By Julie Escobar
It’s funny, when I started this series on short sales – the phrase Hippocratic Oath kept popping into my head – and then when I sat down to interview an old friend and extraordinary short sale expert Len Giarrano – it was one of the first things that he said. Don’t you just love it when things come together? For real estate professionals, especially those diving into the sometimes murky waters of short sales and foreclosures – taking the “first, do no harm” approach to business and clients is a top priority.
So when the topic came up, I took my questions to a man I’ve known and trusted in this business for more than 20 years. When it comes to integrity and character – -this guy and his incredible partner, Sandra Maslen have it in spades. So who better to ask?
Here’s an excerpt from our interview…
Q: Hey Len! Always happy to connect with you! I’m excited to hear about your new partnership with Ms. Maslen here (Hi Sandra!) and what you two have been up to in terms of helping distressed homeowners once again find peace of mind. First, why don’t you guys tell us a little about yourselves?
Len: Hi Julie, I’m always happy to connect with you as well and this topic really is something we’re passionate about. For me, the American dream of home ownership sparked my real estate career 25 years ago! I wanted to take some of the complexities that families were finding out of buying a home. Then and now, I first seek to understand what each family needs and then find a way to create a solid course to help them reach that goal. Helping households through the process of short sale is good business & makes customers for life.
Sandra: My background is actually in mortgage banking and real estate – and I think that’s really been wonderful experience to draw from when working with lenders on our client’s behalf. Lenders and banks have a definite way of doing business – and while many agents get frustrated because banks want their deals done “in their way” – I can see the situation from the other side and do everything necessary to ensure that when our files hit the lender’s desk – they’re exactly what they’re looking for to expedite the process.
Q: What’s important for distressed homeowners to know SOONER rather than later in today’s economy?
Len & Sandra: Well, one of the first things that people should know is that the banks don’t want your home back. They want a vibrant economy and household like yours on your feet again – that’s profits everyone. They would much rather work with you to resolve the situation. They can recover assets – but it’s tough once it gets to the point of vacant, destroyed homes and neighborhoods.
So in terms of what they should do SOONER, first –don’t try to go it alone. Find an agent or team with the CDPE designation and get a good, solid, accurate assessment of your situation so you know what your options are. The CDPE training is so comprehensive and robust that it gives agents all the tools they need to first – as we said early – DO NO HARM – and secondly, provide the tools and the systems needed to help those homeowners once again find peace of mind.
Secondly, don’t wait until you’re down to your last dime and financially devastated to take action. For many of the homeowners we work with – there is such a sense of guilt and shame about their situation – so much so that people are too afraid or embarrassed to seek help. They’re so overwhelmed and feel like they have to exhaust every penny they have to try to dig themselves out of a bad situation. Our job is to make sure that each situation is diagnosed on its own merit for its own set of circumstances and to really advocate for those homeowners and provide them with choices that in most cases – they didn’t even know they had.
Q: How are you reaching out to distressed homeowners and letting them know that there are options available to them?