Are you searching for homes online? I challenge you to test your abilities to sniff out the short sales by viewing the pictures alone without reading the comments. It has typically been quite easy to tell which homes are bank owned because the lawns are brown and dead with occasional fixtures missing inside (say a stove or chandelier). But… During a routine search today I did see one bank home in Meridian that had been stripped of everything – the only thing remaining was the carpet pad – yes you heard me right they even took the carpet on the way out the door. There was a hole in the wall where once there was a fireplace insert, the kitchen was picked clean leaving only the carcass. I luckily see very few cases this bad and when I do I truly hope the bank tracks them down and receives retribution. I also hope these irresponsible ‘previous home owners’ are never allowed to own a home again.
Back to the original thought on sniffing out short sales solely by looking at the pictures. I will readily admit this is a bit of profiling. I’m not proud of it but I truly challenge anyone that believes they don’t do it to step forward. sure we don’t want to admit we do but we do. A hundred times a day we make snap decisions, for those in doubt read Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “Blink” we cannot help but make judgment calls, it’s like breathing.
I was about half way through a search of ordinary, average family homes in Meridian and I came across a house that caught my attention, not because there was anything special about the home as it was not memorable but it was instead the contents that struck me. In this ordinary suburban home there was an extraordinary number of huge flat screen TV’s and a plethora of other electronic equipment. There was even an enormous TV (almost theater room size) in what was obviously a kids room. As picture after picture rolled by the thought popped into my head that this must be a short sale. Maybe it’s really not fair to assume that someone in a modest house with too many TV might not spend their money wisely, perhaps this is just an unfair judgment on my part but the thought did cross my so I checked…bingo, a short sale.
A few houses later I came across another house that raised my suspicions. This home was conspicuous because of the sheer amount of stuff; every nook and cranny was decorated with ‘stuff’ probably ordered right off the Home Shopping Network. If I had been the listing agent I would have asked my seller to pre-pack 3/4 of the crap as buyers will look at the stuff not the house. This home raised the red short sale flag not only because of being crammed with purchases but because many selling a home as a short sale just don’t care enough to get their homes in order and do what is needed to sell.
Human nature is interesting to observe, judge not but rather see just how observant you can be.