On the Plus Side, There’s a Lot Less Prep
Once upon a time, listing presentations — essentially, a job interview for Realtors — took about an hour, and covered such things as the Realtor’s track record, credentials, marketing strategy, references, recent housing market activity, etc.
After exchanging social pleasantries and taking a quick house tour, the Realtor dispenses with all that, and instead asks the prospective Seller (as delicately as they can), “So, how much do you owe on your home?”
If the amount is more than fair market value, the homeowner is officially underwater.
Then — assuming the homeowner wants to proceed — the Realtor has to decide if they want to tackle a short sale, or refer it to a colleague who specializes in them.
In fact, most Realtors will have an educated guess about whether any given property is a short sale before they drive up to the home — assuming they’ve pulled the property’s MLS history.
If the owner purchased roughly between 2004 and 2008, the odds go up considerably.
But it’s no longer the case that someone who purchased their home decades ago automatically has a ton of equity.
Thanks to cash out refinancings, home equity lines of credit, etc., many long-time owners have just as much debt against their property as recent home buyers.
P.S.: In my experience, a lot more cash out refinancings went to pay for medical bills, grandkids’ education, etc. than toys and frills.