Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 9/7/2009 [Archive]

Short Sales

Short Sales

By Martha Randolph Carr

Short sales are becoming the hot new way to invest in the housing market. A short sale occurs when a house is purchased for less than the outstanding mortgage. In many parts of the country there is an endless inventory of homes that fall into that category.

As we all know by now, the Great Recession was initially triggered by the housing crisis, which was built on balloon payments, no interest loans, special derivatives and loans to people who didn't even have a job.

The consequences have been numerous and reached into a lot more pockets in the form of bailouts and job losses than anyone every anticipated. It may be another generation before we put all of this behind us.

As expected, the homeowners who can are willing to ride out the storm till their homes approach the price they're paying for them.

However, job losses, balloon payments and a mountain of credit card debt has made the wait impossible for some and foreclosure signs have sprung up like so many dandelions. Each sign translates to a loss of volunteers, taxpayers, kids in school, voters and neighbors who have become good friends.

For the banks the flood of foreclosures has meant bundling the houses together as an investment and receiving on average only thirty cents on the dollar. No one is really winning in this market, but that may be changing.

It's been proven more than once in this country that in every downturn in the economy lays a golden opportunity. For most of us mere mortals the trick can be identifying the opportunity and peeling away the rest.

All too often, the opportunity required taking advantage of someone else's misfortune, greed or addictions. Prohibition was a great example of all three.

There are moments, though when it's possible to help someone face the reality of their situation, find a little closure and walk away with a bruised credit report instead of one that's torn to shreds. That requires an acceptance that the house needs to be sold and then some educated bargaining with the bank and a seller with some cash. That combination might be tough to find. Enter Jeff Kaller,, and his declaration to make foreclosures a thing of the past by teaching others the ins and outs of short sales, while using his money to purchase the homes.

'My goal is to eradicate foreclosures. It's real simple. If we train 250,000 people to do just five deals,' says Jeff, then in a handful of years all of the looming foreclosures will be off the books with the banks receiving more money than expected with no more government bailouts.

While there's still a sting from walking away from a home, which is not to be dismissed as small, it's still a better solution than what's been offered at the moment.

'This gives people back their dignity,' says Jeff. 'Short sales are a natural part of the economy,' and make bank seizures unnecessary. As expected, the most difficult part of putting together successful short sales is negotiating with the banks and working through all of the paperwork. Jeff has put it out there that he's willing to work with anyone who's looking to either get out from under their house or who wishes to learn how to do what he's doing.

He's a man on a mission who's not asking for anyone to put up their own money, which is refreshing, and has a series of webinars that anyone can check out for themselves. So, there you go, America. An interesting idea is on the table. If you decide to check it out, write to me and let me know how it's changing your life. More adventures to follow.

Martha Randolph Carr is the author of the memoir, A Place to Call Home.. Martha can be found on Twitter at MarthaRandolph or email at or visit

© 2009 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email

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