The Short Sale Saga Concludes With a Whimper

avatarthumbnail.jpgHere was the idea as I saw it last December … having taken a short sale listing and received an offer in short order, I thought I would write about the process as it happened to serve as a learning experience for those doing the same.

What wasn’t apparent at the time is the vast majority of my time would be spent calling Bank of America (nee Countrywide) only to be told that the negotiatior had not updated the file. What also wasn’t apparent is B of A would be more than happy to let two qualified buyers walk away rather than take the steps necessary to make a decision on a short sale.

Should I be surprised? Not really. I’m not the only agent who has run into such fun with B of A, which apparently adopted the worst of Countrywide’s practices. Russell Shaw even wrote about the situation on Agent Genius last week. (What did surprise me was the call I received from another client who elected to go the Deed-in-Lieu route with B of A and finally got it accepted after more than a year of trying.)

Short sales and distressed properties have turned into a cottage industry, with agents shelling out hundreds of dollars to learn how to be ignored by the bank. Because, at the end of the day, it matters less whether you’ve added to your alphabet soup collection at the end of your name than whether you’ve provided every piece of documentation that a lender is asking for … and they still ignore the file.

On my voicemail immediately ahead of the message letting me know this second buyer had bought another house (even more painful since I had a buyer interested in the house purchased) was a message from an agent who had received an order to complete a BPO on my listing – a Broker Price Opinion. This BPO helps the lender determine the value of the home.

The first time through, it took three months to get B of A to order the BPO. This time was much better – there only was a seven week lag between resubmission of the 2nd offer and the BPO order. Of course, the file had been on the same negotiator’s desk since the second week of April, but that doesn’t matter in the world of B of A.

Just as it didn’t matter when they mislabeled the file when it originally was sent and didn’t realize it, even as I followed up, for a full month.

Having said all this …

More short sales are closing now than in the past. Attempting a short sale can be a viable option for someone with nothing left to lose whose trying to avoid a foreclosure.

But be warned … if someone tells you the process is simple, is quick, is painless, or is efficient, they’re trying to sell you something. Short sales are none of the above. And if you’re dealing with a lender like Bank of America, where there isn’t the slightest sense of urgency surrounding a file, the road ahead is going to be harder than you ever imagined.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


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