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real estate

With Goals in Mind, Broker Excels

Magaret Harrington , a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate who works throughout Westchester and Putnam Counties from her office in Somers, N.Y., is the type of woman who likes to have a goal. And her current goal is to help communities save their neighborhoods by ensuring that houses sell instead of sitting empty for months.

Margaret is a short sale specialist, which means she helps people sell their homes when they owe more on their mortgage than the house is worth. She became a short sales specialist five years ago after running into Carolyn Russo , at Trader Joe's . Carolyn, a friend and former client of Margaret's, is a specialist in loss mitigation. She'd noticed a sharp increase in people from all economic backgrounds who were in financial trouble. They all needed to sell their homes. "We started talking about what we could do to help these families," Margaret says.

Margaret says the current economy has forced a lot of good families into financial difficulties through no fault of their own. Her team supports clients in negotiations with the mortgage company and helps set them on the path to financial recovery. A short sale is preferable to a foreclosure, she says, as the long-term financial impact is less damaging. Homeowners often qualify to purchase a home again in two years.

While foreclosures have a negative financial impact on a neighborhood, Margaret believes that short sales help maintain values in the community. Short sale owners can stay in their home and maintain it until it sells. And new buyers are attracted to homes they can purchase at a discount. Sellers often end up renting in the same neighborhood so that their kids can stay in the same school district. "A community where the homes are occupied stays strong," she says.

It was another goal altogether that led Margaret into real estate. "I had to make money," she says, laughing. With two severely dyslexic sons in private schools, Margaret's catering company wasn't making enough to pay the school fees. She set a goal that she had to achieve. "I excelled in real estate because I had to," she says. "I often thank my kids for their problem!"

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