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Real Estate

Coldwell Banker offers solutions for market challenges

Special Sections correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM

A few years ago, you'd have been hard pressed to find many people who knew what the term short sale meant. But today, buying a home through a short sale seems somewhat commonplace, simply another type of real estate transaction for homebuyers to choose.

This increased awareness of short sales is because they have become more prevalent in the past few years. In fact, a recent report by RealtyTrac showed short sales now represent nearly one-third of all residential sales in the country. Locally, those numbers are likely to be even higher, said Cathleen F. Smith, regional senior vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Tampa Bay.

"So far in 2010, short sales represent 25.7 percent of all active listing inventory, 59.2 percent of all sales pending and 21.5 percent of all closed deals in the Tampa Bay area," Smith said.

According to Smith, those skyrocketing numbers helped drive Coldwell Banker's affiliate, Sunbelt Title Agency, to start a new service for Coldwell Banker customers who are trying to sell their homes through a short sale. The program, called Short Trac, was first offered as a pilot program for Coldwell Banker customers in the Tampa Bay area. Due to its success it is now being offered throughout Florida. Short Trac's main aim is to help coordinate and facilitate communications between the lender, seller, Coldwell Banker listing associate and Sunbelt Title throughout the short sale process, through lender approval and closing.

"Basically, it's a program that makes it easier for sellers to navigate through what has proven to be a very time consuming, and unfortunately frustrating, process. We believe Short Trac streamlines the process and will lead to more lender approvals in less time," Smith said. "This benefits everyone involved, especially the seller who may be faced with the reality that this is the only way they can sell their home and potentially avoid foreclosure."

Short Trac is designed to be a "turn-key" program that is administered through the newly created Sunbelt Short Sale Assistance Center, where a team of dedicated professionals handle all aspects of the program from start to finish. Coldwell Banker associates have been trained to understand all aspects of the Short Trac program and will review it with the seller at the time of listing.

All forms and lender required documents have been prepared and assembled in easily understandable terms and are provided to the seller at the time of listing. The service is paid by the buyer at closing.

Short Trac is one of several programs available to Coldwell Banker customers to help them buy or sell their homes. Most recently, Coldwell Banker reported strong sales through its Previews International Property program, an exclusive program for buyers and sellers of multimillion dollar homes. Previews International specializes exclusively in marketing luxury properties both nationally and internationally.

Sales of $1 million-plus properties are on the rise, Smith said, with condo sales in this segment compared to last year up 220 percent, and those under contract also up 175 percent.

"Coldwell Banker Previews International is one of the only real estate marketing programs to go beyond the reach of the local real estate market and specialize exclusively in marketing luxury properties to a national and international audience," Smith said. "Today, we are widely considered to be one of the world's consummate marketing programs for successfully promoting luxury properties to a local, national and international marketplace."

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate (FloridaMoves.com) is the largest residential real estate brokerage company in Florida, serving the areas of Central Florida, Palm Beach, Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay. Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is part of NRT LLC, the nation's largest residential real estate brokerage company. NRT, a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, operates Realogy's company-owned real estate brokerage offices.

The Tampa Bay area offices of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate include Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. There are 88 offices and nearly 5,000 sales associates throughout Florida who closed more than $8.5 billion in sales volume in 2008 for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Worldwide, there are more than 100,000 Coldwell Banker sales associates.

For more information about Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate and the Previews International program, visit FloridaMoves.com or call 1-800-624-5292.

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