Banks getting the short sale message finally!

by Rodney Forbes on May 22, 2009


The following excerpt from an article in the Press-Enterprise is welcome news for people who have been trying to facilitate short sale transactions. Whether it’s the buy, seller or Realtors involved, short sales have a bad reputation when it comes to getting the sale complete.

I guess the banks are finally stating to realize short sales are not going away any time soon so they might as well deal with them as best they can. An expedited process is good for everyone.

A short sale has an advantage over foreclosure for the homeowner because it is less embarrassing and does less damage to his or her credit. And for the lender, it is less costly than having to repossess, market and maintain a vacant property.

Also, keeping a house occupied can help preserve a neighborhood.

However, because of the complexity of such transactions — including the need for approval of a sales price by lenders, investors and mortgage insurers — the sales often fall apart. Real estate agents complain that by the time they get an answer from the bank on an offer, the potential buyer has lost interest.

At Bank of America, the nation’s largest mortgage servicer, more than 60 percent of approved short sales do not close, which is why the bank wants to streamline the process, said BofA Senior Vice President David Sunlin by telephone Thursday.

Sunlin, who manages short sales for the bank, said the bank’s first goal still is to negotiate a mortgage modification that will let a borrower keep his home. But he said during those negotiations the bank can simultaneously obtain the documentation needed to qualify the borrower for a short sale if the modification doesn’t work.

In the past, Sunlin said, the bank did not begin the lengthy process of qualifying a borrower for a short sale until it had received a purchase offer.

To expedite short sales, Bank of America has enlarged and updated staff training and set up a phone line dedicated to short sales that borrowers and their agents can use.

Also, Sunlin said, in 60 to 90 days the bank will roll out a Web program it will use to find and track the short sales of houses with mortgages that it services. He said the Web portal also will accept qualifying documentation from clients wishing to do short sales.

Sunlin said it typically takes 45 to 60 days for the bank to tell a client if a short sale offer can be accepted, and up to 90 days if an investor must approve it. The goal, he said, is to shorten the wait to a week.

“By doing this, we should see more private sales instead of more sales of bank-owned (houses),” he said.

Sunlin said short sales will also benefit from an amendment to President Barack Obama’s Making Home Affordable program announced last week that will standardize short sale application and acceptance forms. It also provides monetary incentives to servicers and helps cover relocation expense for homeowners.

Source: The Press-Enterprise

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Palm Beach County area, specifically Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach, please visit my Forbes Realty website. For frequently updated information on foreclosures, short sales, real estate news and market conditions visit my South Florida Real Estate Report blog. There are many free reports as well as free access to MLS listed properties. You can also call 561-337-4810.


Rodney Forbes is a licensed Realtor®, certified short sale/REO specialist and broker for Forbes Realty of South Florida Inc.

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