sale negotiator spends a lot of time on the phone discussing aspects of the deal and may also need to meet with people in person. Fast action is also necessary, as a bank may be sluggish for weeks and then abruptly issue a document requiring an immediate response.

Licensure requirements for this type of work vary. In some locations, the short sale negotiator must be a licensed real estate agent. In others, the law may be more flexible. People considering employment in this field can look up the requirements with the government agency in charge of monitoring people who work in the real estate industry.


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