Bank of America formerly Countrywide short sale process streamlined?

Update: Bank of America Positive Changes to Their Short Sale Program

Countrywide was one of the largest home loan providers in the United States, as a result they have been overwhelmed with a staggering number of foreclosures and short sales. During the last twelve months they have received a large amount of bad press and has earned a bad reputation for taking an excessively long time to process a short sale. In some cases Countrywide has taken as long as 8 to 9 months to approve a short sale. In the process the seller get discouraged, buyers walk from the transaction and Realtors lose faith in a system that seems fundamentally broken. Bank of America’s purchase of Countrywide appears to have only exacerbated the problem.

In recent months we have seen and heard of talks about a streamlined short sale process and incentives being put in place by the Obama Administration under the Making Home Affordable Program. This program is targeting to prevent homeowners from foreclosure with alternative options including mortgage modifications, short sales and deed of lieu of foreclosures. You can read more about the program here.

We have yet to experience any tangible changes to Bank of America’s short sale process however, this letter to one of our customers is a sign that they are acknowledging and trying to define a standardized short sale process. In this letter Bank of America is expecting the short sale process to take 30-40 days to complete. If the loan was sold to an investor it will take an additional 20 days to process. This would make the entire process from start to finish 60 days. Our experience with dozens of  Bank of America – Countrywide short sales has been anywhere from 3 months to 6 months.

If we could get close to a 30-40 day turn around on short sales with Bank of America it would be almost magical and welcome any changes to improve the process. Click here to view the letter from Bank of America.


  1. says

    Although this is all great to see Bank of America being pro-active with short sales, we have recently been experiencing deliberate delays with their short sale process.

    I actively participate in a distressed property and short sale expert group and many are seeing the same deliberate delays from Bank of America. We hope this is just a temporary issue and we are working hard to quickly alleviate this issue. The issue has been brought to the highest levels within Bank of America management and many letters have been written to the CEO. Stay tuned for more information.

  2. says

    My experience with Countrywide now B of A has been horrendous…the home I have has been on the market for over 18 months with 6 offers left in the dust as they all could not wait for the outcome. The property has received its final offer and now B of A a 10% loss make up from the seller a $30,000 note .. the bad part is they don;t tell you that if the seller agrees the note remains on his credit until paid and will show up as a deficency judgement making his credit worse. The seller is better off with a foreclosure. It is impossible to work with B of A on a short sale … prepare your clients for a foreclosure.

    • says

      Hi Joan – Many thanks for posting and I feel your pain. Many of the banks have become completely overwhelmed and there are a lot of horror stories with short sales. My team uses a full time short sale negotiator, The Short Sale Gurus, and we have successfully negotiated several dozen Countrywide / Bank of America short sales. I would not say they were easy, but we were able to get them successfully closed and the homeowners avoided foreclosure. We follow a very specific methodology and process and it requires a significant amount of patience to make the transaction a success. The $30,000 un-secured note is common practice with some banks. There are many ways to negotiate this debt down after the short sale has been completed.

      The Short Sale Gurus work with a number of Brokers throughout Florida and we have expanded out west in California. Please feel free to call me if you need any input or strategies on getting that Bank of America deal closed. We also work with a national network of Distressed Property Experts and can point you to some experts in the Las Vegas Area.

      – Craig Baranowski

  3. Terrin says

    I was working with some clients on a short sale. After 8 months BOA approved the sale with 0 due on any promissory note. That seemed irrelevant though, as BOA reserved the right to sue for any deficiency balance after the sale closed. If BOA does that, or sells the debt to a collection agency that does that, the Debtor would be better to just let the property go into foreclosure. THe end result either way will be bankruptcy, but with foreclosure the seller can live in the house in many states for up to a year rent free.

  4. says


    Thank you for posting. I would highly recommend you get your customer in touch with an attorney experienced in foreclosure laws. I leverage attorneys and a full time short sale negotiator on all of my short sale transactions to make sure all of these little details are addressed up front so there are no surprises. In some cases foreclosure and bankruptcy is the only option but that is the decision of the seller and their attorney.

  5. BabDavies says

    A question, out of curiosity: I found a short sale property recently and, under advice of my agent, made an offer of 5K over the asking price. It was one of more than 4 offers on this (a Bank of Amer.) property. Was told a week later that it was the only offer that will be sent to the sellers as the others were much lower (some over 25K under ask). My question is, is this the beginning of a long, slow climb, or a sign that B of A is interested in expediting this sale? I have heard horror stories of these sales taking upwards of 7 months, so I was surprised to hear back within a week. Is this normal?

    • says

      Excellent question. Let me start with some general comments. Almost all of the short sales listed and priced in the MLS system are NOT approved by the Banks. Realtors are responsible to price a short sale just at or below current market value. If they price it too low they risk the bank rejecting the offer. Pricing too low also sets false expectations that the price has been approved or will be accepted by the bank. Every property we sell we goes through a rigorous market analysis of our properties and make sure the price points fall within the banks loss severity ratios and within a specific range of comparables. For example, we had a condo that had a first and second that amounted to $389,000. There were two condos that foreclosed for $99,000. We had the short sale approved for $95,000 with all debt forgiven. We listed the property in the low $100K range.

      Bank of America has 7,400 home retention specialists handling over 80,000 calls a day. Each negotiator has 500 files they are handling. With that in mind. B of A has a very structured short sale process. The best way to speed up the process is to make sure the realtor selling the property is proficient with handling short sales and submits and delivers a complete, accurate and correctly priced offer and short sale package. In addition, the buyer must be qualified and submit a strong offer to the bank…an offer that they can execute on immediately after the bank approves the short sale.

      We have had Bank of America short sales be approved in 8 weeks….we have had some approved in 16 weeks. It varies on their case load and their financials on how many short sales, foreclosures and mortgage modifications they approve. Most likely your offer was selected to be presented to B of A by the selling agent of the property. If B of A had already rejected some offers on this property and a level 2 negotiator has already been assigned…then your offer could quickly jump into the process mid-stream and get a very quick response. If no offers have been submitted yet and yours is the first to be presented then it most likely take about 3 months to get approved.

      Questions to have your realtor ask the selling agent of the property:
      1. Has your offer been submitted to Bank of America
      2. Has your offer been recieved and entered into Bank of America’s system (typically takes 10 working days)
      3. Has a level 1 negotiator been assigned?
      4. Has a BPO or appraisal request been made by B of A? If yes, on what day? Has it been entered into the system?
      5. Has a level 2 negotiator been assigned?
      6. Has the level 2 negotiator presented the offer to the investors that own the loan?
      7. If there is a second mortgage has the pay off for the second mortgage been negotiated? (B of A typically pays $3,000 of the pay off. Pay off is typically 10% of note and the buyer is required to pay the rest. We structure all of our offers to accommodate the second mortgage)

      Once you get these answers you can assess how far you are in the process.

      I hope this helps clarify the process for you. Feel free to call me if you have any questions. Thanks!!

  6. randall says

    Great site. One of the best and most informative I’ve seen on BOA.

    I have been waiting on a short sale for about 3 months (as a buyer). The seller has just been notified by BOA that a “negotiator” has been assigned and that there are 3 levels of review from this point forward. What are thse different levels ? In terms of my facts, there is no second mortgage; and BOA has already done the interior appraisals (2 of them). What should I expect ? Can you explain the process from here and give me any ideas re timeframe ? Also, I read in your letter that BOA sometimes or always wants to close w/in 10 bus days. That seems incredibly short to get in inspections etc.

    Thank you for your valuable time.

    • says


      Bank of America has a pretty uniform process and sometimes the short sale gets lost in the system if you are not constantly working the process. Once an offer is entered in the system a triage is performed. During triage they review the offer to make sure it falls within their guidelines and all the documentation is complete…including seller financials, tax returns, hardship letter and etc. If the offer is too low it is rejected. Once it goes through triage they order an appraisal and then it is assigned to a level one negotiator. Once it goes through the level one negotiator it is assigned to a level 2 negotiator who reviews the file, approves or rejects the offer, requests updated financials from the seller. Once the level 2 approves the offer they submit it to the investor for review and they either approve or reject the offer. Your three levels of review are most likely the level 1, level 2 and investor, level 3 negotiator finalizes the file and performs the lien release.

      Once approved by the lenders and the closing documents are submitted by the lender, they will want the short sale to close very quickly. It is preferable to have the buyer do all of their due diligence on the property before the offer is submitted to the lender including having all financing contingencies waived. The lender wants a strong offer and to have conviction that if they put forth the effort to have the short sale approved that the buyer is willing and able to immediately close on the property.

      I have a full time short sale negotiator handle every one of my short sales. Each lender has their own process and guidelines and having a dedicated negotiator has enabled me to have almost every one of my short sales close successfully. It also enables me to focus on what I do best which is market and sell real estate.

      I hope this helps.

      It sometimes is a slow process, but Bank of America typically will approve the short sale assuming the offer is a reasonable and fair offer as compared to it current market value.

  7. Jackson says

    Mr. Baranowski,

    First, let me say how informative this site has been for me, and how thankful I am that you have taken the time to put so much effort into it. I am in a similar position as some of your other posters. My wife and I are first-time home buyers, and have just submitted an offer on a BOA short sale. I think I understand the process of approval, as you have thoroughly described it in your previous posts. However, I do have a few more questions concerning the process.

    1. We are currently approved (actual approval, not just a pre-approval letter from the bank) for an FHA loan through our lender. Does an FHA loan make a difference in the decision making process of the bank?

    2. Our offer has been signed by the seller and submitted to BOA. We were the 2nd offer submitted, but came in just above asking price (unfortunately, our ceiling) and are currently the highest bidder. The property has been on the market for several months, and the previous offer was submitted several weeks ago as far we know. As the buyer, is there anything we can do on our end to expedite the bank? In your prior posts, you discussed the seller’s agent being burdened with speeding up the process, but what can we do if the seller’s agent doesn’t really know what they’re doing?

    3. Should we get an inspection done on the property prior to hearing anything from BOA? We would be more than happy to close within 10 days after hearing from the bank, but don’t want to get caught unprepared either.

    4. Will the process be speeded up due to the fact that a prior offer was submitted? If so, how can we find out where in the approval chain the other offer was, and if a BPO or anything else has been done on the property yet?
    Thank you again for taking the time to keep this blog up. The information here is really great for someone new to not only short sales, but home buying in general.


    North Central Florida

    • says


      Many thanks for your post. You have some great questions. Please keep in mind that this is for informational purposes only and you should contact your licensed Realtor for advise.

      1. Does an FHA loan make a difference on the Bank of America Decision process? As long as you are qualified and the approval letter is submitted with your offer there is no difference with the type of loan you have. However, an FHA loan does have some guidelines as to what the seller and buyer will pay for closing costs. In this case Bank of America will have some additional closing costs that they will have to pay. These closing costs should be given to the Title Company by your lender to be submitted on the final HUD. This step typically is after the short sale is preliminarily approved by Bank of America and when they ask for a last and final HUD. They are typically a few hundred dollars and have minimal impact on the short sale negotiation.

      2. How can we speed up the process if the selling agent does not know what they are doing? This is a tough one. The seller has to give authorization for people to speak with their lender on their behalf. The person doing the negotiation is handling very sensitive financial documents include tax returns, social security numbers, bank statements and etc. Due to this I have a short sale negotiator handle all of my negotiations. It is a neutral third party that works with both the buyer and seller to expedite the process and get a win win deal for everyone. In many cases we have buyer’s hire my negotiator to handle the transaction. He has negotiated deals all over Florida and other states. In this case the selling agent and seller is very happy to have a skilled professional handle the negotiation. In your specific situation where the selling agent is inexperienced in short sales, it is best to have your agent work with the selling agent and see if there is anyone that can mentor them through the process. The biggest risk in having an inexperienced negotiator is if they miss something that will cause significant delays and potentially more money for you to contribute at closing.

      3. Should we get an inspection done on the property prior to approval from Bank of America? In most cases it is best to do the inspection to make sure there are no major issues with the home. You would want to know if there are any deal breakers for you before you waste your time on a short sale and home that you do not want to buy.

      4. Will the process speed up due to the fact that a prior offer was submitted? How do we find out where the offer is in the approval process? It all depends upon where in the process you are. If an offer was reject at the phase 2 negotiator and they say “we need $215K for approval” and your offer is now $215K you are in good position. We only submit one offer at a time as it is very difficult to intercept the first offer mid-stream and give a new one without significant affecting the process. Have your Realtor call the selling agent for an update and an estimate as to where in the process they think they may be.

      Thanks Craig Baranowski

  8. lisa windross says

    Iam in the process of purchasing a short sale, origanally countrywide held the mortgae now its bank of america its been 75 days since i’ d submitted my contract and the owner agreed upon the offer however with the 75th day myself or realitor haven’t received a response from the bank. Also the title company have my deposit in which I was told to submit a month ago. My question is should I contact the title company for information or since bank of american is handling the account, does the 90 period begans all over again. Also what is the difference if a short sale is bank owned or the owner currently owns propert?
    Sorry for any missed spell work, question is typed from phone

    Thank you

    • says


      Good questions. First Countrywide was purchased by Bank of America. There will be no change in your short sale process time. The only change was the name of the bank. Please have your Realtor find out who is negotiating the short sale. Some title companies will do this as a service, however this is NOT their job and they do not have any authority to negotiate a short sale unless the seller has given them authorization to do so. It is critical to have a single person negotiating the short sale and controlling the process. Typically it is the selling agent or the seller. Search my previous posts under this topic and you will find a list of questions to ask that will help you assess where your offer is in the Bank of America short sale process.

      Thank you. Craig Baranowski

  9. Ponderosa says

    What are the chances and timing of getting this scenario approved by BofA? We made a full cash offer on a house. The offer was approximately 70% of the loan value in 2006. The market value has dropped since the house was purchased at the peak of the market and needs some significant repairs (which we communicated to the bank). The price per square foot we offered with the repairs is comparable with other houses in the area. We asked for a closing date of 5 days within approval by the bank, contingent upon a home inspection. We just want to confirm the house is not going to fall down if we buy it. The owners are over 6 months behind on their mortgage and have moved out. The sellers are using an experienced short sale agent and say they have been in constant communication with the bank. Just curious on what we should expect regarding the timing and if we even have a chance of getting this property.

  10. Ponderosa says

    What are the chances and timing of getting this scenario approved by BofA? We made a full cash offer on a house. The offer was approximately 70% of the loan value in 2006. The market value has dropped since the house was purchased at the peak of the market and needs some significant repairs (which we communicated to the bank). The price per square foot we offered with the repairs is comparable with other houses in the area. We asked for a closing date of 5 days within approval by the bank, contingent upon a home inspection. We just want to confirm the house is not going to fall down if we buy it. The owners are over 6 months behind on their mortgage and have moved out. The selling agent has experience with short sales and the owners say they have been in constant communication with the bank. Just curious what we should expect on timing and if this has a chance on being approved.

    • says


      This is a great and very common question. As long as your offer is a “Reasonable offer”. An offer of 90% of comparable distressed sales in the area is typically a good benchmark and you should have no issues with your offer being approved. We have a very specific methodology we do with repair reports, market analysis and structured offers with every short sale we work on. Every short sale is different and they need to be analyzed and assessed with the applicable strategy based upon who the bank is, the sellers financial situation and the number of mortgages and liens on the property.

      Please read some of my previous posts that describe the questions to ask the selling agent negotiating the short sale. These questions will help determine where you are in the process. Our Countrywide / Bank of America transaction time-lines are all over the board. Some we get done in 6-8 weeks and other fall into Never Never Land. It all depends upon how competent the negotiators are at Bank of America. Some are very good and efficient and others are not so good.

      Good luck and let me know how it turns out!!

  11. Dearick says

    Hi All,

    I just want to ask a question:

    I have two (1st and 2nd) mortgages with Bank of America, and about a month ago we submitted the paperwork for a short sale. We received confirmation from BoA and was informed that we would be assigned a negotiator shortly and to expect 2 BPOs, one for each mortgage. We had one BPO last week and waited for the second one. Well today, we received a letter from another bank informing us that they would be servicing our 2nd mortgage effective in less than a week. Of course this would mean additional paperwork and asking that other bank approve the shortsale too. I called BoA and asked the rep if this was a mistake and she said no, but had never experienced this in the past.

    I know that legalities are different from ethical concerns, but can BoA jsut sell the loan in a middle of a short sale pending? Let me know what you think.


    • says

      This is a great question and very common for Bank of America to sell their second mortgages. We just had this happen on a short sale we were negotiating. We had the second assigned to Lighthouse Mortgage. They settled on 10% of the note which is standard practice. Bank of America will pay a maximum of $3,000 towards the second mortgage payoff. The rest of the second mortgage payoff will need to be covered to get the lien release. Typically, the buyer will cover it. Which brings up a whole different issue of structuring short sale offers to cover second mortgages…but that is a very lengthy discussion.

  12. mary says

    My husband and I recently put in an offer on a short sale with BoA. The owner states he only has one loan on the property, and we were told that our offer was a back up offer. Exactly how does that work? Would the bank have to deny the first offer first, then consider looking at ours? From what the owner says, the first offer was put in about 2 months ago, and the appraisal was just done a few weeks ago. Does that mean that the bank has accepted the first offer and we’re just wasting our time here with our offer? We know our offer is much higher than the first, per the owners. Owners also state they’ve already sent their most recent documents over to BoA. We’ve tried asking the listing agent, but she states that our offer went in with the HUD she ordered (also submitted with our offer the apprval from our Bank/Lender letter not pre-apprvl or pre-qualified letter). So what’s to happen from here on?

    Lost and confused First time home buyers,
    mary and larry

    • says

      Mary and Larry,

      Thank you for the post!

      This is a very common question about back up offers. Every state and listing agent handles back up offers differently. On all of my listings I will only submit one offer to the bank. It is too confusing to send multiple offers to a lender such as Bank of America that is already overburdened with too many short sale files to handle. Every offer we submit has a willing and able buyer to purchase the property at a price that we have 99% confidence that the lender will accept based upon our listing methodology and market analysis.

      Your question is difficult to answer with just one answer as there are multiple scenarios at play. First, it is important to know that once an offer is submitted to a lender the foreclosure process is put on “hold” while the short sale is negotiated. Thus, sometimes it is prudent to submit an offer just to hold up the foreclosure process. The listing agent will then find a better offer that they are more confident that the bank will accept. The biggest question that must be asked of the selling agent is “What offer is the bank reviewing”? The first offer could have already been kicked out or your new offer has been submitted in place of the original offer. This should all be logged into the lenders system. The lender will be working off a HUD that was submitted with the offer. The HUD has calculated the net proceeds the lender will receive from the transaction. If they are using your HUD, then you are in a good position. If they are using the original HUD then your offer could be in Never Never land.

      Do not get discouraged. If the original offer is truly low it will most likely get rejected and they will put your offer in the top position. Make sure your realtor is working for you and helping push the process along. Make them get regular updates from the selling agent. Have them ask detailed questions and get detailed answers. You need to know what is going on and where they are in the short sale process. You can not afford to wait months for a sale that will never happen.

      I would also have your agent review your contract in detail and see what your contract cancellation clauses are. It would be feasible to look at another property and potentially make an offer if it looks like this transaction is going no where.

  13. says

    This is a fantastically informative site and I’m sure it has helped dozens of both buyers and sellers going through this process. My question is about the formula they use to decide if the Buyer’s price is acceptable. First if I know the Seller owes $400K to BofA, I figured it was a safe bet to offer between 60% and 70% of what was owed. So after some negotiations with the Seller he accepted 250K. My concern is if I should have offered a higher amount to insure that BofA will accept it. Initially when I heard the term ‘Negotiator’ I figured if my offer were too low they would come back with a counter offer. Is that the case, or would they flat out reject it. Also do you think I’m in a pretty safe range or is there no ‘magic number’?

    • says

      Kolbrian –

      There is no magic number…but we can get very close to what we believe the magic number is. 12 to 18 moths ago we had to work with the 60% rule which is called a loss severity ratio. Typically lenders would accept up to a 40% loss. Once the real estate market crashed that rule was thrown in the trash. For example, we had a customer with $387K in balances owed to the lender. The condo sold for $95,000. We could sell it at this price because there were two foreclosures that were at $99K. This brings us to the NEW MAGIC number. The general rule that we have been working with is that as long as your offer is within 90% of appraised value, then the short sale is in very good position to be approved. Sometimes this number is difficult to get to if there have not been any distressed sales or foreclosures in that subdivision or area, but we have been 100% successful following these guidelines.

      I hope this helps and many thanks for posting!

      Craig Baranowski

  14. Ryan says


    Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I have a Countrywide short sale in the state of FL that has been pending for 6 months. The selling agent informed us this morning that we now have a “final phase” negotiator. I went to the county’s website to look at the public records on the property and noticed that Countrywide assigned the property to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST on 3/16/09 which was 20 days after my shortsale offer. On 3/20/09, there was a forclosure noticed filed. Does this happen in the middle of a short sale offer? There have been no further filings from DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY 3/20/2009. Is it possible that I could have problems getting an approval at this point? How long does a “final phase” negotiator take to complete their process?

    • says

      Ryan –

      Loans are sold all of the time. We just had Bank of America sell the second mortgage in the middle of a short sale negotiation. I really threw a wrench into the process as the 1st and 2nd mortgage were both with Bank of America and they would pay both off with a single sum. Once the 2nd mortgage was sold the maximum they would contribute to the payoff was $3,000…which is their standard policy. We had to go back to the buyer and ask if they were willing to contribute to the new short fall of funds that Bank of America was not covering. In your case, it is most likely that Deutshe Bank is the owner of the note and Countrywide now Bank of America is the service provider. There should not be any issues and should not impact your negotiation. If you have a “final phase” typically a phase 3 negotiator who has submitted the offer to the “investor” or in this case Deutshe Bank you should be in good position. They will not submit an offer that is unacceptable to an investor as they have guidelines of what an “acceptable” offer range is. The investor may ask for additional items such as a seller cash contribution or signing of a promissory note or negotiate on some closing costs…but the big part which is the sales price should be good.

  15. Ryan says


    How long can I expect phase 3 to take? I really wanted to try and get this closed by Nov 31 in order to get the tax credit. I would think this means that I need to be started with the inspection process no later than OCT 15. I am not sure if I will make it. What do you think I can expect?

  16. Scott says

    My BoA short sale story. Found a short sale in a very nice neighborhood where there are not alot of short sales. After looking at about 75 homes, this is “the” house that we wanted and we wrote a contract which was ultimately accepted by seller on Aug 3. We placed in time limits for submission of short sale package, bank approval and closing (90 days from contract). This home was built 4 years ago for $315, as were most of the houses in this section of the development. In the 2 weeks prior to our offer, house directly behind had sold for $265K and one 2 doors down sold for $256. No others in the area were pending and everything remaining north of this price point is languishing on the market, while everything at or below is moving. Our offer was not predicated on getting the lowest possible price but on getting bank approval in a timely manner.

    Just learned that appraisal was completed on September 3 and a level 1 negotiator has been assigned. Agent stated that BoA timelines on its website and in the letter linked to in this post are running a little longer. She stated to expect a level 2 negotiator within 10-14 business days from Sept 3.

    Will update as necessary.

  17. Stehanie says

    Hi Craig,

    Quick question we have been dealing with a short sale with Countrywide/Boa now for 6months. Its been in phase 2 for 32 days now, we got a call today that a second appraisal has to be ordered since the amount we offered on the home is more than the home is worth. They said it could take up to 7 days. Is this a good thing or can this just drag on for months?

    • says

      Stephanie –

      A second appraisal is normal since the process has been 6 months. This is a good sign that things are moving along. When you get to a phase 2 negotiator they are physically reviewing the file and making decisions on the short sale versus sitting in never never land for 6 months. They need current data to make a decision. The negotiator most likely has asked for updated financial statements, bank statements and pay stubs from the seller. You can have your agent inquire with the sellers agent/negotiator to see if this has occurred. IMPORTANT: It is critical that Bank of America has an updated HUD since the one they have on file is 6 months old. The title company MUST do a full title search and ensure they have identified ALL liens on the property. If there is a home owners association they need to get an Estoppel Letter and payoff and project payments out for at least another 60 days. If they have been delinquent on HOA dues there is most likely a lien and some legal fees owed. Bank of America will allocate costs and make decisions based upon the amounts shown in the HUD…a 6 month old HUD will not have these costs current. If tax assessments, past due HOA fees and Liens are not identified in the HUD those costs will not be review by Bank of America and negotiated as part of the short sale. Thus, they will have to be paid by someone. In most cases the seller has no cash so they will look to you as the buyer to pay these fees.

      Bank of America operates in a hurry up and wait methodology. So when they request information it is critical to get it to them in less than 24 hours or they move on to another file. Be patient, you are getting to the light at the end of the tunnel.

  18. Scott says

    Okay, sellers agent just called ours and advised that this is a Fannie Mae loan and that a second BPO is needed (Original appraisal was conducted last Thursday) and that FM would have to order it. A request to FM was made. Sellers agent advised that the lender has told her that FM shorts “take a lot longer.” She asked our agent to advise us that this will take “some time.”

    Bad feeling all along just got worse.

  19. Jay&D says

    First time home buyers.. We started trying to buy a short sale home in February. Since then, we have already jumped through many many hoops and have kept pushing back our plans.

    We thought we where just about done because we where told the short sale negotiater had approved our offer and just had to ‘submit it for his managers sign off’ before we would get a release of lien.
    We have been waiting over three weeks for the lien to be released! How long can the final sign-off take?? and IS it the final sign off? or is something else going to pop up that will add a few more months onto our wait???

    Our loan is locked in and will expire on the 2nd of next month.. We have waited so long for out house and Im so afraid it will all fall apart after 8 months of frustration!

    • says

      Jay & D,

      Hang in there. You are almost done! This is when most people give up waiting. It is like waiting in line for hours and just when you walk away they call your number. It is hard to determine a time line of “when” they will submit the release of lien.

      We just went through an agonizing process with a GMAC second mortgage. We had a very competent negotiator at GMAC and had done several deals with this negotiator with all of his responses with in a few days time. We then got a new GMAC negotiator and it took a very long time. A very very long time. We filed complaints, sent emails, escalations, faxes, we even had the owner call to complain and hound the negotiator daily. In this case it was a matter of the squeaky wheel getting the oil. We literally hounded the negotiator non-stop for 2 weeks before they finally gave in and did the lien release. Many times it can be something as simple as them needing a few pieces of data and then they put your file in the “to be looked at sometime in the future” pile. The best thing you can do is have your negotiator file a complaint with the lenders manager and have them call several times a day until it gets done. It is frustrating and the lien release literally takes less than 10 minutes to do if it has already been approved and reviewed. Here is a good example of how it should be done…we were working a short sale with Lighthouse 2nd Mortgage. The negotiator is very competent and we had a lien release in 1 hour of speaking with her on the phone. The buyer backed out and we had a new offer. The negotiator had a new lien release within 10 minutes of speaking with her. I wish they were all as diligent and competent as her!

  20. Mike says


    Hey there. My name is Mike, and I have been a long-time viewer on the board, but this is the first time I have commented. I too am going through a nightmare of a situation with BofA. I put an offer in on a short sale May 12th, and the offer was accepted by the seller and submitted to BofA the next day. Today is September 20th, and I still have NO CLUE what’s going on??!! The selling agent decided not to present more than one offer to the bank, so BofA only has my offer on the table. The seller bought the home in March 2007 for 330,000. The house was listed for 239,000 and I offered this full amount. I found out that the seller owes 260,000 on her BofA loan, and that BofA is the only lender involved. 239,00 seems quite reasonable to me for an offer (Estimated at 244,000 on Zillow)…especially given the information above. Additionally, I am guessing that the BPO came in right about that amount?! After much waiting, A Michael someone from BofA called the selling agent to say that they would approve the short sale if the seller came up with an extra 2800.00 in closing costs. She can’t afford it, but I agreed to pay the amount. This was on August 19th. The selling agent passed that information onto BofA, and Michael said to call back in a week (August 26th)and he would get the written offer to us for signatures. I proceeded with getting inspections done on the house, and applied for/and was accepted for a loan to cover the 241,800. The selling agent called back a week later as told, and there was no answer. He has since tried 3 times to get through, and has left messages each time…but no luck. It is now a month after we were told that they would accept the offer. When the selling agent finally reached somebody in the short sale department this week, he learned that the loss mitigation department had no record in the file of this Michael guy approving anything…or having anything to do with the short sale for that matter. We were told instead that a lady (I know her name, but will omit it for confidentiality purposes) was the assigned negotiator on the case and would be the deciding person going forward. 2 emails and 2 voice messages to her now, and we haven’t heard one thing. It is as if she (and BofA for that matter) is completely avoiding the situation!
    Sufficed to say that I am VERY frustrated. I am 28 years old, and have only 2 months now to close to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit. I have paid the money to have inspections on this house, and my loan is approved. I am all ready on my end to close…and meanwhile, the home continues to sit vacant (almost 4 1/2 months now). Why won’t the bank take my money?? They would surely lose much more if the house foreclosed…and are losing money by the day by having an empty home?!!

    Do you have any advice at all for me at this stage in the game? I knew going into this that short sales are anything but “short”, but 128 days later….COME ON!!! Do you know any numbers or anyone with BofA whom we could speak with to possibly speed this up, since you have had so many successful short sales with them before?? I guess I generally just feel bogged down, and don’t know where to go from here?! At this point, a “NO” from BofA would be a lot better than the waiting game they are playing…at least with a “NO” I can move on! This is the house of my dreams, which is the only reason I haven’t already moved on!

    Thanks so much for any advice/insight you can share with me!

    Very Sincerely,

    Mike Y.

    P.S. I did a google search for the Negotiator assigned to my file, and I found her on Facebook and a website for linking business professionals! It says her title is a Negotiator II with BofA. What exactly does this mean? Am I getting closer in the process, or will I continue to wait forever?

    Thanks again! My email address is should you wish to reply to this post!

    • says

      Mike Y.

      Thanks for posting. As you can imagine you are not the only one frustrated with the short sale process…especially the length of time with Bank of America. So far you have done everything right. The inspection is a critical piece to ensure you want to purchase the property in its “as is” condition. A phase II negotiator is approaching the final stages of the short sale process. They will review the paperwork, order a BPO if one has not already been done and submit the offer to their investors for approval. One thing I would definitely look into is renting and moving into the home while the negotiation is in process. If this is the home of your dreams, you have done your inspections and are satisfied with the home in its “as is” condition, and your offer is within 90% of current market value you should be in excellent shape to get the short sale approved. Renting the home for a reasonable rent does a few things: 1. It gets you into the home so the wait does not seem as unbearable, 2. the home is no longer vacant so its condition will not deteriorate more while you are waiting, 3. The seller can get some much needed cash for the month or two you are renting the home.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes.
      Craig B.

  21. Amy says

    Great site…

    We put an offer in on a CW/BOA short sale in April. We are still waiting for a word. The selling agent says it is in phase 2 with another appraisal ordered. This house has been on the market for almost 2 years. We are the 8th or 9th offer. No one has been able to wait the months we have. We are the only offer as of today and know our amount offered is acceptable. We found out what the people before offered and then got their counter from BOA amount and offered a bit more than that. I am assuming they will accept, but this is the MOST aggrivating ordeal I have EVER been through. We are pre approved and have $$$ in hand…you would think BOA would want to close a deal. Anyway, my question is…do you have any idea how much longer this will take? Also, should we go ahead and get an insection. The house has been vacant for almost 2 years

    • says


      I highly recommend an inspection. It always seems like a lot of money to spend on something that you are unsure if the lender will approve or not. However, in my opinion it is better to get the inspection now and learn if the house is in acceptable condition for you to purchase. You want to find that out now before you waste anymore time on the home. Also, if it is vacant I would highly recommend looking into renting the property while the short sale is being negotiated. I mentioned this in a previous post…here is a recap of what I posted…

      Renting the home for a reasonable rent does a few things: 1. It gets you into the home so the wait does not seem as unbearable, 2. the home is no longer vacant so its condition will not deteriorate more while you are waiting, 3. The seller can get some much needed cash for the month or two you are renting the home.

      Thanks for posting!
      Craig B.

  22. says

    I have put in a bid on a short sale. There was another offer in before ours but after 60 days and hearing nothing from BOA the old buyers walked. Now 90 days into it the sellers agent keeps calling but no BPO yet. I have untill Nov 30th or my buyers for my old house are going to walk. How long does it take for a BPO? isn’t 90 days a little to long? the sellers agent also has not submitted the contract. I need help. What are my rights as a buyer to help in this long crazy process?

    • says


      This is a crazy process. Believe it or not, it sometimes takes that long to get an offer into the system, reviewed and assigned a negotiator. We have been seeing some very strange delays with the BPO process which I believe has been impacted by the new appraisal laws and processes slowing things down. You are also in a tough spot as the selling agent does not want to interrupt or stop the short sale progression and thus they are fearful if they submit your offer they will first have to cancel the first contract, then wait for it to get canceled in the system, then resubmit your offer, then wait for it to get into the system, then start the process from ground zero. Often times you can leave the first offer in and “sneak in” your offer once it gets to a lender’s negotiator that can actually review the file and make a decision on the file. It is a tricky game to play and hopefully the selling agent knows how to play it with the specific lender.

      As an example, with Bank of America we had a “competent” phase II negotiator assigned. She asked for updated documents, HUDs and sales contracts. She had already assumed we had lost the original buyer and would be sneaking in a new contract…which was exactly the case. We submitted all the new info directly to her and we promptly go the short sale approved…in 3 weeks. Of course that buyer walked and we had to submit a new new offer. But this time since the lien release was already done she closed the file and we had to start over with a new negotiator. Frustrating…but it is all part of the crazy game.

  23. says

    If the sellers agent will not submit the agreement of sale won’t the bank “kick it out” because its an incomplete package? She had a prior buyer and she says she is in line waiting for an approval and bpo. It’s been 90 days. Everything I am reading states you need to submit agreement of sale,hud1,listing agreement.Are we in limbo because this was not done? BOA states 7 day turnaround after the complete package is recieved. What should I do?

    • says

      Hi Kim,

      You are correct that an incomplete package will put the short sale process in Never Never Land. The worst part about being in Never Never Land is that you do not know that you are in it and it is very hard to get out of it and back into a working file. Let’s assume the selling agent did the right thing and had a complete package originally submitted to BofA. Let’s also assume that the original offer and your new offer are within a few thousand dollars of each other. It would be best to wait until a level 2 negotiator is assigned and the level 2 negotiator contacts the selling agent for ANY and ALL updated information before they submit it to their investor. This is typical and this is the last opportunity to get the correct paperwork to BofA…aka…”this is your last chance to give me 100% accurate info to go to my investor for approval…once it is approved there will be NO changes to structure of the deal…even if it is just the buyers name”. ALL info must be 100% accurate down to the penny. This includes back taxes, HOA dues, liens, etc. etc. You want to go to the investor only once.

      BofA gives their employees 7 to 10 business days to receive paperwork into their system from there they have 7 to 10 days to look at it. I would have your agent call the selling agent to find out exactly where the negotiation process is and when they anticipate they will submit your offer. If they have no intention of submitting your offer, then you need to find out why. There could be other reasons and you do not want to waste anymore time on the short sale if they have no intention of making your deal work.

      This is why we only work one deal at a time. It is a very strict policy of ours. Otherwise a Realtor can get tempted to work a deal that will pay more commission than one that does not. Example: If they have an offer where they represent both the buyer and seller, they will make more commission then if they just represented one side of the transaction.

      I hope this helps.
      Craig B.

  24. Melissa says

    I signed a purchase contract and the house appraised for less than what the people owe. Now it is in a short sale and I have been waiting over 4 months for Bank of America to make a decision. Is there anything I can do to speed up the process? I am sick of waiting, but love the house. What can I do?

    • says

      Hi Melissa,

      Short Sales with Bank of America do take some time. However, you need some data to find out how long it will really take. Find out when they sent in the short sale package to BofA, what date the package was officially entered into the system and what date it was assigned to a negotiator. What level negotiator is handling the package. Has a BPO been done? If so has it been entered into the BofA system. Once you find out where they are in the process you can figure out how much longer you may have. Hopefully someone is actively working the file with the Bank of America negotiator. Either the seller, the listing agent or a negotiator or attorney.

      Thanks for posting.
      Craig B.

  25. Richie says

    Firstly I would like to say that after reading this site, you are like a Hero to us who are either buying or selling a short sale.

    Here’s my story and would love your thoughts, since no one else out there can help me.

    My wife and I live in Sonoma COunty, CA and have as of July 2, 2009 been accepted by the seller on their short sale home. I have been in constant contact with my agent who has been in constant contact with the selling agent to make sure that she is checking on the status of our offer. The bank is BofA and is actually going to the Investor as of today for “review.” They told us that it should take anywhere from 5-7 business days to hear something back, (I won’t hold my breath). The asking price of the house was 375k and we offered 400k, the reason is because everytime we made and offer we were outbid, so we were forced to go above asking price. My question is, what happens if BofA approves our offer, but when we get out own appraisal, the property appraises for less? Can we re-negotiate the price of the house? and if so how long does that typically take? Any thoughts on the topic would be unbelievably helpful.

    Thanks again for helping so many of us.


    • says


      Sonoma County is beautiful! I am going there next week for Levi’s Granfondo bike race. I am very excited as Sonoma is one of my favorite places. I am originally from the Bay Area. Now back to the topic…

      Based on what you wrote you are in good position to get this done quick. Bank of America has been playing a few games with some of our short sales re-assigning new negotiators when we are very close to the finish line. The funny thing is that this seems to happen at the end of every quarter…I guess Wall Street and the FED wields a bigger stick than us. Anyway, sometimes it is fairly quick to get a response back from the investor. I am hopeful you have a competent Bank of America negotiator. As for you purchase price. The fact that you are loosing out to deals and there are multiple offers on properties tells me that your area has over corrected on price. Thus, you should be in a great position. This is a short sale so you are getting a fantastic deal…right?

      Depending upon how your contract was written you should have a kick out clause if the house did not appraise for the offer price. If by some odd chance it does not appraise you should be able to get out of the contract. However, going back to Bank of America is basically starting over since you are presenting a new offer and you will start at the beginning. I am sure this is not the news you want to hear, but I am confident you are getting a great deal on the home and it should appraise.

      Many thanks for posting.
      Craig B.

  26. says

    thanks for the update- I have to find out if the sellers agent submitted the 1st offer-and when. We don’t even have the bank approval to do the short sale yet. apparently the sellers agent thinks she is in line with a negotiator and bpo. I can’t see why if the bank didn’t recieve the complete package. She keeps calling tues and fri but she states the bank is not missing any paperwork and they change policy every week. I am not sure what that means. She wanted to submit my paperwork after bpo /negotiator was assigned and let the bank know the 1st buyers walked. Is this a smart strategy? Can I as a buyer get permission to call the bank myself?
    also apparently this was a countrywide loan which she states is slowing the process down.It was an fha loan which she stated took longer as well for the bpo? Any information would be greatly appreciated


  27. Elaina says


    I have a property that I am selling as short sale. I have 2 mortgages, first lender Flagstar and the second bank of america. Flagstar approved the short sale and 2 second mortgage company “Bank of America” not approving the deficiency amount.

    My second mortgage $45,000 and Flagstar paying to Bank of America $5,000

    BOA saying they will release the lien from the property but at the same time, after short sale, they requiring $40,000

    I try to call them so many times waiving the deficiency amount and everytime I call, I spoke different person. They stating that there is not negotioter in my file, I have to accept they way it is.

    Please advise

    • says


      This is very frustrating as Bank of America seems to have a double standard with second mortgages. When they own the first mortgage the most they will typically pay towards the second mortgage is $3,000. But when they own the second they seem to be extremely unreasonable.

      In you situation, Flagstar is being very reasonable offering $5,000 to Bank of America. It appears from Bank of America’s response that you are not speaking with their loss mitigation department as their response with $40,000 sounds like they have no clue to what they are doing or you are speaking with a CSR that has no authority to speak about anything other than a FULL payoff of the loan amount.

      It is hard to figure out what is really happening without knowing the following: Are you current with you second mortgage? Have you submitted financials and a short sale package to Bank of America? Are you registered into their system to be on a short sale track?

      Craig B.

  28. Ruth says

    Hi craig,

    First of all i want to say that this has been the BEST and most informative site and many thanks for providing all this information.

    I am in the process of buying a short sale home and its been a little over 2 months in the process. My contract was submitted to the BoA/Country wide including sellers short sale package on Aug 7th and so far the process was/is going very smoothly. The day before yesterday BPO was done and BoA didn’t need anything additional from me or seller at that point. This was sort of a good but, yesterday i got another emails from my agent/seller agent which is very disturbing and i don’t know what to do:

    The seller agent received a list of all auction homes in the county; which the property i put a contract on was one from the list. The agent contacted the negotiator to contact BoA and was told that the home was being pulled back from the auction, to put it in line with the short sale process but how is this possible? What do i do at this point? what guarantee do i have and how do i know that the bank will not come back after a month or how ever long and tel me that the property was sold on auction? what are the necessary steps i should take? What questions should i be asking? Please help


    • says


      The good news is that your agent is on the ball and caught this. Having a short sale logged into Bank of America does not guarantee the foreclosing law firm and investor have been informed. Bank of America is a service provider to loans and thus can miss the steps to stop the foreclosure. You can track the foreclosure in public records and see if the foreclosure has been reversed. I would watch this closely and keep having the selling agent communicate with Bank of America to ensure they are stopping it. You can also pull the foreclosure documents from public records and have your agent make a call into the law firm handling the foreclosure. A colleague of mine had one foreclose mid-process even thought the lender said they had stopped it. They had the foreclosure reversed. Then it foreclosed again and they had it reversed again. Finally, they got it right and the short sale closed.

      Watch it closely. 99% of the time they catch it and the foreclosure will be stopped.

      Thanks for the great question.
      Craig B.

  29. Cess says

    Im a listing agent but first time to handle shortsale. I didnt get a shortsale professionalto negotiate bec they’re charging so much in the office and the seller is insolvent to pay for it. I submitted the shortsale package Sept 1 and confirmed that a level 1 negotiator was assigned to my file. There was no date of appraisal yet. The borrower owes $250 k and I have an offer for $135k. I only work for this one offer but i have 2 backups. I more than concern about dialogues or script to use when negotiating with BPO..Can you write down powerful dialogues that the negotiator will respond promptly? Is it okay for me to email the negotiator to ask for BPO’s date, instead of waiting to contact me? Hope you will help. thanks!

    • says


      Many thanks for your post. It is ok to email the negotiator. Each step in the process they have a certain amount of days to respond. I would call 2 times per week to track the progress to make sure everything is progressing smoothly and that they are hitting their promised milestones.

      The best way to learn scripts and dialogues is to go through training specific to handling short sales. I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert and I would highly recommend this training to any agent looking to work short sales. You can go to for more information.

      Hope this helps.
      Craig B.

  30. Jay & D says

    Thanks for the response!

    We have been hounding our broker to hound the negotiater to get this house closed!!! The latest news that we where told Wednesday:

    “BoA has a ton of files over at Freddie Mac that they are waiting to get cleared, yours is included, he [the negotiater] is talking to them a couple of times a week, he is aware of getting yours closed asap.”

    I hope this all wraps up soon!! We are beyond ready to get in this house!!!

  31. Steve says

    Hi Craig,
    I would like to echo many of the other comments regarding this site… Craig, this is the most helpful and informative site regarding the BofA/Short Sale process…
    Now, we are coming up on our 5 month in contract to purchase an awesome short sale home we have been dying to get into. We are fortunate to have what I believe to be very competent real estate agents involved in this transaction (both mine and the listing agent) and from what I understand, all “paperwork” and details of the short sale transaction (e.g. appraisals) have been submitted and approved. The listing agent has assured me that nothing has been left out from our file. In addition, our offer was very strong relative to the asking price (we came in around 95% of asking price) and comparable, if not favorable when compared to the current market value of homes in this area of Las Vegas (which has been a shipping ship). On top of that, we are offering cash! Unfortunately, all that I continually hear week after week is that our file is “in review” at either BofA or at the investor, which is Fannie Mae.
    Here is the abbreviated timeline of the events that have transpired during this process…
    We submitted our initial offer all the way back on May 9th of this year and it was approved on May 11th. It was immediately sent over to BofA to go through the gauntlet process of their short sale department. After months of waiting, the file was finally sent over to the investor, Fannie Mae, on August the 10th. Today is September 25th and we still have yet to hear anything. I would like to believe that the listing agent is trying to be as proactive as possible in pushing this forward; she says she is calling BofA at least once a week. I too have joined in on the efforts to see what is going on by calling Fannie Mae. Unfortunately, we continually get the same answer: “The file is still in review” or no response at all (what I have been getting from Fannie Mae).
    This has been incredibly frustrating and I am beginning to lose faith. Do you have any suggestions for me… should I continually try to contact someone at Fannie Mae? Is there anything I, or the listing agent, can do to move this process forward.
    Sorry for the long post, but I am getting desperate and am overwhelmed with anxiety over this process. I know it takes patience, but this bordering on insanity. Thank you!

  32. Shawn says

    Hey Craig,

    My wife and I have been involved in a short sale w/ BoA for about 3 1/2 mo now. The process has been a long and full of anxiety. Thanks to the information I’ve been reading on your site, at least I’ve been able to somewhat judge the progress of our file. About 2 wks ago the listing agent called us w/ a message from BoA saying that the appraisal was complete and that the file along w/ the appraisal had been analyzed and was ready to be presented to the investors on the 25th of Sept.

    When our agent got a call from the listing agent on the 25th, we were expecting an answer. What we got was a message stating the our file had been assigned to a new negotiator. Is this normal?, and if it is does this mean that we are starting all over.

    Any information that you can give would be greatly appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Shawn,

      I am laughing at your post. I had three files at the finish line with Bank of America get mysteriously re-assigned to new negotiators on the 21st of September. September is the last month of Q3 2009. Bank of America is a public company. Strange isn’t it? Sorry you got re-assigned too. It sucks and is a classic delay tactic I have been seeing every quarter. Unfortunately your NEW negotiator has a month to review the file which will put you into November. It is critical to get in contact with the new negotiator to make sure they physically have the file and have everything necessary to review in a timely manner. Hopefully your new negotiator is a competent negotiator. If so, you could cruise right through to the finish!

      Hang in there.

  33. Mike says

    Hi Craig, My wife and I currently live in Kalamazoo Mi. and we started the process of a short sell with Bank of America/Countywide back in February. Since then we have had 4 offers (3 have walked away) on our house and the bank has only ordered 1 BPO and they say file is in a pile and they will deal with it in the order of the date it was received. Our realtor has been great but he is using a 3rd party to negotiate the deal and we think is may be holding up it up. We also have a conventional loan so I don’t think that would be the problem. Do you have any ideas how we could speed up the process? Or do we need to just wait on the bank. Thanks, Mike

    • says

      Hi Mike,

      Do you know what stage your file is in? Do they have the most current offer? Did the negotiator start the process over with each offer? Starting over with a new offer can cause significant delays depending upon where you are in the short sale process. If they ordered a BPO make sure it is for your most current offer and find out if the results of the BPO have been entered into the system.

      Thanks for posting.

  34. Scott says

    Greetings Craig,

    This thread has been very helpful so I wanted to say thanks. An update to my situation. The seller’s agent e-mailed to say that we have been assigned a negotiator and that we have a BPO (interior) “in the system” which she characterized as clearance of a “big hurdle.” She has talked only with customer service, who has stated this is “phase 1” and could take 15-30 days to complete. As I already wrote, Fannie Mae had to order a BPO in addition to the BPO completed by BofA.

    Amy plain english thoughts on where we are in the process? Thanks again.

  35. Linda says

    The above attached letter is in no way accurate and is just a ploy to pacify the parties involved.  I received the same letter from BOA regarding a short sale approximately 8 months ago, and I am still trying to get a short sale through.  The issue of never being able to speak to a person other than the receptionist who reads what has been entered in the computer is tremendously problematic in this process.  I live in a region where winters are harsh, the house I am trying to purchase needs a new roof in short order, rodents have been a problem, etc.  If BOA was aware of this scenario, they might be influenced to act.  Such properties that are not only in danger of foreclosure and sitting for an extended period of time but are also in danger of suffering damage are costly only to the lender. 

    The bailout money would have been well spent on hiring the staff they obviously need to get these homes in good hands and generate some mortgage payments.

  36. Holly R says

    I can tell you first hand that BOA is NOT streamlining their process at all. We offered asking price less closing costs on a short sale house in May of this year. In July the original mortgage holder’s third party negotiator had reviewed and approved the short sale, we had a signed HUD. Then the mortgage company; Taylor, Bean & Whitaker; received a cease & desist and we were forced into limbo while we waited for the loan to be entered into BOA’s system. BOA has had the loan in their system since August and we were assigned a negotiator but they are not responding to any phone calls, nor are they making any notes to the file. The only note that we have been able to find out about is that we’re in phase 2 of the negotiator status but no one will tell us what phase 2 is. We’ve contacted as many managers as possible and to no avail. They are not doing anything, even with a clear to close from my mortgage company. The only note that we have been able to find out about is that we’re in phase 2 of the negotiator status but no one will tell us what phase 2 is.

    Trust me when I say that my agent and the seller’s agent are pit bulls about these things. The seller’s agent calls BOA 6 times a day and my agent follows up with her at least once a day so it’s not for last of follow up on our side. To make matters worse, my husband is over seas, I have a 2 year old child and we live in New England. Winter is right around the corner and the house we’re renting is heated by pellets, which at this time of year can only be purchased by the ton. The new house does not have a pellet stove and I don’t want to buy a ton of pellets and end up closing in a week. Then I’d be stuck trying to off-load a ton of pellets before I move.

    The whole short sale process is not efficient. Buying a house shouldn’t be this hard!

    Any ideas on to how to move this along?

    • says


      I appears your team is doing all of the right things. Right now we are experiencing a lot of delays with with lenders and service providers. I am not sure what the hold up is with Bank of America on your file other than they are completely over whelmed with short sales. I get very frustrated myself as it should not take this long. We are not seeing any improvements to the process other than more people are educated on the process and are accepting the painfully long time line. It also does not make it any easier when you are in limbo with your living arrangements, it is very difficult to put your life on hold for 6 months.

      You have a phase II negotiator and sometimes they have authority to sign off on the short sale especially is the investor Taylor, Bean and Whitaker have already approved it.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes.


  37. says

    dear craig ,
    I found out the sellers short sale package was submitted to countrywide mid june
    The buyer contract went in end of june
    We still do not have a bpo or negotiator assigned.
    I have called the ceo of fannie mae to try to speed up this process.
    I have called a mortgage specialst at boa
    I have daily calls to short sale dept at countrywide
    After over 90 days we still have no movement
    do you have any suggestions?
    I have to be out of my home by nov 30th to purchase this short sale do you think this is possible?

  38. Scott says

    Okay, here is where I ‘think’ I am:

    08/03 – Contract accepted by seller for 90-100% of comps
    08/10 – Confirmed that completed short sale pkg was sent to BoA
    09/03 – Appraisal completed, including inside evaluation
    09/11 – Learned this was a fannie mae loan and that second BPO would need to be completed
    09/18 – Negotiator was assigned
    09/23 – BoA contacted seller’s agent and provided negotiator’s name and e-mail. Also advised that initial inside BPO was in the system – characterized by agent as a major hurdle. Also advised seller’s agent that they were typically taking 15-30 business days before pkg goes to fannie mae
    09/30 – Seller’s agent has sent 2 e-mails to negotiator, no response. Will try other means. Junior lender has been contacted to give them an informal heads up.

    Seller’s agent described what to expect next. Once pkg goes to fannie mae, it will make decision to accept/reject/counter, etc. Once the approval is given BoA will formally notify junior lender.

    It appears we are in some forward motion…am I delusional?


  39. Ben says

    I was involved in a short sale with countrywide here in Norcal that took 5 and half months to get approved. We went into escrow and was in contract for more than 2 and half months until I lost the loan.
    I got into another short with BofA because I thought it would be faster with this bank. I was Dead Wrong. My offer was accepted by sellers and forwarded to BofA first week of April 09. It is October and still no answer, no lead.
    Bottom line: Short sales are a JOKE. DON’T EVER get into a short sale. It will lead NOWHERE. I know. I have experienced it Twice.

  40. says

    dear craig,
    we finally got our BPO friday 10-2-09. We were also assigned a negotiator.
    The sellers agent has to submit updated taxes and bank statements
    the realtor is working on the hud-1
    I think we might make the nov 30th deadline
    The investors will have our file as of fri oct 9th.
    The only step I am not sure of is the MI dept? Can you tell me what that is? Is this like PMI insurance?

  41. Steve says

    It appears that I too was a victim of the September 21st BofA negotiator “switch-a-roo”. Past 5 months of waiting now and absolutely no chance of closing before the November 30th “first time home buyer” Tax Rebate deadline. I’m done with this and I am done with Bank of America. After taking BILLIONS in the bailout, Bank of America isn’t being held accountable for their incompetence. I understand its all about a bottom line and “numbers”, but where’s the integrity? Good luck to all of you… you’re gonna need it!

  42. Robin D. says

    Hi Craig,

    I’m Holly’s buyer agent. I have to tell you, this has been the most frustrating short sale I’ve done to date. The seller is enrolled in the pre-foreclosure program with FHA. It was approved by TB&W. We have a HUD case number, this should be a no brainer and rubber stamp. Unfortunately, BoA’s process is layers upon layers of inefficiency. Why the need for 3 Phases and negotiators? The requirements for a short sale are quite simple, actually, 3 requirements…1)Hardship…check…2)Documentation…(hardship letter, financial worksheet, 2 years taxes, pay stubs, bank statements, signed P&S, buyer’s financial approval…check, check, check, check, check, check, check…..3) Short Sale approval….check.

    We’ve tried to enlist the help of our Congressman & Senator. They express empathy, but cannot really affect the process since BoA is not a federal agency. The listing agent has contact FHA/HUD several times in addition to the BoA follow up, but was told that it is has to go through BoA. The insanity of it all.

    We are close. The file has been reviewed and moved to the next level which should be final approval.

    My suggestion to have these “overwhelmed” loss mitigation departments to move quicker….PUT THEM ALL ON COMMISSION. Then we’ll see exactly how quick they can move if they get paid when the file is approved.

    What do you think?


    • says


      That would be an excellent idea. At this point any change or increase in productivity would be awesome. I remember when Bank of America moved their inbound fax and document handling to India. It caused months of delays.

  43. Peter Cohn says

    I’ve had a short sale house under contract since June. We finally thought there was progress when BofA sent an appraiser on 9/18. So far, the bank says they haven’t received the appraisal report! Quite frustrating.

    • says


      It is very frustrating. If you have access to the contact info of the appraiser, I would highly recommend contacting them directly and having them email and fax the appraisal directly to the Bank of America negotiator. This can help speed things up by a few weeks and bypasses the appraisal getting lost in the Bank of America document handling system.

  44. Rich says

    Another black hole customer.
    Former CW
    Submitted paperwork to BOA: faxed multiple times…
    Just called myself, and “Constance” verified that after three weeks, they cannot even verify receipt of ANY papers: fax or otherwise…

    Bummer, cause the offer we put in on another S/Sale house, was APPROVED in 24 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh…and we’re gonna lose that house.
    Oh well…

    Blessed be the name of the Lord

  45. Taryn says

    Well all my hopes are now dashed reading the hell that everyone is going through. No matter how many times I heard that short sales are a disaster, I kept thinking I might be one of the lucky ones. My husband and I are in the trenches with the rest of you. We put in our bid over a month ago for an awesome home. Both of the realtors involved are fabulous, but I guess this doesn’t make any difference; sad to say.
    Just to make you laugh, after hearing the misery we were about to go through, I thought I could speed up the process by going right to the top of the company. I sent Ken Lewis (the CEO of BoA) a box of homemade chocolate cookies with a letter pleading our case. Someone in the office signed off for them, but I never heard back from the man (except from the news that he is getting the boot later this year) So…who should I send cookies to now?

    • says


      You can send the cookies to me! I would very much appreciate them.

      Please do not get discouraged. Are Bank of America short sales a long and frustrating process? Yes, absolutely. However, Bank of America short sales do get approved and closed. I just had another one approved yesterday. It took 4 months, but the buyers are getting the house they want and at an amazing price. You have two very competent realtors working the process, be patient and you will be very happy at the end!

      Thanks for posting.
      Craig Baranaowski

  46. Scott says

    Taryn, I would echo Craig, based on my experience (subject to change). We are a little over 70 days in (since seller accepted offer) and have a full apparaisal in the system, negotiator assigned, and second BPO completed (for Fannie Mae). The complete timeline is posted above. I hope to have weekly update today. Every realtor I talk to who has short sale experience tells me I should be quite pleased with this progress and estimate that I am in for another 6-8 weeks. I’d hope for a 3 month deal, but if we get it done in 4, I’ll be pleased.

    If you’re 30 days in, you should start to see things happening. If not, you may be in the boat with many on here> I haven’t a clue what makes the difference.

  47. says

    I submitted a short sale package to BofA (Countrywide) on September 3rd. I contacted them and they acknowledged receipt of the package on September 16th. Today (over 45 days after package submission) we still haven’t had a negotiator assigned. BofA readily admitted to my company attorney they sat on a request to escalate the file, and they are the ones that offered the escalation. I have also been told, repeatedly, that the customer service reps are less than truthful with their dealings with REALTORS. They will often say what the agent wants to hear to get off of the phone. To suggest BofA / Countrywide is acting any differently regarding the timeliness of the short sale experience is a stretch.

    • says


      Unfortunately, your experiences with Bank of America are somewhat accurate. You best recommendation is to take diligent notes of conversations, with whom and when. Any blatant and deliberate delay of processing a short sale by any mortgage provider could be an excellent negotiation leverage. Especially if their lack of effort causes a foreclosure. This is something that attorneys can eat up in court and get the foreclosure and deficiency thrown out by the judge.

  48. scott says


    I hate to monopolze yout board, but had another request. You wrote, “Please do not get discouraged. Are Bank of America short sales a long and frustrating process? Yes, absolutely. However, Bank of America short sales do get approved and closed. I just had another one approved yesterday. It took 4 months, but the buyers are getting the house they want and at an amazing price.”

    Could you provide us with a rough timeline of how these successful deals went down? Any junior lenders? Any Fannie Mae involvement?

    Thanks again

    • says


      Many thanks for the post and the great question. I wish I had a magic formula. We have had some Bank of America short sales that go into Never Never Land and others that zoom right through. Recently we submitted a short sale and had it logged into the system, BPO ordered and completed and negotiator assigned in 3 Weeks! We did not do anything different and are pleasantly shocked and surprised. It does appear that the quality of the Bank of America negotiator greatly affects the speed of the short sale. We had another Bank of America short sale approved and they promised closing docs in 3 to 5 business days. We were assigned a closing negotiator and received the closing docs on Monday…exactly 3 business days! This never happens. Again we were pleasantly surprised.

      I will tell you that we submit 100% complete short sale packages, follow-up weekly and expedite when we are able to expedite. If Bank of America asks for information we try to get the information back the same business day to ensure they continue to actively work the file. I have a very experienced negotiator and he uses Short Sale software to track all of his short sales. This helps ensure our end of the negotiation runs as smooth as possible and we work the Bank of America system as best as we can.

      Thanks for posting!
      Craig B.

  49. Laura says

    Hi Craig. Does the short sale department have a phone number to call and get updates or nudge the process along? We have been trying to purchase a short sale home since May and have given them a cash offer 2k less than the asking price (which we thought was a good offer). The negotiators keep getting taken off the case, so right now there is no negotiator assigned but the last word was that they are “close” to assigning one. The listing agent is not good about calling them for updates, and our realtor can only do so much since he’s not the listing agent. My husband wants to back out if we don’t have an answer by the end of this month, and I really want this house. What else can we do?

    • says

      Hi Laura,

      Great question. As a buyer you are not authorized to call and check on the sellers mortgage with Bank of America unless they give you authorization to do so. This would require them giving you their account number, social security number and filling out an authorization form. Something that you really do not want to get into or be liable for. I hope the listing agent is giving accurate info. They usually do not reassign negotiators so often. September was the end of Q3 and we had a lot of intentional delays via the negotiator “switch-er-roo” trick by Bank of America. Additionally every time a new negotiator is assigned they have 30 days to review the file. If the selling agent is not in control of the process and trying to drive it then maybe you should try to have your agent run with it if they are experienced with short sales. You can always hire a dedicated negotiator who can work in the best interest of the seller and the buyer. I know of a great one that you can use. 🙂

      Craig B.

  50. Laura says

    We just got an update this evening that BoA has requested a preliminary HUD to go with our offer. Our realtor says this is progress. Do you agree? And does that usually mean they are considering our offer?

    • says


      Another good question. The good news is that they are working your file. The bad news is that the HUD should have been submitted with the short sale package back in May. This could very much be the reason for all of the delays and switching of negotiators. An incomplete package will be tossed around the Bank of America system as they are waiting for the info. They usually never tell you what info they are missing…they just move onto the next file that is complete and begin working it. Please read some of my other posts that discussed the information needed in a short sale package and make sure ALL of the required information is collected and sent to Bank of America by the selling agent. The HUD is critical and needs to be a final HUD with ALL liens, HOA dues, taxes and etc. identified and projected forward for 3-4 months. Also, do you know if they have a first and second mortgage? This is very important on how the HUD needs to be structured. Remember the title company needs to do a FULL title search when they prepare the HUD. They need to have everything on it or all of those missed costs will not be covered by Bank of America…and then everyone will look to you as the buyer to pay for them or the deal won’t close.

      Craig B.

  51. soma says

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for maintaining such an useful blog site. Here’s what I wanted to ask you.

    I have submitted an offer to a property end of July. By the middle of Sept., multiple BPO has been done. On Sept. 30th, we increased the priced above the listing price. The listing agent and also my agent thought that they can close it soon. Our contract was expiring on Oct 15th. The listing agent told us that she got word from Bofa’s asset manager that there will be some update on or before 15th Oct. She thought that it would be substancial. Now, today is Oct. 21st and we have not heard anything.

    Is it possible for you to give me some idea where actually I am in the process ? What is the role of an Asset Manager ? Is he/she the same as a negociator ? Am I actually towards the end of the game ? I do not know if an internal apprisal is done and recorded (the listing agent did not say anything on it. 🙁 )

    Thanks so much. I really appreicate your time. 🙂

    • says

      Hi Soma,

      The good news is that your are very close to the end. A Bank of America asset manager is someone who is evaluating whether the short sale fits within their investor guidelines. They make the yes or no decision on a short sale. Asset Managers are on a committee at Bank of America. The committee will meet and they review multiple short sale files and either say yes or no on the approvals. An asset manager is usually assigned to a particular investor or investment group. Assuming all goes well, you will get a verbal yes on the terms of the short sale and then the package will be moved to a closing agent who will draw up the closing documents. In some cases this takes about a week and in other cases it will take longer. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope you get an awesome closing agent and your files zips through to the finish line!

  52. Scott says

    Thanks Craig,

    It seems our seller’s agent is following the same strategy. Files in system, first BPO’s in, negotiator assigned, but no word on second BPO required by Fannie. Seller’s agent has been e-mailing negotiator weekly since 9/18, with no reply (She doesn’t have a phone #). She has talked with customer service and does seem to provide some updates. She also referred to the 30 day review and has pegged October 30 as the date where she can take some additional action. Our agent’s office is one of the largest around, and their consensus is that the seller’s agent’s firm is one of the best in dealing with short sales. In my world, lack of contact = lack of interest, and it’s hard to sit back and watch.

    Thanks again, as this thread is an outlet.


  53. Olivia & Holden says

    Hi Craig,

    This is a wonderful site you got going here. We’ve been visiting as of last week and have learned so much just from reading the posts from everyone here. Here is how our short sale process with BofA has been so far. It has been a long process so far but we are trying to stay optimistic. These are pretty much summary updates of what the seller agent for the house has been mailing to our agent.

    1. July 24 – BofA confirmed that they received our complete short sale package and the file has been referred to a phase I negotiator.

    2. August 5 – Work out negotiator still reviewing the file and has until August 28 to process it.

    3. August 26 – Was notified that our loan is Fannie Mae and processing takes longer than usual loans. Informed that two BPOs ordered and one already back, waiting for second one to come in.

    4. September 2 – All BPOs in but no negotiator assigned yet, Seller agent requested escalation to the mgr to get a negotiator.

    5. September 9 – Escalation has been in effect. Still waiting for negotiator.

    6. September 23 – Still no negotiator despite two escaltions from the seller agent. Seller agent demanded speak to a supervisor and got supervisor involved – come to find out that there was a BIG ERROR made with our file. Supervisor informed the seller agent that our file was assigned to a dept. way back on July 24th, but it was the wrong dept. Our loan is a FNMA/government loan…so our file was just sitting there for two months.

    7. September 30 – Appraisal ordered. Will know who negotiator is after appraisal gets in.

    8. October 7 – Still waiting for a negotiator and 2nd BPO is to be performed.

    9. October 14 – Seller agent requested new escalation for phase 2 negotiator.

    10. October 21 – Come to find out that all the escalations that were requested were not necessary because our loan is a Fannie Mae loan..and that was why our file collected dust and just sat on someone’s desk for so long and did not move. The file is now in STO value review and is due to them this Friday. Fannie Mae requires two separate value researches on the property.

    So, we’re almost in our 4th month of the process. All our agents have been wonderful with giving us updates regarding all our processing and we know that they’re doing everything they can to get this file closed. What other steps are left after the last point we mentioned? And is the process going how it should according to everything we have mentioned above? We just want to know where we stand and if we’re getting pretty close to closing.


    Olivia & Holden

    • says

      Olivia & Holden,

      It is great to see you have two very capable agents handling your short sale. They must be CDPE certified agents. You are making good progress. Unfortunately it takes almost 30 days for every step to get executed. Once all of the BPOs and value researches are completed and entered into the system, they will either have the assigned negotiator review the results or assign the next level negotiator to review. They have…you guessed it…typically 30 days to review the file. Once this happens you will be hopefully racing towards the finish line. It is very beneficial to have a competent negotiator at Bank of America during the final steps handling your file as it can race through in a few weeks. We have been pleasantly surprised with 4 files this month…of course we have many others where we are banging our heads against the wall.

      Thanks for posting
      Craig B.

  54. Laura says

    Thanks for the help Craig. I still don’t know if they’ve assigned a negotiator yet. The listing agent tells us nothing. So, you’re suggesting that the bank will allow us to hire a negotiator? I’m assuming that would be you? Can you email me at please? Thanks again!

  55. Soma says

    Dear Craig,

    I wanted to ask you about the process in general. Once all the appraisals are done and results are in, does the negotiator decide on a price and send the paper work to the investor (Fannie May or Freddie Mac) to approve/deny? How long can be the wait time to hear from the investors ? Or once the negotiator decides on a property, he/she assigns it to closing agent ? What is the process ?

    Thanks so much,

  56. says

    our short sale
    ist bpo done
    fannie mae ordered 2nd interior bpo .
    we were assigned a negotiator at boa.
    the negotiator is not submitting paperwork to fannie mae untill ssellers agree to sign a promisory note.
    is this standard? what time frame does the negotiator have to submit to fannie mae?
    my nov 30th settlement date is fast approaching.
    please email me at with any help

    • says

      Hi Kim,

      We have seen a few promissory notes requests. They appear to be more popular these days and becoming more common. It is a tough one. We had a short sale completed with Bank of America and the closing documents required a promissory note to be signed. The seller refused and we had to go back to Bank of America to re-negotiate. This was at the end of July. It is October and they are still “reviewing” the file. At this point both the buyer and seller are wishing the seller agreed to the promissory note…or the cash option.

      There are a few things to think about regarding the promissory note:
      1. Are they offering a cash payment or a promissory note as an option?
      2. What are the terms of the promissory note?

      There are some creative ways to handle the cash settlement option at closing. As for the promissory note…it is an un-secured loan. The seller needs to review the terms with their accountant and attorney and see what their options are. Again there are work out plans and options that can happen after the promissory note has been signed and the home closes. However, this is for the seller to review with professionals and they need to make the decision on what they want to do.

      The biggest frustration I have when negotiating with lenders is they have leverage in terms of time. They can burn time until everyone is cries uncle and agrees to their terms. The trick is to work within their parameters to make the deal work and keep the process moving forward and avoid as few of delays as possible.


  57. says

    I have read all of the postings and now it is my turn. I must admit that I am glad that I am not in this mess by myself. My realtor and I submitted a short sale P/A on July 9th and two days ago (October 26th), I finally have my case assigned to a phase II negotiator. I am told that this negotiator now has 15 days to make a decision. This is the home that I reallly like but in late August, I was growing a bit tired of the lack of communication from BOA and decided to start looking at other places. Unfortunately in MN, I am finding that just about everything out there is flippin’ short sale. Lord knows I can’t start this process over. I’m hopeful that this negotiator is competent and will get this approval done within 15 days. There is only 1 month left for the tax credit and I feel as though I should have been done with the home-buying process since I started in May. Good luck to all and hopefully the new process that BoA has in place will get things going much faster than they are currently.
    On another note, I wouldn’t doubt if the federal government has authorized a ‘work slowdown’ so that hundreds and thousands of people miss out on the tax credit. Something to think about.

  58. says


    I have started recording all of my phone calls to Bank of America. Once I have completed this difficult short sale, I may, with the seller’s consent, post the calls online. The software to record phone calls is a little pricey, but I think in the end, it will be worth it. I have noticed since I started indicating I am recording the calls for accuracy, the information being passed has been accurate and the process has moved much faster. In fact, when I informed a supervisor I was recording our call, by recommendation of legal counsel, he immediately escalated the package to a “Phase 2” negotiator. I have been told from this point it takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a final answer (because it’s an FHA loan, which is a different story all together.)

  59. says

    I put an offer in on a short sale back on April 20, 2009. My offer accepted by the seller and as of June I was assigned a negotiator. The BPO was done and when I finally contacted the listing agent she told me that the hold up was that my negotiator was fired and a new one was assigned. Not sure what phase we are in and I am not even sure how competent both agents are. I am very frustrated as I sold my home in August and have been living with family while waiting on this property. I keep signing extensions to the contract and I am on the verge of insanity. What the heck can I do get answers or speed up the process??? November 20 will be 7 months and not a word on the property?? The house needs to be winterized, the seller moved out last March. What a mess!!!

  60. says

    In the western suburbs of Chicago, I have experienced an “all stop” to BAC short sales. It seems to me that they are modifying the loans to put the loan into an asset status, rather than writing it off as a loss. I have at least 10 files that are growing whiskers from waiting for a negotiator to respond – or be appointed.

  61. Rick Fox says

    BofA is a joke. I put $ down on a short sale in March and it finally went into escrow in Aug. and was to close Oct. 21st. The price was $184,000. The bank appraisal was $180,000. I told them I would come up with the $4000.00. So they send it back to the investor for approval. $184,000 = $184,000 what has to be approved? Now here we are 238 days later and nothing. I called corporate office for help. They said they would help but now won’t return my calls. They told me back in June that if I would get my loan through them it would show I was a strong buyer and they would push it through. There really pushing hard….what a joke for a bank. BofA = Bunch of Assholes.

  62. JCisneros says

    My home was approved for short sale back in Feb. 2009. After 5 months of waiting, the buyers couldnt wait anymore. On June 9, I had a new offer, and yet again, they buyer walked after 5 months. My contract was closed by “error” twice by B of A. Thus prolonging the process. It always seems like one thing after another with them, and we can never get a straight answers. I thought there was a law saying how long they had to process a sale.

    • says


      Please see my earlier post on what to do next. You are definitely at a point where you need to get the short sale done and closed and can not afford any more delays or run around by Bank of America.

      The biggest challenge you are having is that as soon as you switch buyers they typically will close the file and create a new one effectively causing you to start the process all over again.

  63. AP says

    Hi Craig,

    I made an offer on a short sale in late July. There were two mortgages out on the property, the 2nd being with CW/Bank of America. The first bank agreed rather quickly to the short sale, within a month. However, bank of america has held it up quite considerably. To add to that, the seller’s agent is terrible – will never answer phone calls and will only respond to emails which allows her to dodge most of the questons we ask. I have no idea if a BPO has been ordered. This is my timeline so far with the BofA side of things:

    9/25 – Offer was given an account number
    10/3 – File assigned to a workout specialist
    10/22 – File assigned to a negotiator.

    So far that is it. Some of my questions:

    1. Is the ‘workout specialist’ a phase 1 negotiator?
    2. Would I know by now if this loan was a FannieMae or FreddieMac loan? From what I hear, if it is not, the phase II negotiator can follow bank guidelines and make the decision himself.
    3. What happens if my offer is above the appraisal that I get ordered? Does the process start at the beginning or can you work with that same negotiator. I doubt any mortgage company is going to give somebody a loan for a house when the house isn’t worth what is being offered.

    Thanks for any help!


    • says


      Many thanks for posting. These are great questions.
      1. A ‘workout specialist’ is typically the specialist they prepares the file and then assigns a negotiator. Sometimes this is called a phase 1 negotiator even though they are not negotiating.
      2. You can find out if the mortgage is owned by FannieMae by checking this website:
      for Freddie Mac can be checked here:
      3. Unless you are a cash buyer, if your appraisal is below your offer then you will run into some problems. Typically short sales are great deals and they usually will appraise very well.

      I hope this helps!

      Craig Baranowski

  64. via says

    So, has there been any improvements? I am in the process of buying a short sale condo and after 3 months its been finally assigned to a negotiator. How long of a wait will it be now? This is with bank of america…

  65. Lauren says

    My fiance and I put an offer on a short sale in California 10/6/2009. We got word from our realtor today that BOA asked for an updated HUD and he said that hopefully we will get an approval soon. I have read alot of negative articles about BOA losing paperwork. Is there anything that I can do to ensure that any requested paperwork gets to BOA timely so that this will not interfere with our offer? We are first time home buyers and eagar to get into the house, we are willing to be patient but to a point. We were told that the short sale that we made an offer on was already approved for the same $ amount we offered, the previous buyer walked away because he lost his job. We were told approval should not take as long as a typical short sale because of this, so far it is looking like this is not the case. Are there any particular questions I should ask my realtor?

  66. akr says

    I’m a seller and going through a short sale. I just received a CASH offer. I only have a 1st mortgage. No liens or 2nd mortgage to deal with. What time frame can I expect from Bank of America? My realtor said realistically it would be about 60 days. I also read an article that BofA is redefining their short sale process.

    I would also like to know how this short sale will affect my credit score. I am current on my payments and have no delinquencies.

  67. pat t says

    you answered JCisneros to see an earlier post on this, can you let me know when that was? we put a bid in June 29, 2009 and in september was told the short sale was cancelled, bid to low.we sent in another bid now we are on our 3rd negotiator, we even got our Congressman involved. still waiting. the one negotiator told the selling agent our file was in the “hold file” whatever that is. now we are being told they are assinging a customer advocate to faciliate..doesn’t sound like they are doing it.
    the house has been empty for over a year, and we are worried about the pipes freezing now that we are getting in to the winter months. Our granddaughter said no more short sales, lets go for a long sale…she maybe right.

    • says

      Pat T,

      I posted a few days ago the following on how to try and take things to the next level. Sometime you need the seller and the realtor to tag team and push Bank of America very hard to be accountable. You must have your times and facts straight so everyone is on the same page. Here is a copy of the post…

      It appears you are getting a big run around. My best advise is to tell the Bank of America representatives that your are recording the phone call for accuracy since you have been given incorrect phone numbers and emails on several occasions. I would also make sure you document everything…every call, every name, every conversation. Then there becomes a time when it is necessary to escalate to supervisor’s supervisor and explain their proven unwillingness to mitigate the loss and a proven pattern of disorganization and a blatant lack of effort to help you as the seller avoid foreclosure. I would then explain that if you do foreclose you will have a very well documented and strong case to sue them. This will typically get their attention and get the file back on track and possibly even to the finish line.

      A good place to start is to file a complaint with the office of the Bank of America CEO:
      Call Ken Lewis’ office.

      704-386-5687 number to his office.
      There is a full staff there including negotiators to handle escalations. Remember that if everyone uses this then it will lose it’s effectiveness. So please us as a last resort when things are totally out of control.

  68. Scott says

    Greetings Craig,

    An update and a question. Our offer, accepted 8/3/09, has just gone to investor and PMI for approval. My estimate is that this seller had a an original LTV of 95% (based on public record) so I am guessing that the max PMI coverage is 30%. When I add the estimated loan payoff (based on amortization) and actual commissions, then subtract our price, I’m guessing that PMI would need to pay bank $32K to make bank whole. That’s about $50,000 less than if the worst case occurs after foreclosure.

    Any thoughts or experience wrt to PMI?

    Thanks, Scott

  69. SRK says

    My husband and I are in the same predicament! We placed an offer on a short sale in June 2009 and the seller accepted our offer and presented it to BOA. Our seller, seller’s agent, and lawyer are all very persistent, but BOA just never sticks to it’s own deadlines. Lately they have not even been responding to our calls/messages. Currently, our file has gone through all necessary departments and procedures and is with the investor. We were told the investor makes the final call for the approval or disapproval. However, the investor has had our file for a month now with 3 deadlines that have come and gone with no response. It’s like our lives are on hold because we cannot make any concrete plans and it is very frustrating!!!

  70. Jess says

    I have been working with a seller and realtor and BOA/countrywide since the beginning of september on a short sale. They say they have everything they need and then when we think we might be hearing something they give themselves an extension on their “deadline”. why even give a deadline if you are not going to meet it. That is very irresponsible. How hard is it to look at an offer and accept or not accept???? This is getting ridiculous. There are plenty of people that need jobs if they have slackers working there that can’t do theirs.

  71. M Cade says

    Cash offer July 22, 2009 on short sale in Fort Myers Fl area. We are still waiting. Realtor tearing his hair out because he rarely gets a reponse from BoA on progress of sale. With the thousands of homes available in the area, you would think bank would be happy to get rid of one. Unbelievable to us
    that a bank can be so incompetent. Still they have to nerve to offer new
    mortgages…… Think somebody should be investigating this bank and all
    their activities. Is Congress listening???????

  72. Josh K says

    Hello Craig

    I placed a shortsale offer in Mid Aug. Owner accepted the offer and submitted to countrywide. It has been more than 4 months and we have’t heard anything back form bank. Still waiting a negotigator be assigned to the case. Recently I got an email from Seller’s agent, stating that “new” case # has been assigned due to merge of BOA and Countrywide shortsale system. Does it mean that we are back on the bottom of the list ? How long from this point to get a negotigator assigned ? How is this “new” merged shortsale system works ? Thanks in advance Craig.

    • says

      Josh – Thanks for posting.

      I think your seller’s agent may have miss-communicated or is on another planet. The Countrywide / Bank of America system switch over was a long time ago. So long ago that I can not remember when it happened…but definitely in early 2009.

      The agent may be referring to the Bank of America / REOTrans (now system?

      It is hard to believe that there has been no progress on your file. Please make sure that the selling agent has submitted a full and complete short sale package…and that they are updating financials, bank statements and letter of authorizations at least every 45 days. Any older the file dies and it just sits in nowhere land. Has a BPO been done? Is the file registered in the Bank of America system?

      Even if there is no progress a Bank of America customer service representative can look at the file and see if it is in their system and tell you what the next step is.

      Keep me updated on what you find out. It may be that the selling agent is not telling you all of the info about what is going on.

  73. greg r says

    I put an offer on a short sale in may 09 with bank of america. The only thing i have heard is that a bpo was done in october. I was wondering is there anything that can be done by me to find out what is going on. My attorney’s paralegal only says i hope you are still looking for another house. We contact her every week and get the same answer “nothing new” keep looking

    • says


      That is a frustrating reply from the paralegal. Bank of America has been recently making a lot of deals and pushing short sales through. If it is not moving in the system, something is usually wrong. Your negotiator needs to find out where it is and what they are waiting for. Usually they are waiting for the negotiator to get assigned and that takes the longest amount of time. However, if your BPO was done in October and still nothing then either your file has aged and needs to be refreshed or something else is holding it up.

      When the paralegal says “nothing new” ask her what is the next step? What does the status of the short sale say in the system? Has an escalation been issued and on what date? How long do they have to respond to the escalation before you can file another escalation to their supervisor?

      Hope this helps.

  74. MinSF says

    I put a cash offer on a short sale property on May 1 2008 – this is with bank of america. Just got word that we have verbal approval and will have written approval in 7 days. After 8 months I won’t believe it till I see the written approval, but it looks promising.

    I’ve never seen such a screwed up process and company … very discouraging.

  75. Jscott says

    Hello Craig,

    As a buyer, is it possible to find the status of my short sell offer directly from b of a? Which number should I call? My realtor has been giving me all kinds of updates and has basically been going in circles. She last told me (about a month ago) that the phase 2 negotiator has orderd a new payoff demand and the file will be forwarded to investor in the next 2-3 days. Now one month later, she is telling me that b of a wants to do another appraisal. Orignal appraisal was done around 8/15/09. I don’t understand if the file was going to investor, where does this new appraisal come from? Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.


    • says


      Many thanks for posting and this is a great question. Unfortunately you can not call without authorization from the seller. To do this they would have to supply their account number and social security number. Honestly you do not want to expose yourself to any liability if something should go wrong.

      The last step takes a long time if a few things are old and out dated. All items – financials, hardship letters, pay stubs and appraisals need to be current aka less than 60 days old. Every investor has their own requirements for appraisals. Some just want a BPO, others want 2 BPOs and other will only accept an appraisal. If the appraisal was done in August it has aged and is no longer valid…thus the need for a new one. They do not submit to the investor unless it is basically an approved transaction. I hope you submitted a full complete and accurate HUD before it went to the investor. Trust me you do not want to have to go back for more money after the approve the short sale.

      You are almost done so hang in there!

  76. wondering! says

    Hi, Craig,

    We are considering offering to buy (with cash) a BoA short sale in California. This house has been on the market for a year and a half! It has fallen out of two (very long) escrows, because each time the buyer got frustrated at the process and walked away. Normally we would avoid a short sale like the plague, but we sold our own home a couple years ago and are tired of living in an apartment with two kids. We have been looking to buy a house all this time, in this particular neighborhood, but no one is selling unless they need to. So now we are considering this house.

    Anyway, we are wondering (1) Is there any realistic hope to buying this home, if it’s been on the market for a year and a half and two other buyers never made it to the finish line? (2) Is anything we can do as buyers to ensure that we might succeed where the other buyers didn’t? (3) Is a cash offer more attractive in the context of a short sale, or does it make no difference?

    I get the impression that much of this short-sale process is in the seller’s hands, and their agent’s hands. Maybe if they couldn’t get the other sales through, they are not doing what they need to do? Maybe we shouldn’t even bother. What are your thoughts on this?

    We are really ready to own a house again! Thank you for any help or advice!

    • says

      Wondering –

      You should absolutely consider a short sale. California is a non-recourse state which means that if they foreclose on the home the lender can not pursue a deficiency. It is in the lenders best interest to do a short sale.

      With that in mind there are a few things to guarantee your success:
      1. If you have not already been working with a Realtor, let me refer a competent and credible short sale expert in your area. I belong to a vast network of professionals like myself and can get you to the right person.
      2. My negotiator handles short sales in your area. He has a 99% success rate with short sales and you can hire him negotiate the short sale for you…assuming the seller and selling agent is willing to have a professional negotiator handle the short sale negotiation.
      3. We can help you qualify the property, market price and properly structure the offer to ensure you have a very high success probability with the short sale as well as a great price on property.
      4. Cash only matters when it comes time to close and makes you a stronger buyer in the eyes of the seller.

      Please feel free to call me and discuss in more detail if you are interested.

      Craig Baranowski

  77. LONG SALE says

    Hi Craig,

    I am about 5 months in on a short sale contract – I am the potential buyer. I know that it was sent to a negotiator in late October. The last I heard that BPO’s were done about two weeks ago and we were waiting for them to be loaded into B of A’s system. The listing agent contacted my realtor last week and told me that a law firm was sending her the pay off figure from Citi (the first loan holder) and that she will submit that payoff figure and an updated HUD to B of A as soon as she recieves it.

    Can you elaborate on what is happening and what stage of the process you think I am in. It seems like I am pretty close if B of A is requesting a pay off figure from the first loan holder.

  78. Nicole S. says

    Dear Craig,
    I need help!! I don’t know what to think anymore.. Beginning of October 2009 we put in a cash offer on a house, when we put our offer in there was another offer, but they backed out because they got sick of waiting.. our offer has been the only offer since. Our realtor told us 31 days ago that our offer was at the 3rd and final negotiator.. on Friday our realtor said she got an email from BoA stating that the offer is now with an investor for “final approval” what does the investor for final approval do? Is this good news for us? PLEASE tell me there is a light at the end of this tunnel!!

    patiently waiting,
    Nicole S.

  79. LONG SALE says

    Hi Nicole,

    That is very good news and that is the last and final step. The investor is the actual backer of the loan and it could be Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of NY or others. After Bank of America gets everything together, they have to send it to the investor for final approval. I believe the investor has about 30 days to review the file and make a decision. Your offer moved pretty quick!

  80. Nicole S. says

    Since my offer has made it through all the negotiators & on to the “investor” for final approval” does that mean the offer was accepted or is it the investor that makes this decision?


  81. LONG SALE says

    The investor makes the final decision – B of A pretty much just gets everything in order so they can show the investor and then the investor makes a decision based on everything submitted. This is the last step…so I wish you good luck!

  82. LONG SALE says

    No problem, I wish you luck! I’ve been waiting since July and you are way ahead of me! Here’s a typical timeline that I found online for B of A short sales:

    1. Stage 1 – offer given on the property which the seller accepts
    2. Stage 2 – Seller’s agent prepares a short sale package which includes (a) Past 2 years of Sellers income tax, (b) 2 months of bank statement, (c) hardship letter, (d) YTD paystub, (e) purchase agreement, (f) .. etc.
    ****Since alot of documents are needed and multiple parties are involved chances are time may have been waste in gathering the documents ****
    3. Stage 3 – All the documents are submitted to Bank of America.
    4. Stage 4 – It takes 15 days for Bank of America to scan the documents into there system.
    5. Stage 5 – Usually wait 1 and a half month to be assigned Phase 1 negotiator.
    6. Stage 6 – Phase 1 negotiator ONLY reviews that all the documents are in file. This will take 30-45 days.
    7. Stage 7 – Phase 1 negotiator then submits the file over to Phase 2 negotiator.
    8. Stage 8 – Phase 2 negotiator has 30 business dates to review the file. (If no response within 30 days than instruct sellers agent to have the file esclated for review) Negotiator 2 orders the BPO and if one was ordered before he/she will again order a new BPO if it is older than 60 days, requests an updated: (a) sellers past 2 month banks statement, (b) YTD paystub (c) 2 years of income tax documents (AGAIN) (d) buyers – bank statement – ability to pay, social security number, date of birth, agents license number .. etc.
    9. Stage 9 – Buyer and seller submits the requested documents
    ***Although you can submit your share of the documents you cannot be sure the Seller will submit his documents on time. So usually time is waste until the other party submits the documents – 1 to 2 weeks ****
    10. Stage 10 – Takes 15 days for the documents to be scanned into the Bank of America system. On the 16th day the Phase 2 negotiator then reviews the file again.
    11 – Phase 11 – Negotiator than submits the offer to the Investor for review.
    12. Stage 12 – Investor has 45 days from receiving the offer to approve or deny it or counter off it.
    13. Stage 13 – If approved then must close within 30 days.

  83. Cbutler says

    We are interested in buying a home that is currently offered by BOA as a short sale. The selling agent has informed us that in order to submit our bid through the Equator system, she needs our Social Security numbers and date of birth up front. She does not have any forms for us to sign, or paperwork informing us of the privacy policy, etc. We have contacted BOA Short Sale department 3 times to question why she needs this. Twice we were told that she did not need it – there is a glitch in the Equator system and she can phone in the bid. Once we were told that she does need it, and the BOA employee agreed that he wouldn’t do it if he were in our shoes, but policy is policy. The selling agent has now become quite aggressive with us, telling us that she knows she is right and refuses to call BOA. Her final words to us were that she couldn’t care less if we put a bid in on this house. My questions are:

    1. Does BOA really need my personal info before I even am allowed to submit a bid? It is my understanding that I should have to sign something authorizing them to use that information.

    2. Is there any way I can work around this selling agent. She is not returning calls to us or our agent now, and we believe that, as she said, she will refuse to submit our bid until we give her our information.

    Thank you for any help you can offer!

    • says


      This is a big issue with the / Equator system. I have had many calls and complaints about a buyer having to submit their social security number to be logged into the system. So let me clarify a few things:
      1. Only the first 5 digits of your social security number are required 123-45-xxxx not the last for digits.
      2. Due to the privacy issues many realtors are just putting in 000-00 for the buyers social security number and it appears to accept that. I am not sure how this will mess up their database for tracking the short sale…but so far it accepts the zeros.
      3. Bank of America is aware of the issue of buyers not wanting to submit their social security numbers and is trying to have it fixed in the Equator system.

      I hope this helps and have the Realtor put in the 5 zeros. If the short sale gets accepted and it is needed to close then I am sure you can supply the correct info.


  84. Vicki says

    my offer got accepted by the seller in June and the BPO was done in October. We just learned that the loan was sold by BOA. The sellers agent won’t answer any call or emails. What can I do.

  85. Maria says

    Thank you for all of your posts. They are very helpful. Hoping you can provide guidance for me. My husband and I are in the military and relocated from Northern CA in 2006. After renting our home out (we were unable to sell it when we had to transfer due to the tanking market), the renters left about the same time as we received notice that one of us is being medically retired. Knowing about the impending forced separation (and finances cut in half), we started the short sale process in May. BOA received the application but did not put it in their system for almost 45 days. After constantly calling them to resolve this issue, our application being assigned to a second negotiator because the first one was backed up, and 6 months wait; the short sale application was with the Mortgage Investor for over 45 days when the buyers backed out. We provided BOA the information on the first buyers backing out in the same correspondence (was via e-mail since the negotiator will not answer her phone….) that also contained all of the new buyer information-all terms were identical to the first contract. BOA closed our application. We had to get it re-opened and tried to continue where we left off. Now, the second buyers backed out since they expected this to be near the final stage. Any suggestions on how to speed up the process when we find a third buyer? You previously mentioned you have a negotiator contact in the area. What could he/she do to help us? Would you please provide me their contact information?
    Much obliged

  86. greg r says

    update from last post, my paralegal advised us that they contacted the sellers attorney and he said he called b of a and they changed the loan number and they will not answer any questions with out the new loan number, however the seller refuses to answer the calls or mail from their attorney what can i do

    thank you

    • says


      Unfortunately, this is an issue. I hope the reason that the seller is not answering calls or emails is because they are away on vacation. Many short sales fall apart because the seller goes silent and is off the grid. As with any real estate transaction you can not purchase the property without the sellers involvement and approval. Unfortunately a buyer typically does not know the circumstances of the seller other than they are having a financial hardship. The sellers could be in the middle of bankruptcy, divorce and even worse…a life threatening illness or death in the family.

      I would have the selling agent get in contact with the seller and try to resolve the communication issue and gather the necessary data and documents. If there is a new loan number there will need to be a new authorization letter. Also, you need to make sure that they are onboard with signing closing docs once the short sale is approved. If this is not the case then you need to seriously consider a different property.

      Bank of America has standardized language that discusses their right to pursue the deficiency from the seller. They might also require a promissory note or cash to close from the seller. Make sure the seller is aware of this and is onboard with following through with a short sale and preventing a foreclosure.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes.


  87. LONG SALE says

    Am I close to Bank of America sending my file to the investor (Fannie Mae)?

    *3-4 weeks ago BPO’s were done, last I heard we were waiting for them to be uplodaded into B of A’s System.
    *A law firm representing Citi (1st mortgage holder) is sending a payoff figure to the listing agent. The listing agent will then send that to the Title Company and B of A. She will also send an updated HUD to B of A. She also requested an updated pre-approval letter from me.

    Am I close??? By the way, Citi has already agreed to the short sale.

    • says

      AJ –

      You are nearing the end. I do have one question and my brain is a bit foggy from the holidays…sio I apologize. You mentioned that Citi is the first mortgage holder. So what is B of A’s role in this? Second Mortgage Holder?

      Make sure the updated HUD is 100% accurate and covers everything. You do not want to miss any back taxes or past due HOA fees or liens. This is the last and final chance to present all the required dollars needed to get clear title on the property.


  88. LONG SALE says

    Hi Craig,

    Yes, B of A is the 2nd mortgage holder – my apologies on that confusion. Great to hear that I am near the end…but will really believe it when I get the keys. I know the B of A loan is with Fannie Mae and they will ultimateley have to finalize it but I have a contact at Fannie Mae that can help! I’ll keep everybody updated. Thanks for the help Craig.

    • says

      AJ –

      How big is the 2nd mortgage with Bank of America? They tend to be a pain in the butt with their second mortgages. When they are the first mortgage holder they give a maximum of $3,000 to pay off the second. Most second lien holders will take 10% of the second mortgage as a pay-off…or 5% of the 1st mortgage payoff. Hopefully Bank of America will play ball and keep the short sale moving.

  89. Leila says

    Please Help!!! I've been under contract for 6 1/2 months and no one knows nothing. I've call BOA and of course because I dont have the authorization they wont tell me the status of the home. My realtor has been calling and hasnt heard from the third party who handling the short sale. My attorney hasnt heard anything either. I should be hearing something by the 15th but what Im afraid of is the seller is going to need an extension again. I dont know what to do

    • says


      This is a very frustrating process. Do you know what has been done with the file? If you can have the negotiator find out what has been doe and who has the file you can decode what is going on. Many of the Bank of America short sales are beginning to break loose and get approved unless there is something wrong with the file. We just had another one approved today.

      Let me know what you find out.

  90. Carolina says

    H E L P! My husband & I submitted an offer on 7/7/09, we went months without hearing anything except that they were working on it. We continued to look for other homes because it was taking so long, but truthfully, our hearts were/ARE set on this one BofA short sale 🙁 we finally had “verbal” acceptance in November 2009, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, we actually had 2 offers accepted, one for the BoA nightmare & another short sale that was NOT BoA, we hadn’t really done much research regarding the inept, incompetent, incapable, middle school drop outs that run BofA & their short sale department so without thinking twice we chose to go with the BofA home since we had waited on it the longest. Horrible decision 🙁 3 weeks after getting “verbal approval”, at the 11th hour, we find out that the title company had to reject the file from moving forward since the mentally incompetent BofA negotiatior made a simple mistake on the approval letter. The worst part; they won’t fix THEIR mistake, instead, they sent the file all the way to the back of the line to start the short sale process all over again. This was the beginning of December (2009). Here we are, January 5, 2010 & no home. we have a perfectly good loan, money for down payment & closing, everything is ready to go, except for BofA. The best they can do is tell the listing agent that they’ve assigned a phase 2 negotiator & then not return calls or answer emails/calls/SMOKE SIGNALS for a month before saying the file is “escalated”, meanwhile, we still have no home to live in. Sorry for the long rant, just had to get it off my chest. Anyways, what are the possibilities that we will get into this house in time for the tax credit expiration date of 4/30? We are at a turning point & debating whether or not to walk, but we are the ONLY buyer & think to ourselves that somewhere deep in that big, tough, brainless machine that is BofA, there is a slight bit of interest in saving $…but then, maybe they are THAT retarded…or astute? or…just plain old incapable.

    • says


      I do not want to say that Bank of America is not capable of making a mistake. However, I find it very strange that the title company had to reject the short sale closing docs for a error that Bank of America would not fix. I would go out on a limb and guess that there was an error made by the title company and they are blaming it on Bank of America. Typically a title company will not do a full title search when they submit the HUD to Bank of America to save costs and man hours. Then Bank of America approves the numbers on the HUD and the title company runs a full title search AFTER the short sale is approved. This is when the big “AH SH-T!!” happens. Then you get the “we did not know about this lien or the HOA fees or this fee until we ran the full title search. Once the short sale is approved by Bank of America you can not go back and change things that were missed.

      I would speak with the title company and find out EXACTLY what the error was.


  91. says

    There were two mortgages out on the property, the 2nd being with CW/Bank of America. The first bank agreed rather quickly to the short sale, within a month. However, bank of america has 2ND lien and  have been working and BOA/countrywide since the beginning of september on a short sale. They say they have everything they need and then when we held it up quite considerably.
    That is a frustrating reply from the paralegal. Bank of America has been recently making a lot of deals and pushing short sales through. If it is not moving in the system, something is usually wrong. Your negotiator needs to find out where it is and what they are waiting for. Usually they are waiting for the negotiator to get assigned and that takes the longest amount of time. IHowever, if your BPO was done in December and still nothing then either your file has aged and needs to be refreshed or something else is holding it up. PLEASE MOVE ON THE SHORT SALE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  92. Scott says

    You wrote yesterday that you just had a BofA short sale close.While we appreciate that you can't give specifics, can you let us know some of the general aspects of it so that we can compare it to our own processes? When was it submitted and what % of the payoff did they accept? Any PMI?
    I am at my wit's end. I'm a buyer with a competent agent who is not fully knowledgable on short sales. Most everything she does is at my direction, and is done quickly and effectively. The seller's agent is a CDPE in a fairly large agency, although he has never corresponded with our agent. The voicemail on his contact phone is full.
    Contact is left up to his office manager, who I suspect is his wife (same last name). No information is offered unless solicited by us, and even then, it's hit-or-miss.  "Have you called BofA" receives the non-answer "I haven't heard anything." They didn't know the investor is Fannie, even though I can find that out about myself online, and they didn't know the house had PMI.
    Complaint to their broker was met with the fact that "He's our in-house short sale expert, he even got written up in Smart Money magazine." Of course, a Google search revealed that in a 2,000 page article on the housing mess, he was quoted in one sentence as saying he took an online course that suggested he act in what appeared to me an unethical manner. No follow up on whether he thought this was a good/bad idea.
    File is supposedly went to PMI on 11/23, and was then to go to investor. BofA estimated 30 days, but when these dates pass, seller's agent's wife claims they meant 30 business days. (I've been in business for 26 years…when we mean to say 30 business days, we say '6 weeks').
    Sorry for rant, just looking for a reason to hang on.

  93. LONG SALE says

    Scott, I feel your pain!  You can see my details in an above post but the listing agent in my deal is worthless.  She takes no initative.  I have actually been the one making phone calls and pushing things along where I can.  We have been waiting for a payoff figure to be sent from a law office since Dec. 22nd – thats according to the listing agent.  I call up the law office myself and find out they are still waiting on numbers from the 1st bank (citi) and that they requested them in December and again in January.  I called up Citi but they refuse to talk to me.  My realtor is good but I understand he has other cases to work on and can't focus all of his attention on mine. 
    Can somebody fill me in on the PMI aspect of things and how that fits into this process?  Also my email is is anybody wants to communicate about this.

  94. Danyul says

    Craig, I do hope you can help me make sense of this most upsetting and humiliating circumstance.
    What must I do after the Bank (BoA) denies a Short Sale package that never got to Phase 1 of the Short Sale process, but instead gives me a modification instead? What must I do, for the realestate agent that found a buyer for the Short Sale of my home, wants to sue me for cancelling the contract with him and the buyer's agent. I never requested in writting or verbally that I wanted to cancel the contract with the two agents at anytime; therefore, am I liable for BoA giving me a modification and denying the short sale offer?   The two agents say I owe them thousands of dollars for canceling the contract, but I did not cancel the contracts at all. The contract I signed with the agent states I would have to pay him if I backed out. The Bank decided to give me a modification instead. I do not understand what is going on. I did not know I would be penalized for BoA denying the short sale.

    • says


      This is certainly an awkward position you are in with getting approval for a mortgage modification. A few things you need to do is speak to legal counsel to protect yourself and know your rights and options regarding the contract with the buyer. In Florida you have certain rights and protection if the lender does not approve a short sale offer. I am a bit surprised on the realtors actions if this was a legitimate error.

      I am not surprised with the Bank of America mix up. If you had ever requested a mortgage modification with Bank of America it get locked into the system and it is very difficult to cancel the mortgage modification and get a short sale going. We have one such customer that tried a mortgage modification and then decided to do a short sale. It took over a dozen phone calls and multiple letters from the seller to get the issue corrected in the system. Bank of America kept canceling the short sale saying that they were working on a “mortgage modification”. We would have the seller call…cancel the mortgage modification…write a letter stating to cancel the mortgage modification and proceed with a short sale. We went through the process at least a half dozen times before they got it corrected.

  95. Marissa says

    Wow, Scary stuff here! We put an offer on a short sale, Oct. 24th 2009, have not heard a single word. Today my agent called and said we have a counter offer from the Bank, Bank of America. The offer was for 22,000 more which was fine, still in comps. We signed the counter offer and she faxed it back to the listing agent's something or other, I can't remember what she called her purchasing manager, not sure. We went to look at the house again, still love it. Seller is still living there and is actually in the process of buying another home I guess. He made a comment about the listing agent being hard to get a hold of.  So anyway I guess my question is where am I in the process? Any suggestions are completly welcome. Thank you!

    • says


      A counter offer is very good. This is typically the final stages of a short sale. I hope the listing agent got the response back to Bank of America within 24 hours and has been following up. It is a hurry up and wait system and they require immediate response or they close the file. Please make sure they submitted a new and finalized HUD and the counter offer and that it is registered into the system. Also make sure all of the sellers financials are in place. If this was all done they would then be drafting closing docs for you…and if it is a good Bank of Negotiator you will have those within a day or two.

      Let me know how it goes. Stay on the listing agent…they need to push through this final phase to get it approved!

  96. Bruce says

    I am in the process of buying a short sale home.  The first buyer backed out, after he got an approval from B of A, and the second wanted $9,000. he couldn't pay, but I can.  I got the approval from the second, and am waiting for B of A. B of A . They have completed the BPO. We have been waiting since October.
    Now my realtor said that we have to go through Equator.  
    How long do you think it will be?  After all the short sale was already approved for the first buyer.

    • says


      Unfortunately you got the “new buyer start over” with Bank of America. It is very tricky switching buyers with Bank of America. 90% of the time you have to start completely over. It is very frustrating. So far we have been able to keep all of our short sales with Bank of America out of the Equator system. We had one put into the system and we got it put back in the old way. However, many of my colleagues are doing the first transactions with Equator and just recently have had a few get approved in 75 days.

      Something very important…make sure your HUD is accurate with Bank of America. Now that you are starting over you need to make sure any taxes and HOA fees are pro-rated appropriately. If they approved a short sale from 6 months ago those number on that HUD are old and no longer valid. This will cause a significant short fall at the end and every one will look at you to cover the cost. Also, try to get the second mortgage approved so you can be sure that the $9,000 will cover the pay off. Remember Bank of America will contribute a maximum of $3,000 towards the second mortgage payoff.

      Good Luck.

  97. LONG SALE says

    Hi Scott,
    I haven't been able to find out the exact loan amounts yet, but here's another question for you or anybody else that might be able to answer.  I did get some updates this week from the law office and 1st mortgage holder.  Apparently the law office was waiting on something from Citi and vice versa, so they were at a standstill.  Now Citi has requested only the "fees and costs" from the law office and then said they will send over a payoff figure to B of A.  That part makes sense to me – even though I don't know what this law firm is exactly doing.
    Second, the listing agent spoke with the negotiatior at B of A.  The BPO's are in the system now and  The listing agent sent the negotiator an updated HUD and the negotiator said that she has to send the file to the PMI Company so they can approve the payoff amount.
    Here's my questions: Can the file go to the PMI Company before they receive the payoff figure from Citi?  Also, I checked on Fannie Mae's website and found that it is a fannie mae backed loan….Will this also have to go to Fannie Mae for approval also??

  98. Leila says

    Jan 06, 2010:They requested some fees be taken off the Hud-1 and the file has been sent back to investor review. I am trying to push to close. I have already expressed the urgency of the file to the lender. As soon as it is back from investor review I will let you know. I am still waiting on a response for turn time.
    Dec 18, 2009: The loan is in still in  processing, I agree it has been taking normal than usual again I have a negotiator that never answers phone, it has been escalated at this point to manager for decision. There is nothing wrong with the file that requires more attention. I know for a fact it is in Freddie Mac review because they are saying it is still pending review since 11-10-09 and I have escalated that as well with a manager. As soon as I get an answer I will advise you.

  99. Scott says

    Long Sale,
    On the payoff, I suspect Citi will provide PMI with a payoff range since the exact amount depends on the exact closing date, or PMI could probably calculate this range itself. Also, can't speak for Citi but our last update from BofA was that our file was going to PMI then straight to Fannie Mae.

  100. LONG SALE says

    Scott – B of A is the one sending mine to PMI also – I hope it goes straight to FAnnie Mae after for approval also…..Really getting worried that this may all not work out.

  101. LONG SALE says

    The listing agent just told me that the file that is with Bank of America has been sent to PMI for approval.  How can it be sent to PMI for approval without the payoff figures from the first loan holder?  Also, why the hell would a 2nd loan have PMI?  Usually only first loans have PMI!
    I smell something fishy with B of A.

    • says

      Long Sale,

      This is a tricky one and it is hard to determine what is going on without actively working the file. Bank of America is typically a royal pain in the butt when they are the second mortgage holder and not the first mortgage holder. It is a strange phenomenon why their second mortgage team is this way when their first mortgage team is fairly flexible with writing off losses. Obviously it has to do with their investors and their balance sheets on how their bad debt is handled.

      Anyway, Bank of America typically likes to throw the entire burden of the loss to PMI companies…who in return are basically like property insurance companies post hurricanes who financially cannot handle all of the losses. You then throw in Fannie Mae and it makes a very complex short sale negotiation.

      The short sale can easily drift into “never never land” if you are not on top of every aspect of the short sale process. You need to keep actively working the file and prodding it through each step. Every time there is a hand off to a new company there is a chance of it getting lost in the system and becoming stagnant.

      Stay with it and it will get it done.

  102. LONG SALE says

    Thank you very much for your response.  Do you know why the 2nd loan would have PMI in the first place?  The owner doesn't seem to be aware of it and it is a cash equity loan – doesn't seem like it would need PMI.  Could it possibly be it was lender paid mortgage insurance and the owner is not aware of that?  And if that is the case, would it have been Countrywide (the processeor) or Fannie Mae (the investor) that was paying the MI for the loan?

    • says

      Long Sale – I have no idea why there is PMI on a second mortgage. It is very strange…but then again…nothing surprises me anymore after doing these short sales. I am going to check around with some of my other colleagues and see if they can shed any more light on this.

  103. LEILA says


    • says

      Leila –

      This is great news. If they start scrutinizing closing costs and fees you are at the end of the process. Your short sale will be approved. Bank of America does not get to this point unless everything looks good. They would have kicked the short sale back if there were major issues.

      There still can be a few issues to overcome such as the investor requiring the seller to sign a promissory note or bring cash to close. This can derail the deal if the seller is unwilling to agree to these terms. Other potential issues can be inaccurate HOA fees, taxes and any missed liens such as a second mortgage if any of these items were not searched at the beginning and prorated out for 6-9 months.

      Assuming you have a good negotiator handling your file at Bank of America, you should have closing documents imminently. We typically get many of our closing docs on a Saturday when the phones at Bank of America are not ringing.

  104. Scott says

    Well, I think my purchase is heading for the toilet.
    The seller's agent, who has been inept and unresponsive throughout, fired of fan e-mail to our agent claiming that us asking for him for an update every 10 to 15 days (when he made us acknowledge up front that updates would occur weekly) has caused him to pester BofA to the point where BofA is no longer answering his e-mails. He included a whole buch of other admissions that he'd probably not want an attorney for his client to read. He ended by advising us to basically shut up and wait for him to call.
    That was Friday.
    My problem with this CDPE is that I believed that they were not keeping a close eye on the file and that it may fall inactive or closed due to inattention.
    Three days ago he wrote to advise that he "found out" that BofA had e-mailed a request for updated financials and that the e-mail address contained a typo. How he found out, I don't know. For my business, any e-mail address that gets the url correct will be delivered to a general file.
    He wrote again yesterday to say he "tried" to call customer service (pet peeve: you called or you didn't) and today he wrote that he e-mailed and faxed to the negotiator and has an e-mail address for the supervisor. Three e-mails in 3 days from a guy who rarely answers e-mails within 72 hours.
    I think I know where this is going. Create the appearance of a Herculean effort, followed by a blame game based on conventional wisdom that BofA is just really hard to deal with.

  105. scott says

    Craig – I have a BofA approval on my Short Sale (took about 2 years!).  They are paying off the HELOC for $3k.  My question is – I feel uncomfortable not having something in writing from them agreeing that they won't pursue me for the other $50k I am deficient for on the HELOC.  In CA, I understand that they can still go after you – any ideas?  Thanks–Scott

    • says


      Who is your HELOC with? If it is not with Bank of America then you have to negotiate the short sale with your HELOC lender. They will supply a settlement statement and closing docs that will define the terms of the settlement. Bank of America pays a maximum of $3,000 to a second lien holder, but never calls or negotiates a settlement with them. If your HELOC is $50K then they typically will settle for 10% or $5,000. You would thus have a $2,000 short fall that will need to be paid to remove the lien.

  106. says

    I am working on a short sale for a client. He original mortgage was with Countrywide now Bank of America. I have been told by BofA that if the loan is current that the investor, in this case, Fannie Mae, will not approve a short sale. Is this your experience? Any information that you have would be helpful

    • says


      We have done a few short sales without having our buyers miss any payments. Overwhelmed lenders use the triage method to prioritize short sales and the ones closest to foreclosure get the most attention…thus the ones missing payments are obvious candidates for shortsales.

      Did you submit a short sale package to Bank of America for approval and have it rejected or was this a verbal conversation? I would submit the short sale package and have the sellers fill out their financial statement on the Bank of America personal financial statement forms. As long as they are truly in financial distress and the are facing imminent default [30 to 120 days] they should qualify for a short sale. If they tell you in writing that your seller needs to miss payments to qualify for a short sale then you may have yourself an interesting opportunity as a lawyer to help your client.

  107. LONG SALE says

    Your not going to belive this, I barely believe this – but the short sale was approved as of Thursday last week.  The file was only at PMI for 1 day – that has to be some sort of record….and it never went to Fannie Mae for approval.  Hoping to get written approval this week so I can move ahead with my mortgage application.  Thanks for all your help!

  108. Bank of America "short" sale says

    Hi, Craig.  I've followed your post frequently as it's been almost a year since we made our initial offer on a short sale.  A very long story short:  We had an approval–yes an actual Demand Letter–last August but through a series of BofA bureaucracy, it didn't close soon enough before the BPOS and paperwork expired.  We were set to go with our loan funded in November, when we heard we went back to the end of the line, AGAIN.  Now, the Phase 2 negotitor is in contact and countered our offer by about 22k.  However, we had an APPROVAL at the lower offer before.  Additionally, we had an FHA appraisal done already at the lower, approved price, so we cannot go back and increase our purchase price and loan amount.  And the FHA appraisal is attached to the property via case number, and cannot be sold to an FHA buyer at a higher price until April, unless that buyer has cash to make up the difference.  Right, that's likely.  Do you have any experience with BofA going along with an initial offer although they countered at a higher one?  Signed, Sleepless in Denver

    • says

      Hi Sleepless in Denver,

      It is very frustrating to read your post as the original approval from Bank of America could have been easily extended with a simple phone call and email to the Bank of America closing agent. We do this all the time when we need to extend the closing date. Second, we recently had an FHA appraisal be $10K below the offer and Bank of America approval price. We sent the FHA appraisal, amended contract and new HUD to Bank of America with the lower price. We had new closing docs in a few hours. Bank of America can not mess around with an FHA appraisal. These appraisals typically are much more detailed and have very strict guidelines they have to follow. Lenders do not mess around with them or try to play games.

      I do not want to throw anyone under the bus…but this is one of those times that you really need an experienced Realtor or negotiator handling the transaction and can work through these minor issues. A good pep talk may get the person handling the negotiation for you and the seller back on track and working for everyone’s best interest versus just being a messenger.

      Signed, Frustrated in Florida

      PS – I lived in Castle Rock area for 7 years.

  109. Bank of America "short" sale says

    Thanks for the response, Craig.  It gave me some hope.  I forgot to mention the house was supposed to go to sale today.  They did withdraw their own bid and postpone the sale–for over 30 days instead of just one week.  This seems a good sign to me since the phase 2 negotiator himself likely submitted the postponement, as well as the 30-day timeframe, meaning perhaps he will issue a Demand Letter soon giving us 30 days to close. 
    Incidentally, I'm a mortgage broker (for 11 years) and my husband is a Realtor with Re/Max (12 years).  Although my husband is an excellent agent, the listing agent is the one we count on to get this pushed through, and he is not so excellent.  He does have a facilitator handling the transaction though, and she seems knowledgeable.  We ourselves are fairly knowledgeable about the process, and have helped things along the way.  Being in the business, we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into!  But I'm a dog with a bone on this one, and I'll fight it every step until it's all over, hopefully for the better for us.
    Castle Rock is a nice town.  We're up north of Denver in the Westminster/Broomfield area.
    Signed, Hopeful despite many face-slaps this past year

    • says

      Thanks for the clarification. It appears Bank of America is doing the right things. Being in the mortgage biz and your husband a Realtor, I guess you know the transaction is only as strong as the weakest link…in this case it is listing agent and they are one of the most important people driving the success of the short sale.

      Let me know how everything turns out.

  110. buyer's remorse says

    Hoping perhaps you have some input on this, as a first time buyer we've had our offer in with BofA on a short sale for over four months. Two weeks ago they cancelled the pending auction (which had been postponed 4 times already), however, we've yet to hear if they've even reviewed the file. Apparently, according to the negotiator they have all of the financial information necessary and are not requiring anything else at this point, and in his experience a cancelled auction is a good sign. The negotiator is checking Equator daily and trying to keep us posted in this increasingly frustrating process. We haven't locked in our own financing yet as we've been pre-approved and didn't want to lock in any rates until we had an official approval on our offer. Our mortgage broker is ready to go as soon as we have word and has our information updated every week so we dont' have to hunt for anything. Since we've had our offer in for so long, we're getting concerned that at this rate we won't even be able to take advantage of the first time buyer's tax credit even at the extended time frame.
    We've been so frustrated that now they have a "no exceptions" policy to the online process that we can't even approach the idea of escalating and have heard horror stories of BofA "accidentally" misplacing files if they are bugged too much. I've been toying with the idea of writing a letter to the president of Bof A but have little hope that it would do any good. As a buyer, do you have any suggestions that will help us to "assist" BofA in processing our file? I'm guessing, no, but it can't hurt to ask.
    Buyer's Remorse

  111. says

    Homecomings had my 1st and Bank of of America had my 2nd.  I have been approved for both.  I the settlement from the 2nd (BofA).  They are accepting $3000 and not requesting a promissory note.  They do have a line saying they reserve the right to go after the balance.  I owe $45,000 total on the 2nd.  Do they usually pursue that right?

  112. JayFont says

    We just did/signed our "dry closing" last week on a friday, that was the 15th . How long does B of A take to record the funds? my agent said that it should only take a minimum of 3 days . Also we have no contact number for who the negotiator is, all we have is an email which he does not reply (normal?) We are about to pay our loan lock again to keep our rate.                                                                                Any advice on how to proceed with this or should i just back out?

    • says


      I assume Bank of America has approved the short sale and has submitting closing docs? This is the only time I would ever do a “dry closing”. In the closing docs BofA gives very specific closing instructions and needs to approve the final HUD. This final step usually takes a few hours from Bank of America once the final funds are wired to them.

      Is this the situation with you or did you do a “dry closing” before you had the approval docs from Bank of America?

  113. Marissa says

    Hello Craig,
    Thanks so much for your response! Well just an update. Have not heard anything, (two weeks now) since we signed the counter offer. In the mean time another Short sale contacted us, they submitted our offer two weeks ago and called this past wednesday to say lets proceed. Monday they are supposed to open escrow.  What does this mean, I am so confused I have tried reading all your posts but it all sounds foreign to me! So I guess again my question is does opening escrow on a short sale even have any meaning?  Thanks for your help

    • says

      Hi Marissa,

      Everyone uses different terms. Open Escrow means that good faith money has been placed in teh hands of an escrow agent. This can be a title agent or an independent escrow company. This may have little to do with the short sale being approved. When we write short sales contracts we open escrow at two points depending upon how the buyer and seller agree to the terms:

      1. At execution of the contract between the buyer and the seller the contract becomes effective and escrow is opened. The short sale package is then submitted to the lender for approval.
      2. Upon execution of the cotract between the buyer and the seller the contract is then sent to the lender for approval. Once the short sale is approved by the lender escrow is opened.

      Soooo….are you in situation #1 or #2?

  114. Leila says

    HI, Craig!! Since I wrote you last about  fees be taken off the Hud-1 I haven't received a response yet about the approval of the sale. Do you know how long it usually takes? Its been since Jan. 06,2010 when I received the email. Uggh Im so frustrated. Its been 7 months since I've been under contract.

    • says

      Hi Leila,

      Please have your negotiator do some investigating. The file could have been accidentally closed or stalled for some reason. Usually the process moves very quick when it gets to the final phase and is submitted to the investor.

  115. Joyce says

    Please, help. I am trying to buy a short sale from CW since JULY 17th of 2009! Over a 6 months now and I still don't have an approval. In December the negotiator said the bank wanted the deal closed by the end of Janurary. Well it's January 25th and we still don't have a mere approval in over 6 months. Does anybody have a contact, e-mail or address I can use to send a letter explaining the journey? I drove by the property and there were people living in it.

    • says

      Hi Joyce,

      Do you know what phase negotiator your file is in? Has it been submitted to the investor? Sometimes the investor process takes a bit longer as there maybe PMI and other items that need to be addressed by the investor.

  116. scott says

    Placed an offer on a short sale on Aug 1. The offer was consistent with comps for the area and I estimated it to be about 90% of the loan balance at the time (using public information and reasonable interest rates, assumed when she may have stopped payments). The seller is a texbook hardship, losing job and spouse simultaneously. My wife and I each have credit scores >810, will put down 20% without selling our current home, so financing is a lock.
    Offer was accepted and sent to BofA. BPO's were done in September and the file then laid unattended. New negotiator assigned Nov 1, and by Nov 23 the file was sent to mortgage insurer and Fannie for approval. BofA stated this would take about 30 days, but given the holidays, we didn't expect to hear anything until January.

    10 days ago BofA requested a contract extension (something we offered 2 months ago but seller's agent said was unnecessary) and updated financials of seller.

    Seller's agent still has had no direct contact with negotiator and is getting all information through customer service. She believes the file is still at PMI of Fannie, even though we are now past 60 days on that phase.

    Today the Washington Post reports that the feds are exiting the mortgage markets and some feel this is premature. I have feared that rates were going to rise anyway, and this pretty much guarantees it.

    My question: Has anybody here, as a buyer, ever contacted any uppity-ups at BofA in an attempt to have them place pressure down the chain to get a deal done? If so, did it work?

    My extension expires Feb 15, which will be 6 1/2 months from acceptance of offer. At that time I will probably join the ranks of the "impatient" and bail on this house. google_protectAndRun(“ads_core.google_render_ad”, google_handleError, google_render_ad);

    • says


      Buyers are unfortunately not able to contact the lender or work on the short sale unless they are given authorization to do so by the seller. It is the seller and the seller’s agent to escalate and put pressure on Bank of America. All you can do is be patient and put pressure on your agents to move the process along as efficiently as possible.

  117. Losing Faith in B of A says

    This is by far the most informative blog that I have come across.  Thank you for the information and your expertise.  I hope you can give me some guidance with my short sale.
    My wife and I made an offer on our dream house that was accepted in August and then quickly sent to B of A with a short sale package.  We were assigned a negotiator December 21st and told that we would hear something within 15 business days.  The realtor on the sellers side seems to have adequate knowledge of the process and dealing with B of A…. until recently.  We have been given several self imposed deadlines from B of A that haven't been met.  On the 13th  of December (the day before we were to hear an answer) we were told that we would have to go through the Equator system.  The sellers submitted all new financial information and the realtor promises that all information is up to date.  Today we were told that the appraisal was reviewed. 
    This is all of the information that has been provided and I don't know what questions to ask to get a true timeline.  You mentioned in a previous post that you have not had to go through the Equator system.  Being that we are almost two weeks into the Equator system should I be asking that we be returned to the old system?  Do you have any suggestions on what questions I should ask to get an accurate timeline?

    • says

      Losing Faith –

      Thanks for posting. We just uploaded six Bank of America short sales into Equator. Processes are changing daily. 3 months ago no one at Bank of America even knew what Equator was or how to use it. Now it appears that they are beginning to get people trained and the system has the potential to be more efficient. We are charting new paths daily and hope they will eventually lead to success.

      So far the Equator system looks promising however it is easy to mess something up and get the file stalled.

      Good luck and I will keep everyone updated on our short sale progress in Equator.

  118. Marissa says

    Got some new information today… Our realtor said the First house which we signed a counter offer on said "The bank is getting close…they are saying 2 to 4 weeks max for full approval" Once we get "full approval" is that when we can wrap it up and close for real? Thanks so much

    • says


      This is great news. As soon as you have the closing docs you can close as fast as you can get your financing completed. If they have verbally approved the offer I would start working with a lender on a loan so you do not have to wait as long after you receive the closing docs.

  119. Bruce says

    An update on my situation.  The realtor working with the bank was able to take my case out of the Equator system.  I wonder if this will move things along quicker.

    • says


      We have done several jumbo loans with Bank of America. There is no difference on how they are handled. They go through the same process and scrutiny as other non-jumbo short sales. If you need me to refer you to a good short sale expert in California please let me know.


  120. Randy says

    Craig, Yesterday I got a call saying the negotiator wanted me to sign an addendum stating that I will close within 30 days of approval. Is this normal? Am I close? We have been in this since october with bank of america. Thanks for your time.

  121. Heather says

    My husband and I made a full price offer on a short sale back in July 2009. We found out that the the home was a countrywide loan and now is being handled by BOA. They have done 2 bpo's which the last one was completed 2 weeks before Christmas. We were told by the listing realtor the week before Christmas that the bank had decided on the number and we would get some sort of an answer in about 3 days. It is now the end of January and the realtor will not respond to my realtors emails or calls. we are coming up on 7 months and still have no idea what is going on. Does anyone have any ideas or advice. We really just want to get a yes or no..

    • says


      Welcome to Bank of America short sales! It appears that the listing agent has no news or nothing good to give you an update on…so they go silent. Try to find out what phase negotiator the file is with at Bank of America and if it has been moved to the new Equator system. At this point your file could be aging nicely like a fine red wine. Sometimes it is tough for an agent to give someone an update if they are not familiar with the Bank of America’s dysfunctional process.

  122. jane says

    Hi craig,
    after reading all the post, it makes me happy to know that someone here can probably get me clear answer. its been so long since the bank accept our offer. the short sale process start since August and then our realtor sent this email:
    We are now in what Bank of America calls their phase 2 of the short sale approval process.  There are 5 phases.  This phase is when they send out the offer to the investors on the loan for their approval.  It takes about 10 business days.  I hope to know more by the end of next week.
     what is this means?are we close? how long you think it will take to close from this phase? thank you

    • says

      Jane –

      Phase 2 is good. It means that you have passed the initial parameters for Bank of America to accept the short sale. Once you get to this point several things happen that can slow the progress. First if the loan is backed by Fannie Mae it will have to go to them for specific review, if the loan has PMI they will have to negotiate with the PMI company, and finally if the investor has any special requirements or if they are one of the “special” investors that make Bank of America look like saints.

      Depending upon these items the process can be very quick or add a fair amount of time to the process. Just make sure that the seller continues to update their financials and they stay on top of the process so it does not stall out.

  123. scott says

    Craig, have you closed any BofA short sales where the origination date was August 1, 2009 or later? If FNMA had had one of your deals since November 23, 2009, what would you be thinking/doing right now?
    The reason I ask is that I think our seller's agent is overwhelmed by the trifecta of BofA/FNMA/mortgage insurance. My agent is experienced and professional, just not in short sales. But given that she showed us 50+ homes before we found this one, I'd rather bail on the house than bail on her.

  124. Paul Chenowith says

    Currently I am a buying side of a short sale.  The house has two mortgages on it both with CW/BofA.  In general, is having both mortgages with the same lender is a more of an advantage to get the short sale approved?

  125. Bruce says

    Thanks.  I wonder if it is effective to call the bank yourself and tell them you are a buyer of a short sale property and that you want immediate action.  

  126. Jami says

    We are trying to short sale our house in Florida.  We received an offer on May 7, 2009.  We received one of those "form" letters dated May 29 explaining the process takes 30-40 days.  THEN received one of thiose "form" letters again dated Sept. 7.  Finally Nov. 24 we negotiated an agreement where we are to pay an additional$7500.  And now on Dec. 2 we were told it is now on hold by the Mortgage Investors and will be released in 30 days.  Well, 30 days have passed and we are into day 60 with no outcome. 
    We only had one mortgage, with down payment and monthly mortgage payments put at least $120,000 into this house for the two years we lived there.
    Bank of America is doing NOTHING!!

  127. Losing Faith in B of A says

    Craig, thanks for your reply and the updated infromation.  I am still dealing with equator and a few new problems. I am being told that there are 5 steps in the Equator process…. New file, Negotiating, Rejected, Held, Accepted.  As of today we moved from Negotiating to "Held".  I am being told that this is a good sign, but after everything we have gone through I don't know what to believe.  Do you know if this is accurate and if this is truely a sign of an accepted offer?
    Thanks so much….

  128. Calzonan says

    This sounds like a great site, I'm going to favorite and read everything when I get the chance.  I too am trying to buy a 'short sale' home.  We put in an offer at the end of August and was approved by the owner the first week of Sept 2009.  Since then we haven't heard anything.  I've contacted the sellers agent several times and he initially told us that our offer was being put into the new system and it would be much 'quicker'.  Then about 2.5 wks ago the sellers realtor called us and told us that it was really starting to move forward, we'd have an answer within 1 week to 10 days and the bank wanted to close within 45 days.  That was the last we heard anything.  I was told the bank did a BPO, but then the realtor wasn't sure it was done.  The house has now gone into foreclosure and is scheduled to be auctioned 3/24/10.  I'm starting to get really nervous that I've waited all these months for this dream house, and I feel it slipping away.  The realtor told us that there was an offer behind ours, but ours was better and B of A was only looking at one offer at a time.  He's pulled the house off of MLS, but is still showing it to his own clients.  I'm at a loss as to what to do, I've looked at other houses and have not found anything that would work nearly as well as this one for my family.

    • says

      Calzonan –

      Did they put your file into the Equator System? Ask the listing agent what phase negotiator is handling your file. If a phase 2 negotiator is handling your file then things are moving along. However, it sounds like your are still with a phase 1 negotiator since a BPO was just completed. During the short sale process you will have at least 3 BPOs done depending upon if the loan is backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and/or if has PMI.

      The Realtor should only submit one offer at a time to Bank of America because that is how they process short sales. They do not have the capacity to handle multiple offers. Also, if they are negotiating a short sale they will delay the foreclosure of the home. Make sure the listing agent is on top of the foreclosure date as it can fall through the cracks during the short sale process. On a positive side, a March 24th foreclosure date is actually good news as this will expedite your file in the Bank of America system.

  129. Michelle P. says

    Hi, Craig.  You  may remember me from last month–"sleepless in Denver"–I'm a buyer trying to purchase a short sale through B of A; it will be a year next month.  To refresh your memory, we are waiting for another approval after our approval last year "expired" just before closing due to outdated BPOs.  Phase 2 negotiator just came back requesting we increase price by 22k this time around, but we now have an FHA appraisal at the original price which B of A formerly approved.  We sent our response along with the appraisal through the lisitng agent, explaining the problem, but have yet to hear in over two weeks.  My question is this:  is it okay for my buyer's agent to contact the negotiator directly, or will this backfire on us?  The listing agent and his facilitator are doing nothing to get this thing done, and at this point I feel like we have nothing to lose.  We have the negotiator's name and e-mail address.  Thanks for any advice….

    • says

      Hi Michelle aka “Sleepless in Denver” – I do remember you!

      This sounds really frustrating. I can not advise on what to do in this situation since the listing agent and facilitator are the only ones “authorized” to negotiate with Bank of America.

      If you present this to the Phase 2 negotiator:
      1. The original approved short sale documents from BofA
      2. Your FHA appraisal validating your offer price is at fair market value
      3. A well written letter or email explaining items 1 and 2

      There should not be any further discussions or delays with the phase 2 negotiator. Something is wrong with this file that they are asking for an additional $22K more. Is there PMI on the property? A second mortgage?

      Put pressure on the listing agent to get some answers, threaten to walk from the deal. Do what it takes to get a clear picture as to what is going on.

      Let me know how it goes.

  130. Losing Faith in B of A says

    Calzanon, I can't tell you how similar my experience has been… well, maybe I can.  We have so much of a similar timeline of events and circumstances that I questioned if I wrote your post.  You might want to start questioning if their is a second mortgage, PMI, a lien on the house, etc. and some of the questions that Craig refers to in previous posts.  I just discovered a lien and the upcoming auction of the house we are trying to purchase and I am close to giving up hope.  Craig has been very helpful and informative.  I hope he will tell us how we can help him.

    • says

      Thanks Losing Faith in BofA –

      A junior lien can really mess up the works. They are surprises you never want to have at the closing table. We do a full title search at the time of the offer to make sure we catch all of the liens and issues on the property. This gives the sellers and buyers an opportunity to work out a strategy to get the deal done before it gets submitted to the lender.

      Has the junior lien holder been identified and has a payoff been negotiated yet? Bank of America will not negotiate this. The owner or listing agent will have to do the negotiation. Bank of America may or may not pay $3,000 towards the lien…it depends upon what type of lien it is.

  131. Michelle P. says

    UPDATE:  We found out yesterday that our file (which was previously approved at the same price) was going to be CLOSED (and the foreclosure date is in 2 weeks) but the facilitator contacted the phase 2 negotiator again to explain AGAIN that we have an FHA appraisal at the original price, based upon the first approval, and can't go higher.  So the phase 2 negotiator said he submitted it (I don't know exactly what this means–to the investor maybe?) for approval and we should hear in a few days.  This is shocking to me.  The property will be foreclosed in two weeks, and they will wind up getting far less several months from now instead of more money right now, if they don't approve our offer.  Also, when the first foreclosure date came up three weeks ago (they postponed it for a month) the bank's offer was over 15k LESS than our offer on the table!  I'm hoping that whomever the file sits with now has some shred of sense and ethics.  After almost a year, we still have no idea if we'll ever be able to close on this place.

    • says

      Hi Michelle – Just read your updated post. I have been backlogged on my responses.

      This is very good news. The Phase 2 negotiator will be submitting the info to the investor for approval. Usually if they are submitting to the investor the offer is “approved” on paper. I would suspect you will get an answer back this week.

  132. ugeta says

    I am on the buyer side of a short sale and i have been waiting since 8/26/2009 and it's 02/11/2010 and still no answer i really love the house and that is why i am still on the wait for an answer form the bank, the last i heard form my lawyer is that the bank send out at an appraisal and that was on December 2009. i am not sure which step i am in if it's step 2 or step 3 and 4. what should i do does this means the bank will not accept because of the time line i have been waiting? or should i start looking for another house?

    • says


      Who is negotiating the short sale for the seller? If your offer has been submitted in August you should have had much more movement than just an appraisal. Is your lawyer handing the negotiations? Are they in contact with Bank of America on a weekly basis? Bank of America short sales can get significantly delayed if someone is not pushing it through the process.

  133. Calzonan says

    I just spoke the the sellers realtor about the house we've been waiting on since 8/2009.  He said that they had denied the short sale (not our offer, but the short sale) because they were missing some paperwork.  The sellers realtor told them the paperwork had been sent, and they found it, so they continued on with the short sale.  The sellers realtor does not know if a BPO has been done yet but seems to think we'll have an answer 'any day'.  I asked him what stage of negotiations we're in….he didn't know.  I told him how can we have an answer in a couple of days if there's no BPO, we need a BPO to go to the investors to get an answer!!!  Right?  He told me B of A said it would take 6 weeks to get an answer, and that was Jan 1st so he's expecting an answer any day.  I'm just so annoyed by this whole process.  I know other realtors who have closed a short sale, from offer to keys in 28 days!!  This is insanity!

    • says


      Missed this post too. I way very backlogged on my responses. 28 days for a short sale is awesome. This is typically with small banks that can make a decision in 24 to 48 hours and the buyer is a cash buyer.

      I am not sure the seller’s Realtor knows what is going on or has any idea how Bank of America works for a short sale. There is not an “answer any day now” when a BPO has not been completed. Bank of America has a very predictable process and it rarely deviates from it. What they could be referring to is the Phase 1 negotiator is reviewing the file and will have feed back “any day now.” This is far from being approved. I hope I am wrong.

      If you have a Phase 2 negotiator they may have an answer and be ready to submit to the investor for approval. Also Bank of America will CLOSE the file if they are missing paperwork and do not get a response back from the seller in a timely manner.

      There are numerous websites and resources for Realtors to get up to speed on Short Sales and specifically Bank of America short sales. If the selling agent is not comfortable handing a short sale they need to reach out for some help from their piers otherwise they are wasting everyone’s time…especially yours.

  134. Leila says

    HI, Craig well I tried to call everyone to see where Im at in this whole ordeal and again nothing. On the 18th of February it will be 8 months since I've been under contract. I've been waiting since 06 Jan, when they were trying to take off the HUD-1 and I still haven't receive a response. I dont know what else to do……=(

    • says


      Who is negotiating the short sale? Does the Realtor or seller have any insight as to what is going on? If you are 8 months in and have no feedback something is SERIOUSLY wrong with the file. The seller and selling agent can not submit a short sale package to Bank of America, cross their fingers and hope in 8 months it will magically get approved.

      Read through some of my blog posts to see what questions you can ask the listing agent/negotiator or seller to see where you are in the process. It is easy to figure out once they answer a few questions.

  135. Nelta says

    We are trying to sell our property by way of short sale and it has been on the market for over 8 months now.  On the 6th month that the house was on the market, we called the bank and they told us that the asking price (49,000) was at least $20000 higher than the value and we needed to lower the asking price.  We went and lowered the price to $30000 and we immediately received several cash offers and two of them were couple of thousands above the asking price.  We immediately submitted everything that they asked for with the highest offer.  We received an email a week later stating that the offer was too low therefore the offer was rejected and we needed to submit a higher offer but would not tell us how much higher.  We kept calling until someone finally told us that an appraisal has not been done and they will have an appraiser come as soon as possible. How do you reject an offer that they themselves suggested? and  they don't even know how much the house is worth?  An appraisal had been done when we were doing Deed of Lieu of Foreclosure 3 months ago and that's when they were able to come up with the figure but now they're saying that the value of a deed in lieu is not the same as a short sale appraisal so we had to have another one done.  A new appraisal was done last week and we're still waiting for words back from BOA.  We had been making payments throughout the process and we just cannot keep up anymore; we will not make any payments starting next month and we are afraid on how this will affect our credit.  The buyers are really interested in the house; our realtor has checked and recent houses in our neighborhood that are newer and bigger than ours have sold for $30000 or less and we are afraid that the buyers will lose interest and withdraw their offer.  Can anyone relate and offer any advice? any advice would help at this time, we are over frustrated with BOA.

    • says


      This is a frustrating process. The big difference between the Deed in Lieu and a short sale is that Bank of America has to pay realtor commissions and closing costs. These costs will reduce the net value they would receive from a short sale. I would have your buyer increase their offer by $1,000. This should be sufficient for them to work with and come back with a final number. An increase of $3,000 would be a 10% increase on a $30K property. Find out what is the maximum your buyer is willing to pay for the property and then you can negotiate with Bank of America on a reasonable resolution.

      You will get this done, you just need to get a bit creative and hopefully your buyer has flexibility.

  136. Losing Faith in B of A says

    Craig, thanks for the information about the lien.  The most frustrating part was that there were NO liens on the property when I first made my offer.  The lien was recorded on Febuary 1st.  It is for a credit card that the owner of the home had.  The credit card investor has scheduled an auction for next month.  Bank of America is telling the listing realtor to delay this auction and that they will negotiate with them.  It doesn't sound like that is your experience.  Do you know if they will negotiate with Bank of NY?  Or am I just wasting time?  Thanks again for all of your helpful posts.  I would really like to help you out some way!  Let me know if there is something we can do…

    • says

      Losing Faith –

      If Bank of America says that they will negotiate…they may actually negotiate it. Sometimes they can get a quick resolution is the negotiator is competent. My experience in the past is that they try for a few weeks and if they are unsuccessful they lob it back to the seller and the listing agent to negotiate. I would try to find out how much the lien is for. If they lien holder has tried to force a foreclosure you can easily find out the attorney handling it and this is the main contact that will negotiate the lien payoff. Find out if Bank of America will be willing to contribute $3,000 towards the payoff. Any payoffs beyond $3,000 are typically the sellers responsibility to pay…which ultimately end up being the buyers since the sellers have no cash to contribute at closing.

      I hope this helps. If you have anyone looking to buy or sell in NW Florida – Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Panama City Beach, Seaside and etc…send them my way! 🙂

  137. Leila says


  138. Michelle P. says

    Craig, thanks so much for your responses.  Your first response listed what we should submit to the negotiator, and my husband (a Realtor) had actually submitted all of those items.  However, we suspect that it was lost or something, and that was why the file was going to be closed.  The facilitator sumitted everything again and then our file went on to the investor, apparently.  My husband is now numb to all this, but I'm clinging to every shred of hope, and hoping that since the file is now with the investor, that our odds of an approval are good, but  not sure how often the investor declines offers.  Anyway, I'll keep you, and your readers, posted on the outcome.  I hope it's positive.  This thread needs some upbeat news!
    Wish you were on the opposite end of Florida.  My sister lives in Plantation, and they'd like to sell in the future, once they're less upside-down in their place.  They bought at the peak of the market a few years ago.  Wish I could send you the business.  Thanks for your help and input.

  139. Michelle P. says

    Craig, thanks for your responses.  Your first response listed three items we should submit to the negotiator, and my husband (a Realtor) actually did send all of those to the listing agent and facilitator.  However, we suspect they were lost somehow and that's why the file was going to be closed.  After the facilitator re-submitted everything for the third time (along with requested HUD changes) the file was passed along to the investor.  My husband is now numb to the outcome, but I'm clinging to every shred of hope, and hoping that since we've come this far we're likely to get an approval, but I don't know how often investors decline offers.  I'll keep you, and your readers, posted on the outcome.  Hopefully it's postive as this thread needs some good news! 
    Too bad you're in NW Florida.  My sister lives in Plantation, and they'd like to sell in the near future.  Wish I could send you the business, but I will keep you in mind anyway.

  140. Barb Pye says

    We also are part of the B of A short sale members group.  This is on a property where only the 2nd mortgage is short.  The 1st will be completely paid out.   Our offer was accepted Aug 3, 2009.  The sellers completed all their paperwork. In Nov we were put on the Equator system to speed things up but that meant we started from scratch.  In Dec.the bank asked us, the buyers to cover some costs that the sellers couldn't,(HOA that were in arrears),  we agreed.  They sent a worksheet indicating everything had been negotiated and a Dec 31 possession.  We received nothing in January 2010.  In Feb we were assigned a FNMA negotiator for the 2nd mortgage.  Is this good news?  Has anyone closed on one of these? 

  141. Mike Hang says

    We are in process of buying the B of A short sale properties. But this process is taking forever. We were told by the seller agent we could close in Dec 2009, and now we are in Feb 10, still did not hear any thing from B of A. When we made our offer B of A, did apprisal the property after three weeks and were told it is good sign. Now for last three months we are waiting to hear a ny thing from B of A. Any idea why B of A is taking so long? Can we approach to bank as buyer for that home?

  142. Amber says

    Ok so all of these stories are very discouraging. My husband and I put in an offer on a shortsale home that has two outstanding loans both with B of A. Apparently B of A had already outsourced it to a 3rd party negotiator for approval. That third party negotiator had said they wanted to close escrow in 60 days. (the selling agent had been going thru this for a little while and their buyer just backed out because they could not get a loan) sowe put our offer in on 01/25/10 and opened escrow on 02/01/10. The selling agent just spoke to the negotiator last wednesday 02/10/10 at which time he said that he would have a decision by friday 02/12/10. Friday comes and all of a sudden he is not able to make an independent decision and has to forward it to the investors and said that will take at least 15 days but to check in with him every couple of days. Im confused. Are we at a pretty good spot? From what I read I dont know what to expect. We clearly came in at a good point but how fast will it move from here?? Who knows!  Please help out with any information.

  143. Mike Hang says

    Craig Baranowski –
    I put in an offer on a short sale home with B of A almost three months ago. But B of A has not assigned any negotiator for our file. What does it mean?
    Could you please tell me if I (as buyer) can do anything to expedite the process? Should I need to talk bank? Thanks.

    • says

      Mike –

      Unfortunately it takes BofA this long to get a negotiator assigned. Sometimes the file could be hung up with other issues.

      As a buyer you are not able to contact the Lender unless the seller has given you authorization to do so. Either way you certainly do not want to do this and expose yourself to significant liability if something goes wrong.


  144. Calzonan says

    Thank you for your response.  Yes, we were put in the Equator system at the beginning of Jan, and that is when the sellers realtor told us 'the bank wants to close within 45 days, we'll have an acceptance within 7-10 days'.  That was 6 weeks ago.  I have not heard anything.  I called the sellers realtor yesterday and he can't tell me what stage we're in, it appears I know more about the short sale process than him (scary!).  He also couldn't tell us if a BPO had been done, but said we should hear something in the next 30 days that 'B of A is really starting to communicate with us now'.  Should I ask hiim to remove us from the Equator system?  He said that the bank has been asking the seller for updated financials etc, and working with the seller to 'get this done'.  I'm just so frustrated.  We made our offer in August of 2009 and we don't even know if we're in the phase two of negotiations or still in phase one.  The sellers realtor has also not provideda copy of the signed contract that we submitted to the seller and our realtor is getting very frustrated.

  145. scott says

    Hi Craig,
    Just got this update from seller's agent on our attempt to purchase. Does thsi fit with your exprerience?
    I just spoke with the negotiator’s helper.  Here is the status:

    The file has been submitted to the MI Company on the 9th.
    That can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks, she was really unsure b/c they are all on their own time lines
    Once it comes back from them it goes to the investor for approval, Fannie Mae.  
    She said one of 2 things will happen then, the file could be a delegated file and could possibly be approved by BOA not Fannie Mae, they will not know that until it comes back from the mi company.  If it can be approved by BOA it can take a few days, if not and it has to go to Fannie Mae we are looking at 5 business days -10 business days for the final approval.
    The lady said that we should get a call/email once the file is back from the mi company

    Thanks again for providing this forum.

  146. Ange says

    Hello Craig.
    Your candor and advice in your posts are greatly appreciated.

    I'm trying to buy a SS condo with 1 loan from B of A.  My offer was accepted on January 1, 2010, so I know it hasn't been that long, but I was told that the previous buyer backed out and the SS process had already begun.
    I call my real estate agent weekly for "updates" but to no avail.  All I seem to get are forwarded messages from the seller's agent that are 2-3 cryptic sentences at best. 
    I have been doing my homework on SS on the internet and have a small understanding of the different things that need to be done to get this short sale progressing.  But I have no idea what has been done about the property.  My agent, although experienced in SS asks the seller's agent about negotiators, BPOs, etc but doesn't seem to get an answer.  My offer was accepted on January 1, 2010, so I know it hasn't been that long, but I was told that the previous buyer backed out and the SS process had already begun.

    Just today the seller's agent asked me on behalf of the bank for my ss # and DOB.  Is this any indication of a particular phase?  Does this request even mean anything or am I just grasping at straws. 

    Do you find that most short sales don't close because banks reject them or because people simply become too frustrated to stay in the process?

    Thank you for your insight.

  147. Losing Faith in B of A says says

    I will definately pass your name and website off to anyone in the Destin area.  You are really helping out a lot of people and I know it is needed. 
    The latest confusing news is that the "last task with Equator was to be completed today and that they are receiving the payoff quote."  There is no timeline associated with this stage of the process or any idea of when we should be ready to close.  Craig, can you help me get an idea of where this puts us?  Our contract runs out at the end of March and we don't know if we should get ready to move, give up and find a lesser house or get ready for another three months of waiting.  As much insight as you can give would be soooo appreciated.

  148. Calzonan says

    I spoke with the sellers realtor today, he actually called me!!  He asked for the first 5 of my SSN and my DOB.  I'd given him those the beginning of Jan when we were being put into the Equator system.  HE said the bank was asking for them which to me means he never put us in the Equator system.  He's also shown some concern about this closing because the house has an unfinished guest house on the property.  It's not attached to the main house, but he seems to think that we'll have a problem getting funding because of the guest house.  Any thoughts there?  When I asked him if a BPO had been done he was very vague, then again when I asked him what phase of negotiations we were in he said we're in the Equator stage.  Okay, now I'm getting really nervous.

  149. Melvin says

    Looking for some quick advice.  We are another BofA buyer and have been waiting forever.  Long story short, agent was told the offer was accepted by the bank a couple weeks ago, approval letter was generated Wednesday and that SVP had to sign off on it and that could take up to a week.  They had a closing date of late March on the acceptance too.  With your experience, are we getting close and does this house right?  I hope so.
    Thank you.

  150. Craig S. says

    Hi Craig, I have been monitor your site every since we put a bid on a short sale in Illinois, back in early January. We do have have a agent that usually a specialist in short sales from Florida, that used to be in the bank side of it. The seller is on board with her and has gotten her all the info that the bank requires. He also is using are lawyer, that we let him have because he also works with the specialist and is extremely knowledgable in the short sales process. The seller has gotten the paperwork back to B of A, which is the only lender via CountryWide, and no PMI. We have offer basically 80 cents on the dollar for what is owned, and I comparable to the CMA's. My wife doesn't have the patients, that I have when trying to obtain a good deal. (must be my economic back ground, and I knew that this was coming, thats why I have a lot a cash and am extremely financial flexible, to obtain such a deal). Not to be anymore long winded, is there anything I else I can do to help the process along, I also saw where you said if I got permission from the seller I could contact the bank, but I got a distinct feeling you really don't recommend this, is this correct. Thanks, Craig.

    • says

      Craig S.

      Thanks for posting. I highly recommend not getting yourself involved with communication with the lender as the “buyer”. This will expose you to significant liability if anything should go wrong. I would leave it up to the lawyers and Realtors to handle. The most effective thing to do is be patient, understand the process and ensure everyone is doing their job in a timely manner. If this happens the file will move through Bank of America as efficiently as possible.

  151. Losing Faith in B of A says

    I will definately pass your name and website off to anyone in the Destin area.  You are really helping out a lot of people and I know it is needed. 
    The latest confusing news is that the "last task with Equator was to be completed today and that they are receiving the payoff quote."  There is no timeline associated with this stage of the process or any idea of when we should be ready to close.  Craig, can you help me get an idea of where this puts us?  Our contract runs out at the end of March and we don't know if we should get ready to move, give up and find a lesser house or get ready for another three months of waiting.  As much insight as you can give would be soooo appreciated

    • says

      Losing Faith,

      The payoff is the final step. Unfortunately this depends upon how good the Bank of America closing negotiator is. We have had them complete this in under an hour and other took a very long time. Have you realtor stay on top of it and you should have the closing docs very soon!

  152. Arizona Alex says

    Hello all.  Stumbled on this thread and thought I'd add my sob story.  We've been on the hook for a property since August 2009 being short saled with the loan through CW/BofA.  Our latest task was to submit our "best and highest" offer in mid-January of this year during which we raised our offer 15%.  I have no idea where we stand or when it will all end.  The listing agent claims it's our house as long as we hang in there but I'm sceptical.  Are we at the end of the road or just fools being strung along for the ride?  We are in AZ.  Please advise!!!

    • says

      Arizona Alex,

      Usually when they ask for a new offer they are in the “negotiating process” and typically work the file quickly. How quickly did you get the new offer to them? Did the sellers update their financials with the new offer? If this took more than 24-48 hours the negotiator may have closed the file or moved it out of his “in process” queue. Check to make sure they are still actively working the file…if they need to order a new BPO and etc.

  153. Nikki says

    Hi, We put an offer on a short sale with BoA on August 31, 2009.  Last Saturday the bank completed the second BPO (because the first one was so long ago) and the owners had to submit a new hardship letter.  According to the selling agent, the "investor" is now looking at it, and we should hear by the end of the week (though we have heard that one before).  Is this the same investor process as discussed above?  What can we expect?  Thanks for blog, it is very helpful! 

    • says


      You are correct. They require a “fresh” BPO, financials, hardship, HUD when they go to the investor. This is basically the last and final opportunity to present info, fees and costs that Bank of America will cover. They did send an updated HUD with ALL fees and liens identified…right????

  154. ChristinaC says

    Hi craig. We put an offer in on a short sale 6 weeks ago. THe bpo was done on 1/29 and was suppose to be assigned a negotiator the following week & be approved by the lender. The sellers have hired & consulted with a 3rd party short sale company to expidite this sale. We are running out of time since we have to move out of our current place within 3 weeks. How long should we wait for BOA? It has been very nerve racking waiting on the bank, Icant understand why it takes so long to get an approval.  I just dont know what to do… wait or back out. We've already waited 6 weeks, I cant wait 6 months….

    • says


      Unfortunately Bank of America takes time to approve a short sale. Approval in 6 weeks would be like New Orleans winning the Super Bowl for the first time. Your file is moving and the beginning of the process is the longest since not much happens for a long time. Be patient and the short sale will happen.

  155. scott says

    I'm not trying to impersonate Craig, but if this is a BofA mortgage, you're in for a lot longer than 3 more weeks.
    Our offer was accepted on Aug 3 and our first BPO was completed on Sept 23. We got a negotiator assigned rather quickly, but the file languished until that negotiator's time ran out. So it got re-assigned and the new negotiator gets a fresh 30 (business) days.
    We're now being told it went to MI company on Feb 9 and should be back no later than March 2. After that, 1-2 weeks with investor (Fannie).
    I think you're only hope is that this process started with an offer by another buyer who walked away and that you are being plugged in as a replacement late in the game.

  156. Randy says

    Please help. I am the buyer of a short sale. In the middle of october the process started. The latest update was today from Bank of America which stated…The value has been recieved and the negotiator has submitted to the mortgage insurer for a decision. Once the decision is known, we can submit to the primary investor for final approval. Any idea how long this will take and what it means?

    • says


      Your file is moving which is good. The offer price has been “tentatively accepted” by their short sale parameters. Investor and PMI company response is as variable as Bank of America’s. However, they typically move much quicker through the process. Stay on top of it and you should have about 3 to 4 more weeks.

  157. Josh K says

    ChritstinaC,  sorry to say, but 6 weeks is not considered a long time.  Couple of us responded on Craig's blog have been waiting for bank to respond in more than 6 months.  The BofA shortsale process is just very very slow.  Hopefully, the new system will speed up a bit. 

  158. Leila says

    ChristinaC- well I've been in the short sale process for 8months and a week and Im supposed to hear an answer by March 8 which will be 8months and 3 weeks, so I think you should just walk or see if you can sign a month to month lease at your rental place. Sorry I know this is news that you dont want to hear but like I said I've been waiting since the beginning of July, 2009. Good Luck.

  159. scott says

    FINALLY, Some light at the end. We got the BofA approval letter today on the short sale we're buying. There is a small 2nd, but BofA offered them $1,000 less than they were seeking, so that is a formality.
    To catch everyone up, seller accepted offer Aug 3. This was a FMV offer in an area where homes had not lost as much value as nationally. BPO complete/negotiator assigned Sept 23. Originaly told on Nov 23 that file went to MI but that apparently didn't happen. Activity picked up in Jan with new BPO, constant requests for updated seller financials, and file went to MI on Feb 9, and was to possibly go to Fannie Mae after that (There was chance that BofA cold make decision for FNMA based on presets). Approval letter today.
    Multiple negotiators along the way, weeks without contact from bank, missed dealines, and some outright misinformation.
    So, BofA + FNMA + PMI = 7 months for approval.
    Thanks to Craig and the posters for keeping up the flow of information. I'd have walked without it.

    • says

      Scott –

      That is AWESOME news! Check out the REAL timeline of when they actually started working the file: Sept 23rd BPO/Negotiator…approval February 23rd. All the other months was just wasted time and delays. Once they can eliminate the 6 months of crap we could really have a 30 day approval process!

  160. Jen says

    My fiance and I are currently in the process of buying a short sale. We put an offer in back in September, and just had word that BOA has approved both loans. So we are now waiting on a letter from the bank.  They said we should close in 45 days, but first we need a letter from the bank. Im not sure how long this letter will take to get to us, but its been a couple weeks so far. Any feedback would be great. thanks!

    • says

      Jen –

      When they say a letter from the bank…do they mean the closing docs/ settlement statement from Bank of America? If this is the case it should take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks to get…usually. Once this happens you will have 30 days to close. Which is get your loan, do your inspections if you have not already done them and then close on the purchase.

  161. Calzonan says

    Your timeline is real similar to mine.  Accepted offer by seller at the end of August, package sent to B of A at beginning of September, and then languishing in B of A H*ll since then.  We did finally hear from the sellers agent at the beginning of Jan that we were being put into the Equator system and would have an approval within a week to 10 days.  He asked for our 1st 5 of our SSN and our DOB.  That was the last we heard anything.  I called him last week and he called back and asked for my SSN 1st 5, and my DOB AGAIN.  I'm assuming he did nothing in the past 7 weeks since he received it last time.  We also submitted a new LSR at the beginning of Jan.  Sellers agent thinks things are starting to move with B of A (based on what I'll never know).  My question to you is, did the sellers agent contact you before you got the approval letter from B of A to let you know it was approved or did a letter just show up?

  162. scott says

    Sorry I was imprecise. When I wrote "we," I meant "we" as in the seller and us. Her agent actually got the letter, and I'm sure it has terms for the seller to agree to concerning the deficiency (and we havent asked what they are, but her agent knows and is very confident).
    As I wrote, activity picked up in January, with another BPO and requests for seller's financials. We were told when it went to MI on Feb 9 and that it could bee 1-3 weeks, followed by BofA making decision for FNMA, or possible 1-2 weeks actually at FNMA. So we were expecting something by mid-March.
    To the best of my knowledge, we were never put into Equator. Nobody has asked us for our personal identifiers, other than what was submitted with the original pre-approval letter from our lender.
    Best wishes, I know what you're going through.

  163. Calzonan says

    Activity picked up for us as well in January, with a new LSR requested and the seller had to provide new financials.  At that time we gave our first five of our SSN for input into Equator along with our DOB.  We were told 7-10 days, still waiting 7 weeks later.  The sellers realtor is basically clueless, I feel like I"m the one educating him on the process.  He has not told us what stage we're at at any point in the last 6 months, he just keeps saying "I can see this starting to move quickly now".  Based on what information I'm not sure as he does not even know if a BPO has been done.  And this guy is a Broker!!
    Congratulations on making it this far, I'm hoping to be posting something similar soon, if I can ever get the sellers agent to communicate with me.

    • says

      Calzonan –

      Thanks for posting. As you have read Bank of America short sales are a unique animal. If you have not done them before you actually believe what you are being told by Bank of America. The Broker will learn very quickly the Bank of America and Equator process…and learn first hand that 7 days never means 7 days! 🙂

  164. Melvin says

    Do you know how long after the offer was accepted, to when the letter was received?  I'm in the waiting for a SVP to sign the acceptance I guess.  They accepted it a couple weeks ago and estimated the closing date at 3/23, but we haven't received the letter yet…just trying to see if we are on track, or is this just another hiccup.
    Our offer was accepted by the seller in May of '09, so we are ready for this nonsense to be over. 🙂

    • says

      Melvin –

      You are there…right there. SVP approval takes a few days or week depending upon the negotiator and the department. Typically they have a team and they meet every other week and review the files with the SVP and approves all at once. So you are in the queue to get done.

  165. scott says

    As a buyer, I am at the mercy of the seller's agent. I only know that BofA sent the file to PMI on February 9. BoA estimated that would take 1-3 weeks. BofA also said, at that time, that the file may go to FNMA after PMI, or that BofA could grant the FNMA approval in house (I'm sure they have preset guidelines).
    So I would guess that BofA approved this around February 9, PMI and FNMA signed off after that, and our seller's realtor received the letter on February 26. I do not know what terms and conditions apply for the seller with respect to the deficiency, nor do I know if she will accept them.

  166. Marissa says

    Hello again Craig,
    About 3 weeks ago the listing agent called and said that the previous counter offer we received from bank of america asking for 22,000 more than our offer and they would pay our closing had changed. I guess the first negotiator was the one who gave out this information. The phase two Negotiator said that it is not Bank of Americas policy to pay closing costs, ever. so now we have to come up with an additonal 8,000. We have not gotten final approval yet, should be coming this wednesday, but I have heard that before. Anyway my question is… Have you heard about "bank of America" never paying closing and also are we in any position to negotiate price after the approval comes in.  Thanks so much!

    • says

      Marissa –

      This is standard policy for Bank of America. However, we have been able to have them pay for the title policy a few times. They will pay up to 18 months of arrears on Taxes and HOA fees. Also, they will pay some of the mandatory fees for VA and FHA loans.

  167. Leila says


  168. Calzonan says

    I just heard from the sellers realtor today, that our file is in pink status with Equator.  The BPO was done yesterday (that's the first one we've heard of since our original offer in August).  The sellers realtor said that the seller was supposed to upload some doc's but got locked out of the sytem.  They've spent the week trying to get a new email address so that they can upload the financials the bank is requesting.  Does pink mean final stage before acceptance?  I know on another thread you posted what the colors mean, but did you post them in sequential order?  I just hope this is going to happen soon, I live in AZ and it's getting hotter everyday.  I'd really like to move before the 120 degree heat hits!

    • says


      Thank goodness for the search bar on my website…I did not want to have and re-type the colors…

      Equator has some great color codes:
      Light Green = New
      Yellow = Negotiating
      Grey = Rejected
      Pink = Held
      Dark Green = Accepted

      You status of “Pink or HELD” can mean a few things. A HELD status is when your contract is being held for further review. Under the HELD status have the Realtor look to see what it says. They should see “REIVEW” or “VALUATIONS” or possibly something else. For example a BPO is typically ordered when it says VALUATIONS.

      Hope this helps.

  169. scott h says

    we put in an offer back on aug. 12 and we asked for closing costs. now we are waiting for fannie mae and their bpo since feb 1.  do we still have a chance or should we look at reo's before the april 30th deadline for the 8000?

    • says

      Scott –

      It depends upon your loan. If your loan takes 45 days to process it is going to be very close. Fannie Mae does take a bit of time to do their analysis…but I am hoping you will be pleasantly surprised and get an answer in a few weeks.

  170. Amber says

    Back on 02/12/10 we got news that the negotiator was not able to make a final approval decision on the shortsale we are buying and that he was forwarding the file to the investors for approval and said it would take about 15 days. Today 03/05 we heard back that the negotiating company that BofA had outsourced everything to and that had been working on our file was fired and now the selling agent has to start over and enter everything on equator. She has been working on this for over 6 months now and we came in about 40 days ago as the previous buyer had backed out. The file is complete and everything is in order. Being that we have to start new on equator after being with the investors how long do you think the process will take? Is this something that may have priority since it is coming from investors? We have been in escrow on this property since 02/01/10 which hasnt been that long but like I said she has been in this process for 6 mos. Are we technically starting new with the short sale process? Please help with any information. Thank you!

    • says

      Amber –

      When you come in as a new buyer it is hard to trick the system and sneak it. The Equator system customized for Bank of America launched in October 2009. Since then it has gone through a challenging learning curve with Bank of America. We are being pleasantly surprised with the response time with new short sales in the system. Hang in there…be patient and the short sale will get done.

  171. Sam says

    Pls help with advice.  We were just told by our real estate agent that the BPO done on our property came in at $30,000 over our offer price. 

    What does this mean for us?  What usually happens in circumstances like this?  Does this mean that are deal is falling apart? 
    Worse still, we can't get the seller's agent to call us back now.

  172. Sam says

    To Leila,
    Congratulations on getting this far.  Just curious what you wrote in your email to get such an "immediate" response.  You should post it up on this board.  I'm sure all of us would LOVE to read it and cheer you on.
    Crossing my fingers for you.

  173. Craig S. says

    Scott – Craig is right, it might be close but from my understanding, you offer means your under contract for the April 30 deadline, your real concern will be the closing deadline on June 30th. But also keep in mind that the deal you may be getting will out way the 8000 grand most likely pretty easily. Plus if you were already paying on a higher mortage like I will be the difference is only four months,  already have saved 1/2 of it because BOA is so slow.

    • says

      Garrett –

      That is a trick question. Right going through the Equator system with Bank of America we are seeing 3 months or sooner. I usually set the expectation of 3 to 5 months. There is new legislation and initiatives to get the process down to 30 days. I would be beyond happen if they could pull that off.

  174. Sam says

    Thanks for the response Craig.  The BPO came in at an obscenely high number and I was pretty shocked considering comps in the area and the damage from the previous owner to the house.  (A BPO on a similar property at around the same time came in at $226,000)

    Listed price: $299,000

    Offer accepted @ $270,000

    BPO (according to listing agent): $300,000

    So it looks like I am right at the 90% threshold.  B of A is refusing to pay the HOA lien on the property as well.  Since the listing agent hasn't returned any phone calls or emails in the last week, I have yet to find out what that number is. 
    Is it pretty standard that B of A is looking for that 90% (or higher) calculation?  Have you had a lot of experience with large differentials between BPOs and offer price?  In other words, how do you know about this "magical" 90%, if I may ask?  Do you think that B of A would consider a counter offer or just reject the sale outright?  I am so afraid that I won't be given the chance to negotiate with the bank on this house if the offer is not accepted.

    Thanks you so much for providing this avenue to ask questions and commiserate with others.  This message board has given me a glimmer of hope in an otherwise desperate situation.

    60 days and counting…

    • says

      Sam –

      If the BPO is inconsistent with the market the selling agent and seller can reject the BPO and request a new one. In either case the selling agent needs to meet with the BPO agent at the property and give them all the pertinent info necessary to ensure the BPO is accurate. Some BPO agents will take the info…others will not. Additionally, we prepare a repair report to identify any necessary cost required to fix the home as this will be a critical part of the BPO and lender evaluation.

  175. Trooty says

    Sam, I had heard the 90% number thrown around on several different websites.  I live in an area that was not hit like much of the rest of the country and am buying in a highly sought after neighborhood.  I offered 79% of the BPO (I didn't know that at the time), but I included some guesstimates (estimates) of work that had to be done on the house (mostly electrical and yard work)  I was fearful of the same things, that new offers would be accepted and I would lose all that time spent waiting on BoA.  I just received a counter offer after waiting over 4 months.  The counter offer was for less than $1,000 with no rhyme or reason!  I almost expected a $10K or $20K counter, but for just $1,000??? I was in awe and disbelief!  The only suggestions that I can give you that seemed to work given my circumstances and my house is to give them some reason why their BPO is wrong, keep following up with the listing agent – be polite and thankful even if you are stressed and doubtful – and then when you are about to give up threaten to walk.  Sorry Craig don't mean to make your work harder, but that was what worked for us.  We said we just couldn't wait anymore and had to hear back by Monday and we did!  Good luck… I think your offer is probably fine, just give them some GUESStimates on repairs!

  176. Karl says

    Hi, I started this process at the very beginning of December of 09. Offer was accepted and as of today, March 8, I was told that BofA is in the "valuations" stage. What does that mean? How much longer is the typical wait time? Thanks

  177. Sam says

    Thanks for the response.
    My other main concern at this point is the listing agent.  At best I've been given cryptic forwarded emails from my realtor and suddenly the listing agent has seemingly cut off all communication and is not responding to emails or calls from our agent. 
    Even though she says she has a lot of experience with short sales, my gut tells me that she doesn't.  And I know that she is not working on this deal every day, but what can I do?  Nothing right?  I feel that if the seller's agent were the least bit competent or compassionate it could be a much smoother experience.
    This process is hard enough as it is, I don't know why this agent is making things so much more difficult than they have to be.  Sooooo frustrating!
    60 days and counting….

    • says

      Sam –

      There is a tremendous amount of waiting. During many of the stages there is not much to do on a daily basis. We try to touch our files and lenders 2x’s a week. We only pester them daily when we are at a critical stage and/or close to the finish line.

  178. Trooty says

    My experience has been that this process has changed on them EVEN IF THEY DO HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE.  They have so many other listings that they don't have to do this much work on and probably make more money.  Trust me, I know it isn't easy to be patient… but if you want this house then you have to wait.  Just politely follow up.  Send an email to the listing agent that you know it isn't their fault and that they are at the mercy of BoA, but you really need some answers so that you don't give up.  I used my significant other as a reason why I needed more complete answers ALL THE TIME!

  179. stacy says

    Is anyone familiar with Wells Fargo?  We bid on a short sale in December.  Three weeks ago, Wells asked us for an updated pre approval, and we have been told by our realtor that the bank and the seller have reached an agreement.  We are obviously in the final stages of the short sale.  How long does it normally take Wells to present the written contract of sale to the buyer?  My realtor and the seller have been calling Wells daily, only to be told repeatedly that Wells is "working on it."

  180. Randy says

    Hi Craig,
    I just got word from Bank of America today that the MI is requesting an updated value due to the estimated closing date. The offer was submitted to their attention for approval. What does this mean? I don't get the estimated closing date part. What kind of time frame am I looking at? Thanks for your help.

  181. Michelle Rios says

    I am a BofA short sale seller. After a very long waiting period we just received our approval letter and the bank wants everything closed in less than 30 days. After some research, I'm getting cold feet. Does anybody know how to go about getting them to send me a letter releasing me from any future liability and debt? I'm very afraid they're going to come after me for the difference. Are they any specific laws for California?

  182. Garrett says

             I heard of that new law. It starts in april right? Also, is it required for the banks to respond in 10 days?
    I made a cash offer does that speed anything up?

  183. Garrett says

     Also, when you say 3 months you mean from making the offer to moving in or just hearing something back?
    I don't mind the wait as long as I got a response back on if I got the place or not. I want a confirmation.

  184. scott says

    I just received a copy of the BofA approval letter sent to our seller. They are not requiring she bring anything to the closing and they are not requiring a promissory note. They have stated their right to seek a defiency judgment. The seller anticipated this and accepts. I think our deal is atypical in that the short sale is based only on the seller's circumstances and not the local real estate market. Based on comps and the extraordinary condition and features of this particular home, she could have gotten more.
    Our BofA deadline is April 9 and we have informed the seller's agent that written approval from the 2nd, along with notice that the seller has agreed to any/all conditions, needs to be in our hands by March 18. For some reason the 2nd asked for a BPO and the seller's agent just had this done. We have told them that we will not extend the closing and will not pay any per diems. With 2 banks and PMI involved, we're simply not going to throw 3 balls back into the air. Spring is coming and homes are popping up in this subdivision.
    As for fees (in addition to taxes), BofA is paying 6% commission, 3 months of HOA fees, and $300 towards title insurance.
    Will update next week. Signed contract August 3 – Negotiator assigned/BPO's done September 23 – Approval February 23

  185. Randy says

    Hi Craig,
    I just got word from Bank of America today that the MI is requesting an updated value due to the estimated closing date. The offer was submitted to their attention for approval. What does this mean? I don't get the estimated closing date part. What kind of time frame am I looking at? Thanks for your help.

  186. scott says

    USAA approved yesterday, but I don't have any details on what they are requiring (if anything) of seller. They did reduce agent commission from 6% to 5% to make up for BofA only giving them $2,000.
    Both agents have agreed with one another that they will ultimately accept this condition but that they will first try a quick negotiation with BofA to try and get the pot sweetened just a bit.
    Seller's agent was quite pragmatic with our agent. He said that everyone is losing money on the deal and even though they have a lot of time in on this, it's hard to tell the banks that he won't make a small concession when he is asking them to make a large one. He also said he isn't going to send the client into foreclosure over 1% when she is agreeing to accept responsibility for the deficiencies.
    Our agent is really a stand-up person and told the seller's agent that she would split the reduction, pending approval from her firm.
    So it looks like we are being wheeled out to the pad for an April 9 launch. Hope to have written approval by Monday or Tuesday.

  187. scott says

    FINAL UPDATE: Everything is approved and we're going to try and close by March 31. Bank of America kicked in $2,000 more for USAA (2nd) and seller is bringing $1,000 so both realtors get full commission. I don't know why the seller's agent didn't bring in the attorney from the title agency sooner, but it appears she was the driving force for he past month.
    Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. Every little bit of info helped when merged with all of the other little bits, and truly kept us in this game for 8 long months. Special thanks to Craig. I hope that a year from now you're all Equatorized and laughing about how short sales were done in the bad ole days. I'll keep monitoring this thread in case I have any particular information that can help someone else out.

  188. Josh K says

    Just got notified by seller's agent, the property I am trying to purchase is currently under "Notice of Trustee Sale", which it will happen in few weeks.  The short sale package has been submitted to BOA for few months and so far no negotigator has been assigned yet.  I am wondering what should I expect from "Notice of Trustee Sale" ?  Should I be worry ? Will this notice of trustee sale costs bank to assign someone to work on the case ?  Thanks very much.  

    • says


      Every state has a different foreclosure process. Bank of America will not foreclose on a property while negotiating a short sale. However, errors do occur and the seller and seller’s agent needs to closely monitor the foreclosure process to ensure Bank of America delays the foreclosure date.

  189. elena says

    It is possible to submit an offer for short sale without a listing agent? They are not accepting anymore offers because they have one and it is pending approval for already 6 months.
    I'd like to submit offer, but I don't have any contact info of BOA. Who knows may be my offer will be more lucky? Because I know for sure it is going to be more then existing one.
    Please advise. Thank you

    • says


      Your offer must be approved by the seller for it to be submitted to any lender for a short sale. Thus, you must go through the realtor that is handling that property and I would highly recommend having a buyers agent represent you in the transaction. If the first offer is excessively low there is a good chance that it will be rejected. I would submit your offer as a back up and have your buyers agent stay in touch with the selling agent to make sure you are first in line if the original offer falls through.

  190. NIcoleinMIA says

    We have been waiting for a shortsale since August.  BoA just made a counter-offer to the seller that included a promissory note that the seller is refusing to sign.  The selling agent told me that they are telling the negotiator that they want the promissroy note removed.  I have just heard from the selling agent, who said that the negotiator told him that the file is now in "review."  What does this mean, they haven't started from square one again, have they!!!???

    • says


      Sellers have the option to reject the promissory note. The file has to go back to the investor for review. Sometimes this is quick…other times it takes awhile. It depends upon how good the Bank of America negotiator is at getting things done.

  191. dina says

    short sale experience with bank of america – the most horrible ever.  been working with them since November of last year.  Feb of this year we were hopefull to close everything in march.  they countered us back in january – but when the file was given to someone else everything was back to square one.  they were working on the old offer instead of the counter offer and a new appraisal was again needed to be ordered because of the simple street address transposition.  the clients who was trying to take advantage of the tax credit and actually looking forward to owning their first home had to back out.  They just couldn't wait any longer because today, we were just told that another 3 weeks was needed.  the same 3 weeks we've waited on since Feb 10.  Another 3 weeks – 'IF" everything is approved.
    Bank of America needs to have more employees who actually cares for their jobs – because their little mistakes there cost others a lot.

  192. Randy says

    Anybody Please Help,
    The Bank called yesterday
    ( I am the buyer) and wants me to pay $1800 in assesments and the deal should go through. I really don't want to put anymore money into this up front what should I do?

    • says


      This is a tough one. The $1,800 in assessments should have been included in the HUD for BofA to pay. Sometimes Bank of America will only pay a portion of the assessments. Your only option at this point is to negotiate a reduced payoff with the HOA on the assessment fees. If the seller can not contribute any funds to pay off the assessment, then it is up to you to determine if you are willing to pay them.

  193. jami says

    I posted back in Feb. We are the sellers on a home in FL that we paid $390,000 put $25,000 down and paid $70,000 in mortgage payments until we couldn't pay anymore.  We have had a buyer since May 7, 2009, offering $210,000.  In Nov. we offered a payment of $7500 total. Then it went into the BofA abyss. 
    Then they got approval from the PMI company Feb. 23.  Meanwhile, the Home Owners Assoc is pushing foreclosure over $600 a year.  Our lawyer went to court (on beknowinst to us) yesterday and Foreclosure is set for July 16.
    BofA had an "analyst" look at our file and now the new offer is we go to closing with $3650 and then sign a promissory note for an additional $36,500.
    My question is, why would we do this?  What benefits us to have lost $150,000 and NOTHING to show for it.  We will probably have to declare bankruptcy anyway with this additional $40,000 debt.  Why not let it go into foreclosure and then declare bankruptcy and use the $3650 needed at closing for a bankruptcy attorney?
    Did I mention I got this news at 4pm on a Friday?  So far, crappy night sleep and totally unmotivated for the beautiful weekend ahead. 

    • says


      This is a tough one. You definitely need to consult an attorney and your accountant to see what is the best option for you considering your current financial situation. Short sales can be a great alternative to foreclosure…however, sometimes the short sale settlement may not be all that appealing. You should consider that a $36,500 promissory note could be more financially appealing than a $180,000+ judgment from Bank of America on a foreclosure. This is something that you must review with your attorney and accountant.

  194. Nicecar says

    We (buyer) has sent contract to BofA in first week of Nov last year but have not heard any news about approval on short sale. Everytime when we call they says it has been assign to negotiator and file is in last phase of process who knows when we should receive judgement and don;t know if we will be get benifit of first time home buyer's credit or not. We are thinking to back out and look for something else since we waited little over 4 months.

  195. Nicecar says

    We (buyer) has sent contract to BofA in first week of Nov last year but have not heard any news about approval on short sale. Everytime when we call they says it has been assign to negotiator and file is in last phase of process who knows when we should receive judgement and don;t know if we will be get benifit of first time home buyer's credit or not. We are thinking to back out and look for something else since we waited little over 4 months. Please help us here and give us an advise.

    • says


      If you are truly at the final phase with Bank of America then it does not make sense to back out now. Try to get better clarification as to where you are in the Bank of America process. Ask the Realtor if the short sale package has been submitted to the investor yet.

  196. Will says

    Craig —
    I am looking for some direction on a BOA short sale.  I am on the buyer side and submitted an offer that was accepted by the owner on 1/1/10.  I was told on previous occasion that we were in the final phase of approval, but now being told that we are at the end of Phaes 2, and could get phase 2 results on 3/26/10.  I have spoken regularly with my agent and he with the selling agent, but only get general updates.  Should the selling agent know what the BPO's came back at if we are at phase 2?   How can I personally confirm status?  Can the buyer do anything to expedite the process or am I along for the ride?  I am tax credit eligible, but time is drawing near, and I have to move soon.  What advice can you give?

  197. scott says

    I'll chime in. I am set to close on my BofA short sale purchase next Wednesday. My offer was accepted by seller on Aug 1, and we had initial BPO and negotiator by Sept 23. Then nothing…until late Jan, when updated seller financials were requested and another BPO was completed.
    My deal had to go to Fannie Mae and the MI company for approval, and that only took about 2 weeks (in Feb). It then went to the 2nd, who also had MI, and that took less than a week.
    Our seller's agent was able to find out when the BPOs were done, but told us she did not receive the actual value. Our offer of $260,000 was about 95% of FMV as we made it on the first day the listing went short and the price dropped by $30K. Unlike most of the nation, this deal was short due to the seller's financial decisions and not so much the market. The seller's agent was inundated with back-up but to her credit, she kept everything above board and stuck with the pledge to only submit one.
    Both wife and I are fortunate enough to have 800+ credit score and the resources to cover the entire purchase price, but with a rate of 4.5% and no points, we're financing 75%.
    Said all that to say this…Phase 2 lasts as long as they want it to last. On the merits we were prime buyers making a prime offer and the file wasted in Phase 2 for 4 months. Once BofA decided to act, Fannie Mae, USAA (2nd) and 2 MI companies took less than 3 weeks to give written approval and set closing.
    As a buyer, you are helpless and from a legal standpoint, that is probably more of a good thing than a bad thing. If you were involved with the bank and the deal fell through, the seller may find some Yellow Pages lawyer to waste your time, money and health defending against a frivolous claim that you caused the failure. If the tax credit is a dealbreaker, I'd say you're probably better off looking hard at another property. If not, hang tight.

  198. Melvin says

    Update on ours…Offer accepted by seller May of '09.  Closed last week for exactly what we offered.  What a fun process that was.  hahaha

    Good luck to everyone on the roller coaster!

  199. Leila says


  200. scott says

    Nightmare is over, but not without a last minute BofA hitch. We got closed today, almost 8 months to the day from the time our offer was submitted.
    The hitch. 72 hours before closing the seller's agent has to submit the final HUD1 to BofA for final written approval. BofA then waits until the 72nd hour to actually get back with seller. In true BofA fashion, they supplied the wrong e-mail address in their instructions, even going so far as to bold and hi-lite this e-mail address. When agent hadn't heard back by last night, he called and found out that the address had been changed (keep in mind, the wrong address was supplied last week!)
    So we're at closing and I refused to give my funds, refused to sign the note and the mortgage. Took the kids out for some rest and relaxation and got the call about 45 minutes later. Closed this evening.
    Thanks to Craig and everyone for words of encouragement along the way. Prayers for all of you still in this quagmire. Peace.

  201. Patrick says

    I wish I knew the true story of the Short Sale market before we started looking for a house.  We found a house that fits our needs and then found out it was a short sale.   We also found out that another contract was already submitted in January.  We discussed it with our realtor and decided since the contract was not fully ratified that we should submit an offer.  The sellers agent was not sure if our offer should be submitted as a backup contract or be presented to BoA as a competing bid.  She tried for a week to get a hold of BoA and was finally successful yesterday.  The BoA rep stated that only one contract can be submitted into their system for a property.  It just so happens that a negotiator was assign to the case yesterday.  The sellers agent called the negotiator today and told him there was another offer, he did not care.  He would only deal with one offer at a time.  The sellers agent did not directly tell us but we have a feeling our offer is better than the first offer.  We are not asking for any money back at the table and only have inspection and appraisal contingencies.   This is the last Short Sale house I'm looking at.  We also found out that three other offers have been made on this house since February 2009 and all have been pulled due to the slow process.
    Does the negotiator negotiate a deal based on the offer or do they just look at the offer and accept/deny based on the contract facts?  Do I stand any chance of getting this property?

  202. Mike says

    The first offer submitted to BoA has to be a legaly binding purchase contract. As such, you can't agree to sell your house to two different people!
    BoA isn't the owner, only the owner can accept an offer contingent on their approval.
    If the first contract expires or is withdrawn, you would have to get your offer accepted by the seller, then start all over at square 1 in their system. Even if your offer is the same or better, you have to start at the beginning because it's a new contract for review
    The original offer was never ratified? Then BoA could never approve a sale without a valid contract to purchase!
    It sounds like I know more then the listing agent, and that's a bad thing!

  203. Jila says

    I have submitted my shortsale contract on 12/11/2009. It is been over 4 months and I haven't heard anything from the bank. I keep calling the seller agent for an update and he doesn't know anything. Please tell me how long more I need to wait. How would I know if the house didn't go through foreclosure since non of the departments know what the other one is doing.
    Thank you all for your great comments…they are very helpful

  204. Jamie says

    Jila, We submitted an offer on a BoA short sale a month ago, and are in pretty much the same boat. The property we’re trying to buy goes to auction in 10 weeks, our offer expires in 4, and the bank won’t move (and it’s barely a short sale, the guy is only underwater $25k).

    What the listing agent was able to tell us two days ago is this (take this with a bowl of salt): in an effort to “streamline the process and try and prevent as many buyers from walking” by firming up the prices now, BoA has ordered fresh BPOs on ALL of their short sale properties. When the new BPOs do come in, the listing agents are required to re-list the properties as active for a few days if they were marked pending. Only then will BoA consider each deal.

    They are, of course, falling way behind in this process, thus having the opposite effect.

    We’ve pretty much given up and are putting in offers on other houses simultaneous to this one.

  205. Craig S. says

    Patrick, this is a tortiase wins the game scenario, especially with BOA. If your one of those people that the tax credit makes a difference. Start looking somewhere else. Especially if your the buyer in waiting.  But if the deal is good and you want the house, keep your offer in, still keep looking at other homes, and hope the offer in front of you is one of those that is impatient and a measly tax credit is a deal breaker on a steal. It's those people that caused this mess in the first place, not knowing what financially they could afford, or worry about get money back at closing because they didn't have enough money saved in the first place. O% down to 10% , or no-docs. shouldn't have even been in the game. Hold on we are about to close on a house that was original twice as much as were going to pay. Remember the hare doesn't win in short sales. Nothing short about it.

  206. Sarah says

    Hi. I live in Chicago, IL. I am working on a condo short sale purchase with my realtor, who informed me that the seller's agent sent out the puchase agreement to the lender (Bank of America) yesterday. My offer is a competitive cash offer. I am wondering how long the whole process will take to close. There is only one lien on the property. My offer is $80K. Average price in the area I'm buying is $79k. The lien on the property is $123k. What do you think will happen and when? Do you know if all agents are using the Equator system? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  207. in short sale hell because of boa says

    I submitted my offer to BOA in November 2009 and they set arbitrary deadlines – "We'll have a decision by Jan 17" On Jan 17…. we need two more weeks… then another week….  I hung in there because I liked the house.  Three weeks ago, they finally gave me 24 hours to sign additional documents (love the deadline since they sat on my offer for 5 months).  I submitted the documents and waited…….  Yesterday (April 13), they counteroffered – they actually increased the list price of the house with their offer! (House was listed for $120K and their counter was $122K)   As a former employee and a (soon to be former) customer of BOA, I am disgusted by the way that I have been treated and this process.  I will never do business with them again.

  208. Joseph says


    Hi Patrick,
    Thank you for posting these responses as I feel that I have had to educate myself in this short sale process. With that said, here is my situation. I am the buyer who submitted an offer, with my buyers agent to the listing agent  1/16/2010. About 2 months into the process, a BPO was ordered. Last week (the info. always seems a bit on the sketchy side) the negotiator sent the short sale package to the investor. We should hear no later 2 – 3 weeks. Also, my Realtor informed me that B of A told the listing agent not to call often as it slows the process (or something to that affect). So, what are your thoughts about this? This is the first time I am trying to buy a home. I’ve always rented before. Also, I am very worried that this process will drag past April 30th and thus I loose out on that tax credit. I realize there are numerous others out there in similar situations. Sadly, I haven’t noticed much in the media, news, etc… addressing this. With all the posts, blogs, videos, etc…it is frustrating trying to sift through all the information and try to get to the truth. Yet I remain hopeful. Your thoughts are most welcome. Thank you.

  209. Craig S. says

    Sarah, i live in naperville and buying a house in plainfield offer in Jan paperwork completed and file in buy March 1. have a specialist in short sales on top of a good realtor.  She contacts BOA twice a week. She says hopefully they will have agreed upon by end of month. So, if your planning on the credit your sales agreement with seller is good. But, your probably won't close by June 30. it takes a least 2 to 3 months with BOA.

  210. Craig S. says

    For you people worried about the tax credit remember if you have a sales contract signed with the seller, by april 30th you are eligible for the tax credit regardless of the bank. Remember the seller is still the owner in  a short sale, not the bank. The only thing the BOA can mess up with it is the closing. I'm not sure if they counter if that makes a difference, so ask your mortgage guy, he will know this. So, remember make your best offer if you want the credit. Also, if the credit is a issue you probable shouldn't buy a short sale at this point. Good deal but nothing short about them.

  211. Sarah says

    Thanks for your response, Craig.
    The house I hope to buy was on the market for only a week when I made my offer. I will be getting an inspection done if BOA approves.  List price is $92, my offer is 80k (cash), and their loan is 123k. Average homes in this area are about 79k. But, this one is in better condition than most. Do you think my offer will be approved, countered, or rejected by BOA?

  212. Craig S. says

    Hi Sarah, the bank will usually accept around 90% to 82% of the BPO, you offered 87%. it sounds like you made a fair offer with what you are telling me about list price. The seller's agent must have thought so to, plus at least in Illinois they only look at one deal from a seller at a time and most IL realtors are honoring this. Like I said don't plan on the tax credit with this purchase, if it happens be thankful that BOA got their shxx together. But it sounds like if you want the house, hang in there and get the good deal. It takes some time, but if you want the property it will be worth it. If all you care about is a tax credit, I studying for my CPA right now, keep in mind the tax credit is still only tax credit, not the home of your dreams, or a good investment. Plus, check into the neighborhood  or city clerk and see if the are some tax advantage for being in a redeveloping area. For so go news and hope on a buying a house that was 727,000 in 2005, 580,000 in 2007 second sales and I getting in at 370,000, appraised on zillow for 455,000. don't what the BPO can in at they don't share that info. Good luck hang in there.

  213. Sarah says

    Hi, Craig. Thanks again for your response. Yeah, I'm most likely not going to get the tax credit (unless I get incredibly lucky – which I hope I do).
    I just want this home, and hope that if it's a good deal, then it does go through! I say "if" because the home is being sold in "as-is" condition. I will be getting the inspection done, upon bank approval. 

  214. Craig S. says

    Hi Sara, I worked in the construction field to put myself through college. The home I bought about 10 years ago is a townehome. My economic degree has come in handy, I bought at the right time and have enough cash saved, to keep this property and rent it out, and buy the new home. In regards to your, if it is a condo you should be alright when the inspection come around. Not, much they can do to mess them up, that can't be fix reasonable cheap, since all the exterior and interior stuff that is exposed to the elements are in common areas. Most of the things will just be cosmetic. Good luck, I  hope you can get the credit too, it would be nice to have a little extra fixer upper money for new paint and new flooring. Let me no what happens.

  215. Joseph says


    Hi Craig,
    Thanks for your response to the tax credit issue. Interestingly enough, I got similar information from my Realtor and family within 48 hours of your reply. So I’m just waiting for an acceptance or similar any day now. My understanding is that the short sale package is with the investor. Not sure what the process is after? Thanks for all your information here.

  216. Craig S. says

    Well, BOA got back to us yesterday, not bad for a timeline 1/16 offer, package from seller probably submitted mid feb. Of course just like BOA they want an extra five thousand. So, Patrick and Sarah hang in there. Patrick sounds like your on the same timeline, hopefully you will get your response soon from BOA. Good luck to you both I will keep you informed of the rest of the process, for future reference.

  217. jennifer says

    Hi everyone,
    We but in a offer on a short sale Jan 26, 2010,offer was accepted,we have a negot,and a approval letter from the first trust. 2nd trust is on board but in the final stages of getting approval letter from 2nd trust.How much longer will it take and what stage do you think we're in?any info will help and yes we are dealing with BOFA!THANKS!

  218. Stephanie M says

    My offer was accepted Jan 28 on a practically new townhome.  The sellers are using a short sale firm to negotiate their short sale.  The send my weekly updates on the short sale progress.  Last week they sent me one saying its in "valuation" phase and has been assigned a negotiator. Can you tell me if this is nearing the end of the short sale process? Thanks

  219. sarah says

    Craig, I had a couple of more questions. Do you think the bank will counter my offer? Listing price is 92k, my offer is 80k, average home price in area is 79k, and loan amount is 123k. Only one lien on property. My earnest money deposit was 2k.
    Also, do you think it will make a difference if the house was only on the market 7 days when I made my offer? I'm asking because I know the lender asks for an MLS listing history. What do you think?

    • says

      Sarah –

      You offer should be more than acceptable to Bank of America. If the most recent comps are for $79K and your offer is within 90% of this number you are ok. Marketing history is not as critical at this point in time with short sales unless there are no comparable sales in the area. If you are the first home to be sold or under contract for 2 or 3 years and are setting the price of the neighborhood then a listing history is critical.

  220. jennifer says

    I'm sorry, yes I mean lien and I was just told that my realtor isn't sure who the lien holder is of the 2nd lien,but they are a lien holder for the 1st morgage,that we already have approval letter to buy it as a short sale,just wondering how long it can take for the 2nd (they already approved the amount)

  221. Craig S. says

    Hi Sara, I don't know sometimes if you asking me or the moderator Craig. But his responses are usually more accurate. You should be okay with the offer like Craig B said. Per my experience and the experience of my negoitator BOA has been counter on pretty much every short sale. I wouldn't worry about it on your price tag, keep in mind it the offer is fair they might come back with an $1,000, or something. Just because there BOA, and have no rhyme or reason. Remember I had a 370,000 dollar offer and they came back with 5,000, when I was figuring if they came back with something it would be 10,000 or higher. Just enough little extra in their pockets, but not enough to make you walk away. Keep in mind they aren't going feel sorry for anybody getting a steal in a short sales transaction. Would you feel sorry for an individual just but a house for 80,000 dollars that you had giving out a loan for 123,000 for I doubt it. Good luck Sara hang in there. We just got back to BOA that the five extra thousand was okay. Once, you get to this point. You should see how fast everybody all of the sudden springs into action, even BOA.

  222. Patti says

    Hi,  Just wondering what the chances are of actually closing on a short sale right now.  I just made an offer on a home that has only 1 mortgage with Bank of America.  Will the new HAFA help out here ?

  223. sarah says

    Sorry…didn't realize there are two Craigs answering questions. Thank you both Craig S. and Craig B.
    The suspense is killing me. A new home was just sold in the neighborhood for 96.5k, which will take average of homes with same beds and baths upto 83.5k. When I put the offer in, the average was 79k and my offer was 80k. List price is 92k. Now why will BofA accept my offer with a new higher average and a sale price so much higher in the same neighborhood? The home I put an offer on is in pretty good condition too.

    • says

      Hi Sarah –

      Bank of America will typically approve a short sale if it is within 90% of current market. This is where the Realtors need to do their work. They need to meet with the agent doing the BPO and make sure they appraise the home using the right comps in the neighborhood. One sale at $96K will not necessarily mess up your short sale.

      If they do counter back with a higher offer you can always counter back a bit higher and they typically will take it. For example if they counter with $89K you can counter with $82K and they would most likely accept it.

  224. Craig S. says

    Hi Sara, I know it was confusing you on who you were asking questions. Craig B is the moderator and the real estate agent, he definetly know more about the process than I do. But I have BA Economics and back in school for my CPA licensing, and lived Chicago. So thats why I have responded to you. Plus, I have short sale going on to. The offer on the new listing, will only come in play if BOA does like they did to us last tuesday, and says if your offer wants to stay at 370,000, than you need to come up with some comps to support your answer. If they counter with an increase which from my personal negiotator sounds common for BOA, you will have to decide if its were it. Like I said they only counter on my loan for 5000 on a house that is on zillow( not that they no what is right) for 4385000. I wouldn't worry to much about the other it doesn't sound like that your offer will be effected by it. But, if Craig B wants to chime in, he is the expert. I only know that I know the economics of the thing. I have been right so far with that. Pull out all money before crash, tried to convince developers in 2007 that the bubble was going to burst, of course they would not listen(greed). And now am getting the a house in the same neighborhood for 50% off. and able to keep the townhome to rent out and give to my daughter when she turns 18 (now 2) for her for college education. ( to sale, live in, or take out a home equity- which is tax deductible up to 100,000). I hope I doing something right. Hang in there I am cheering for you. Craig S. ( not back to studying Business Law to which happens to be the Chapter on Real Property go figure)

  225. Dawn says

    I have a question about a short sale.  We have put an offer in on a short sale home and the morgage holder is BAC.  We have been waiting for an answer for about 2 months. We do know that BAC accepted an offer on the same house before we put our offer in, but the buyers backed out a couple of days before their offer was accepted.   My question is, because BAC has been through the process with approving an offer once already with this same home, will this speed up the process for our offer? 

  226. T says

    Hi,  I put in an offer on a house on 12/1/09 and BOA approved the shortsale on 4/1/10.  The seller sent it back and requested that it it be re-evaluated under the HAFA program.  Does this mean the whole process starts over from the beginning?  The Realtor said that they had another appraisal done last Wednesday.  Thanks.

  227. Sarah says

    Just wondering….my average for comps in the neighborhood includes homes that foreclosed (same number of bed and baths). Foreclosed homes are a lot lower than market price, right? Does that mean the average is not accurate then? Yikes….

  228. Gigi says

    Help please!  The bank accepted our offer on a short sale on 3/17.  We paid a total of about $500 for inspections and HOA docs.  BOA wanted to close on 4/30.  The title company said they cannot draw papers until they got something from BOA to say that they accepted our offer. ( All we had was the offer accepted by the seller).  The selling agent went to the bank for something in writing.  Now the bank wants the seller to sign a note for $70K.  The seller says he has no job, no money and has relocated to another city.  The selling agent has presented these facts to the bank negotiator.  Where do we stand now? Please help.

  229. Jami says

    Hello Everyone,
    My husband and I had our offer accepted buy the seller on a short sale. The bank is BOA and they are the only lien holder. It is unfortunately a Fannie May loan. The first process went well and we were told that we are now in the phase 2 negotiator part of the process. And that we should hear something within two weeks. (This two week deadline is up on Monday). We have not heard anything as of yet but we had an appraisal done and the home appraises for 155k and our offer was 150k with 4% cash back at closing. The home was originally listed at 175k.
    We sold the home we live in now and have to be out by June 30th. Does anyone think that there is a possibility that we will close before that date? Or should I start looking for apartments to rent now? Also, is there anything else that I can do in this situation to speed things up? Both realtors are great and seem to be on top of things.

  230. Craig S. says

    Sarah, I know BOA came back and said with me that they won't use comps that are foreclosure and other short sales in your BPO come in a little light, but this was at the end of the process. Don't worry about it till they come back with a verbal on the original offer or a counter. Doesn't change the facts really any. Craig S.

  231. Craig S. says

    Jami, do you have a written approval of your offer from BOA. Or is your appraisal yours for a loan or the bank's BPO. I can't let you know where your at in the process, but I not sure at want step you are on, on the ladder. I just got verbal approval of offer on April 28th, my short sale negoitator, ( not realtor, but a specialist in short sales, that my realtors use, said they would be a written by yesterday.) Of course she wrote yesterday saying that she talk to BOA and that the written is still in compliance for accuracy, and they BOA said they are really backed up, of course they are since the people that they have doing them have to be the slowest in the world.- for your info)  Craig S.

  232. noelle roy says

    Hello ~  We put an offer in on a house that is in short sale.  BofA is the bank.  Dealing with a difficult selling agent that seems not very honest.  We just found out that we are the second offer and won't be submitted until BofA answers first offer.  Seller has signed our offer as back up.   First offer is less than asking price and we are over asking price.   Selling agent seems to have a different story every day when our agent checks in.  In the mean time the seller is stealing door knobs, sound systems and anything else that can be removed.  Seller agent is aware and doesn't seem to mind.   Is there a way to step over the selling agent?

  233. noelle roy says

    Thank you so much Craig B.   One more question.  Selling agent claims to have an offer already into bofa.  Is there a way to check to see if there really is an offer?  Selling agent is not using Equator

    • says


      There is not a way for you to check unless you have authorization to do so by the seller. The selling agent could be correct that he has an offer into BofA. However, there is a very good chance that it is dead. Bank of America has moved everything to Equator and there are VERY few files being worked the old fashion way. We had moved the last of our files from the old way to Equator in March 2010 and have zero files being worked the old way.

  234. Diane says

    We are in the process of purchasing a short sale(BoA).  Unfortunately we are a third party buying from an investor who is purchasing the short sale home.  Our last notification from the real estate agent was "pending payoff demand."  Would you be able to tell us where we stand in the whole short sale procedure.  Earlier this year, the seller/investor came to an agreement with BoA but then when it came time to get the approval letter they were told to enter everything into the equator system.  Thank you so much!

    • says


      I am not sure how to answer your question. If this is Bank of America there have very specific disclosures, documents and policies that prevent investors from flipping properties from a short sale. They typically have a 60 day cooling off period to prevent this from occurring. Which means that you are not able to purchase the home immediately after the investor buys the short sale. I have never done a short sale flip and steer clear of them as I feel they push the boundaries of ethics. There has been lots of controversy around this type of sale…some say it is ok and others say it is not.

      The other item that makes me question the transaction is that Bank of America would never push an approved short sale into Equator if the short sale was actually approved. Something is fishy with this transaction…please proceed with caution.

  235. T says

    Can Anyone answer my question?  "Hi,  I put in an offer on a house on 12/1/09 and BOA approved the shortsale on 4/1/10.  The seller sent it back and requested that it it be re-evaluated under the HAFA program.  Does this mean the whole process starts over from the beginning?  The Realtor said that they had another appraisal done last Wednesday.  Thanks."

    • says

      T –

      The HAFA program is a brand new program just launched at the beginning of April. We are converting many of our customers into the program. This switch to the HAFA program will protect the seller from a deficiency judgment and give them some cash to move. So it is absolutely worth their effort to run the short sale through this program as long as they qualify. Under the HAFA program a short sale decision should be made in 30 days. Will this actually happen? I have no idea…but hopefully the process will be quick for you.

      Please keep me updated on how it goes.


  236. jennifer says

    Hi, just wondering how much further do we have to go…..we are done with the first lien but the second keeps holding us up,apparently they accept the amount they are to recieve, but will not issue an approval letter until they find out if the seller has any extra money hidding anywhere.Are we almost done or what cause this part has been going on for about 2 weeks now, and we are going a little crazy! THANKS!

    • says


      It sounds like your at close to the finish line. I am not quite sure what is going on with the second mortgage. Typically, the seller presents all of their financial information including 2 years tax returns, 2 months of pay checks, 2 months of bank statements and a current financial statement. All of this info is provided to the lenders to make a decision on the short sale. Additionally, the seller signs documents stating that the information presented is true and accurate so the lender will have a clear picture of the sellers financial situation.

      If something is a bit fishy about the sellers financials…then they may want to do a little further research to make sure there is not any fraud with the transaction.

  237. Craig S. says

    Hi Craig B, well we got are written approval for BOA last Thursday. Going to home inspection on Friday. Lock in loan at 5%. Its been a bumpy ride. But thanks for your site and your advice. For all you out there in this process, this is a good site for advice and to let some steam off. Like Craig B says, its a difficult process, but worth it. Don't be the one to bail out if you really want the house. Eventually BOA will do the right thing for everyone involved, it you are in a fair deal. Craig S. (Time frame 1-19 offer to proposed May 28th close)

  238. Craig S. says

    The HAFA from my understanding only puts an extra $1,000 in the lenders pocket, if this is true don't expect them to jump to fast on this, would you.

  239. damian says

    hello all, I was hoping I could get some insight on my situation.
    I have home under contract with the seller for $618,000 for about 5 months now.  here are some facts to mull over.
    House was listed for $1 million with no offers.
    Seller owed $700,000 to Country wide and BOA bought the paper for who knows how much
    she was Owed about $740,000 at the time of the contract because of the lates fees etc.
    BOA ordered an appraisal and a BPO in which I do not know what those came in at.
    BOA countered today finally at $750,000!!
    My thinking tells me that they have to have a balance of way less than that because they bought the paper from Country Wide, and they had to purchase it at a discounted rate.  So under their counter offer, I think they are not loosing much money at all.
    Does anyone have any educated guess as to how much lower they may go? or how I should go about finding out how much lower they would go? I would really appreciate any advise.  I have a week to accept or counter.

    • says

      Damian –

      Did the selling agent meet with the BPO agent at the house when it was performed? Has the selling agent performed a BPO on the property to estimate its market value? Typically BofA will accept 90% of market value.

      I would do a few things…
      1. Determine the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the home
      2. If you are financing…understand that the appraisal needs to come in at or slightly above the sales price. So if you agree to $750k and the appraisal comes in at $700K, BofA will be forced to accept the $700K price.
      3. Have your agent/attorney negotiate with with Bank of America on the price…in Florida Realtors cannot


      short sales anymore as of January 1st 2010. They can facilitate…but not negotiate. Only attorneys are allowed to negotiate. Since I have no insight of the true market value of the home or the max value you are willing to pay. I would offer $648K and see what they do. If they still say $750K then I would counter with $687K and tell them that this is your last and final and that you are going to walk if they do not accept. This is where your attorney or Realtor earn their money. Again, consult your Realtor or attorney on the best negotiation strategy and the fair market value of the home.

      My experience with short sales is that they will accept an offer if you have moved a bit on the price. In most situations they have room to play and rarely hold their ground on the first counter number.

  240. T says

    Thanks Craig B. It's been over a month now since the seller has sent her approval back to BOA for consideration under HAFA.  Selling agent says that BOA still hasn't sent out the packet that they told the seller to be expecting a month ago.  She also said a new HAFA negotiater was assigned last week.  Do you have any tips on getting this packet from BOA faster, also what stage are we in?  It's been 6.5 months and I am getting tired of this.  Any advice?  Thanks.

    • says

      T –

      We are still working through our BofA short sales. We had one not qualify due to it being backed by Fannie Mae. My expectations are that it will take some time to get the HAFA qualifications into the Bank of America system. It is so new that many employees at Bank of America are unsure what to do. The one positive sign is that the paperwork and information requirements seem consistent across the lenders we have engaged so far with HAFA.

  241. greg says

    i am a buyer, the short sale seller accepted on 04/12/2010. Bank of America is bank who holds the mortgage and some kind of second mortgage. The list was 165 we bid 150 with bank paying 4500 to closing costs. I am willing to pay closing costs if they decline that aspect. Supposedly lender approved for short sale previously but sellers agent did not provide any detail to my agent. I am under contract for 90 days so if i bail then i loose my deposit and i am getting impatient. Does any one think it will be approved or can estimate approx how long it will take for decision by BOA?…thx

    • says

      Greg –

      What state are you in? In Florida a contract is not effective until after the bank approves or denies the short sale. In the short sale addendum there are specific terms that give the buyer an “out” on the contract:
      1. 45 day standard response time
      2. Financing and inspection contingencies
      3. Lender approval

      I hope your contract has some language to protect you in-case the short sale does not happen or the inspection does not go well.

      Finally – get an update from your agent on the short sale process. It is too difficult to estimate your position in the short sale negotiation without more details of activity on the file.

  242. Allison says

    How long does it usually take to get the signed "letter" from bank once you accept their counter offer?  Signed the counter from the bank the same day (5/7) and still waiting for it in writing from them before we can go to escrow. I am worried because the seller's agent is incompetent (we are in month NINE of this saga!) and don't want to lose it now!
    Countrywide/BofA 1st mortgage with Chase 2nd. 
    Offer submitted 8/27/09.  Entered into Equator on 3/16/10.  Full appraisal on 5/4/10.  Counter Offer from bank on 5/7/10.  Signed the same day.  Waiting again….

    • says

      Allison –

      Craig S. is correct. They typically take about the 10 days MAX to get the letter out. If you do not hear anything by Monday I would put a full court press on the listing agent for answers and updates. Sometimes if they do not respond quickly it means something could be wrong…such as they never received the accepted counter from you…or they are waiting for an update HUD…or they closed the file by accident.

      Make sure everything is ok and that BofA is still working the short sale.

      Craig B.

  243. Craig S. says

    Allison, it took us about 10 days to get the written approval letter after we accepted the counter. Look at this way the interest rates are in your favor right now. So be happy for that.

  244. greg says

    thanks craig
    i am in rhode Island.  in the offer i signed i have an opt out in 90 days I should of put it at 30 or 60 but i cant change it now.  My agent says that the seller agent hasnt been returning her phone calls in a couple of days.  My agent is waiting to know what stage we are at and who the negotiater is.  I guess i will keep on nagging my agent every few days to get an update.  Short Sales Suck !

  245. Craig S. says

    For all you in a short sale process, Craig B really know his stuff. It might seem like a no win situation with BOA. But, if  you really want the house, and are the first offer hang in there. We are closing on June 11, have a house that was originally sold for 727,000 for a price of 375,000 and a interest rate of 4.75 for 30 years. Your dreams can come true, if your willing to hang in there, don't bail like the original owner did, and most likely you will come out of a short sale smelling like roses. You have to give it to Craig B, this site helps you vent and understand this difficult process. Thanks,
    Craig B for info and having this site for us.

    • says

      Craig S –

      That is AWESOME news! Many thanks for the kind words and I really appreciate your help giving feedback to other buyers and sellers looking for help.

      Sounds like you got a fantastic deal and will enjoy your new home for a long time.

      Craig B.

  246. jennifer says

     I know we are close but waiting on the 2nd is a nightmare our closing date comes and has gone twice already and know from june 1 to july 5th.For about 3 weeks now they have been looking into this sellers finances and has made little proscess,dont even know if we will close by  deadline  june 30 tax break…what do you think?

    • says

      Jennifer –

      Do you know who the 2nd mortgage holder is and how much the 2nd is for? Did you structure the offer to handle the 2nd mortgage or was this a surprise at the end? I can give you some insight once I find out these details. Typically Bank of America will only pay $3,000 towards the second mortgage payoff.

      Second mortgage holders typically with take a 10% pay off. If the second mortgage was over $30k there can be some issues. For example if the second is $100K and the pay off is $10K and Bank of America will only contribute $3K…then you have some big issues to deal with.

      I address this upfront on all of my short sale listings before any offer is presented. This is the one critical piece that many agents miss and create some big issues and unpleasant surprises.

      – Craig

  247. Allison says

    Thanks, Craig S and B!  We actually got our written letter from the 1st (BofA) on Saturday.  Still no written approval from the 2nd.  Seller's agent wants to open escrow anyway.  The newest wrinkle is that the seller's agent has informed us that we will be using his escrow company.  Owned and operated by him.  Our deposit check would actually be made out in his name.  Uh……  this is a guy who we already have been battling with for 9 months because he is completely incompetent and we don't trust a thing he says.  He won't disclose to our mortgage broker what the estimated fees will be.  He refuses to pick a different escrow company that is a 3rd party with no interest in this transaction.  I think this is a HUGE red flag…. 

    • says

      Allison –

      This has red flags all over it. First, unless the seller is paying the title costs then you have the right to use whom ever you wish. Second, there should have already been preliminary HUDs generated for Bank of America that show their NET in the short sale. This preliminary HUD should have been given to you.

      My other worry is with the second mortgage. This is one of the top reasons short sales fail as the Realtors never correctly address how to handle a second mortgage. I am cutting and pasting from an earlier response on this…

      “Do you know who the 2nd mortgage holder is and how much the 2nd is for? Did you structure the offer to handle the 2nd mortgage or was this a surprise at the end? I can give you some insight once I find out these details. Typically Bank of America will only pay $3,000 towards the second mortgage payoff.

      Second mortgage holders typically with take a 10% pay off. If the second mortgage was over $30k there can be some issues. For example if the second is $100K and the pay off is $10K and Bank of America will only contribute $3K…then you have some big issues to deal with.

      I address this upfront on all of my short sale listings before any offer is presented. This is the one critical piece that many agents miss and create some big issues and unpleasant surprises. “

      Do you have a buyers agent representing you or is the selling agent handling both sides? If you feel there is unethical events happening in the transaction I would consult your local real estate board for advice…if this agent is also the broker and handling both sides of the deal then there is no one at that agency to confide in and represent your interests.

      Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

      – Craig

  248. Lisa says

    We are the buyers of a short sale. Seller approved in Nov 2009, entered equator March 2010. BOA countered April 28 for 10k above list price.  We accepted counter, last heard they requested a new hardship documentation from sellers, which was submitted May 5th. However, still know written letter of approval from BOA. Any suggestions as to how long now. Been on the hook for 6+ months now. Need to see end of tunnel. HELP PLEASE.

    • says

      Lisa –

      You should be very close. It sounds like the finalized all the terms and are now getting final approval from the investor and the committee at Bank of America that handles that investor. Typically there are committees for larger investors that meet twice a month and approve very large batches of short sales.

      Please have the Realtor make sure everything is OK in Equator and that they actually have EVERYTHING. Sometimes they are waiting for one piece of info or never received the update and the file just sits there in Never Never Land.


  249. Justin W says

    I am a buyer in a BOA Short Sale.  Seller accepted offer on 3/17 submitted through Equator on 3/18 and approved by BOA on 4/16.  Our lender ordered an appraisal which came in $4,500 less than contract price.  BOA agreed to take the appraisal price and send a short sale approval amendment with closing no later than 5/31.  We were set to close this Friday 5/21 until the title search revealed a 2nd mortage on the property that the owner claims he forgot about.  At this point I do not know how much is owed on the 2nd, it was taken out in 2006 for 39k.  What do you think BOA will do at this point since they did not previously know about a 2nd?  Do you think this can be resolved and closed before 6/30?

  250. Allison says

    Craig, thanks for your response.  We actually do have a buyer's agent.  We also do have a copy of the breakdown from BofA and they are offering 11K to the 2nd mortgage (Chase has the 110K 2nd) so hopefully at 10% they will agree.
    The seller's agent is very shady, has been from the beginning.  Which is why we are not stupid enough to deposit over 200K into escrow with him.  When we suggested yesterday that we use a neutral 3rd party BONDED escrow company (of his choosing), he sent us a scathing email saying he had another buyer just dying to get into first position for 30K more than we offered AND he would be the agent on both sides.  He only went with us because he gave our word.  This is clearly a phantom offer.  Because if he truly withheld this from the bank, I'm sure BofA would be extremely pleased to hear this news.  Not to mention the seller whose best interest he supposedly represents.
    We offered this morning to pay all the seller's escrow fees if the seller would choose a neutral 3rd party bonded escrow company.  We do not think the seller's agent will go for this, since he told our agent over the  phone that since his commission is being cut on this deal, he has to make up the difference somewhere and that is why he is running the escrow.  We are readying to report this guy once he drops this deal, since clearly his client's best interest is to use a different escrow company and pay NO FEES.  I have a feeling the only way we are going to be living in our dream house is if we end up picking it up as an REO! 
    We are planning on taking action with the Real Estate board and licensing agencies either way so that nobody else has to deal with this guy. 

  251. Fran says

    Hello Everyone,
    Soooo glad I found this website and all the advise on here has informed and encouraged me. Dealing with my realtor and loan since Jan. I was told by my realtor I could let my lease run out in Feb. and transition into my place by March. What a lie and a waste of time as a single mom…  I placed my short sale offer of 60,100 (eventhough the asking price was 60,000) and it was accepted by the seller (last week of) March 2010, now I am still waiting to hear from BOA, but with BOA having the habit of asking for more I don't think I'll have it.  My closing date went from 4/30 to 5/30 now 6/30.  Since BOA normally works within 3-4 months….. I feel like my realtor has been pulling my leg the whole time if there was no way for us to close by 4/30 anyway and of course the new closing date is set for 6/30.  I called the BOA short sale line and wasn't even able to get the status of my file…..Upset now that there may be a good chance I don't close by then and miss out on the credit, however as I saw in an earlier post short sales are not for a hare.  I think I wouldn't mind waiting if my housing arrangments were a little better,  Trying to hold on, but if 6/30 doesn't work out I'll have to move on…

    • says

      Fran –

      It is a frustrating process and becomes especially complicated when you are renting and trying to time your lease with the purchase of a home. Do you know what progress if any Bank of America has made on your file? Have they done a BPO? Are you in the Equator system? Did they have you supply all the necessary info and pre-qualification letters from your lender?

  252. Fran says

    Hello all,
    I got word that my BPO is complete and that they are doing the "soft credit" right now  to ensure I can pay it, so what are the next steps for them to complete and how far am I from closing (on average)?
    Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Fran –

      I did not see this post and responded to your first post. A BPO is a good start and means they are working the file. Once the BPO is in you should hopefully get an answer right away if your offer is too low. If you do not hear anything it could mean that the offer falls within their parameters and they are doing more analysis…of course on the other side of the coin is that if you do not hear anything the file could be stalled. Make sure the agent tracks the status and results of the BPO to make sure Bank of America received it and is working the file.

  253. jennifer says

    Just recieved an email saying the 2nd lien holder is starting to come along now!They ordered a BPO on the house for  and they said we should be able to close before June 30.What do you think?and how long does and what is a bpo?

  254. greg says

    !!!!!!!!  good news boa approved my offer  but adv they will not pay some of the attorney's fees.  I dont have the details yet.  Any one know how much that will be in ri?  offer 165k with 4500 to closing costs offer originally accepted by seller on 04/13.  Found out bank accepted today.

    • says

      Greg –

      Attorney fees could be anything. It could be attorney fees to negotiate the short sale. Attorney fees to represent the seller with the foreclosure. Attorney fees by the HOA for filing a lien on the property. These attorney fees should have been identified in the preliminary HUD that was submitted to Bank of America for approval. You were given this preliminary HUD to review to see all the fees that need to be covered before it went to Bank of America…right? 🙂

  255. Craig S. says

    Hi Jen, a BPO is a brokers price opinion, its basic were a real estate agent hired by the bank, goes to the property and lets the bank know what he thinks its worth. Then, the bank uses that price to decided what amount they will settle on. It usually takes a couple of weeks after the bank gets the BPO to record and analyze the deficiency settlement. Lets hope they have any hiccups for your tax credit. Make sure you have a lender that can rush your closing through, because you will definitely be still cutting it close. Good Luck. ( if you don't get the credit, remember you still get a great deal and probably a great rate on your mortgage, which in the long run will outweigh the tax credit. But, I do understand you wanting it, a cash kiss from Uncle Sam is always nice.

  256. sarah says

    Craig, I've heard that they've already done an appraisal. Just this week, they sent an affidavit of arm's length transaction to be signed by buyer, seller, and both agents. They collected recent paystubs and bank statements from seller. Now, that they've received these items, they're trying to assess preforeclosure attorney's fees.Do you think we're close to the end? How much do you think these attorney's fees are? What's happening?

  257. greg says

    thanks craig B
    unfortunately i never had privellidge to the  preliminary HUD that was submitted to Bank of America for approval.  I will have to consult my realtor to get more info on what the attorney fees are for and how much.

  258. Fran says

    The bpo is completed and hope to hear an answer within 2wkk (according to my agent) and hear I thought I wouldn't make it for the tax credit, but since they moved it to 7-31-2010 that helps a lot.

  259. jennifer says

    Thanks Craig S. The sellers agent reguested a rush on the BPO…so hopefully it wont take that long!!But your right we have great  rate on our morgage!

  260. Pearl says

    Hi Craig or anyone who can help me,
    I am trying to buy a short sale property from Bank of America and I don't know whether the B of A is playing games or my agent is not telling me the truth about B of A's short sale process. Can any one helps me?
    I made an offer on one house in May. The agent told me that this house has been approved short sale at the price of $249K after waiting for about 9 months (the house was listed on Sept 2009), so we made an offer at $249K. A few days ago (June), the agent said B of A counters me at $295K. I asked the agent: hasn't the short sale been approved at $249K? The agent said that B of A uses a new system called Equator.  When B of A did BPO before (meaning when they approved the short sale in May at $249K), they only look at the outside of the house. Now, they did another BPO and send someone to look at the inside of the house and thus came up with a counter price as $295K. Do you think it is true that B of A changes a news system and it will affect the price that they has approved? It is just one month away and the two BPO prices became very different. Do you think it is just a negotiation strategies that B of A plays? Do you think will the B of A accept an offer that is less than their counter price? What should I do in order to make them drop the price down?
    I already make a counter offer at the middle ground, which is $270K since I like the property. But, my boyfriend said that I should counter at a lower price, so there is room for negotiation. Am I doing wrong? Should I counter at $255K or $260K in order to make the B of A negotiator drops  the price down to $270K or lower? Or, I should insist the amount on my original offer which is  $249K?
    If B of A accept my offer at $270K, can I still ask them to credit me some money to fix up the home. The garage is converted to a room illegally and I want to tear the illegal addition down. Also, I want to ask them to pay to fumigate the house for termite infection. Do you think I can get what I want? I want to get some of my money back since I add $2K to my original offer price.
    Please help me to solve the puzzle. Thank you very much.


  261. Pearl says

    Hi Craig or anyone who can help me,
    I am trying to buy a short sale property from Bank of America and I don't know whether the B of A is playing games or my agent is not telling me the truth about B of A's short sale process. Can any one helps me?
    I made an offer on one house in May. The agent told me that this house has been approved short sale at the price of $249K after waiting for about 9 months (the house was listed on Sept 2009), so we made an offer at $249K. A few days ago (June), the agent said B of A counters me at $295K. I asked the agent: hasn't the short sale been approved at $249K? The agent said that B of A uses a new system called Equator.  When B of A did BPO before (meaning when they approved the short sale in May at $249K), they only look at the outside of the house. Now, they did another BPO and send someone to look at the inside of the house and thus came up with a counter price as $295K. Do you think it is true that B of A changes a news system and it will affect the price that they has approved? It is just one month away and the two BPO prices became very different. Do you think it is just a negotiation strategies that B of A plays? Do you think will the B of A accept an offer that is less than their counter price? What should I do in order to make them drop the price down?
    I already make a counter offer at the middle ground, which is $270K since I like the property. But, my boyfriend said that I should counter at a lower price, so there is room for negotiation. Am I doing wrong? Should I counter at $255K or $260K in order to make the B of A negotiator drops  the price down to $270K or lower? Or, I should insist the amount on my original offer which is  $249K?
    If B of A accept my offer at $270K, can I still ask them to credit me some money to fix up the home. The garage is converted to a room illegally and I want to tear the illegal addition down. Also, I want to ask them to pay to fumigate the house for termite infection. Do you think I can get what I want? I want to get some of my money back since I add $2K to my original offer price.
    Please help me to solve the puzzle. Thank you very much.


    • says


      Yikes. This sounds like a good one. First, Bank of America will not “approve” a short sale unless there was a previous buyer…and the approval would never occur with only an exterior BPO. The approval is for that buyer only. Second, the Equator System has a computer program that runs analysis against the most current appraisal or BPO. They typically will reject the offer and not counter the offer.

      My questions to you are the following:
      1. What is the house worth? Is $295K fair market value?
      2. What is the value based upon the current distressed market?
      3. What is your estimated repairs costs on the house?
      4. How does your offer compare to current market value?

      Bank of America will consider a counter offer if there is a negotiator working the file in Equator. If it is just you against the computer program then there is no negotiation. One important note is that Equator will sometimes have a 12 month old BPO or appraisal in the system. Double check to ensure they have the most current and most accurate BPO.

      Send me some answers to my questions and I can give you some additional guidance.

      Craig B.

  262. Jennifer says

    Just discovered this site and it looks like Craig S. is the man with the information 🙂  My husband and I are trying to buy a short sale house and are (hopefully) nearing the end but we have hit a snag.  BofA approved the short sale and sent the approval letter, however, the sellers are not happy with the verbiage in the letter (the content being that  BofA can potential come after them later in court for the deficiency – at least that's how I understand it).  We live in CA and this is purchase money for a primary residence for the owners.  It's my understanding that in our state they cannot come after the sellers.  However, they are refusing to sign the letter and are asking BofA to change the verbiage.  Just wondered if anyone has any experience with this sort of situation?  Thanks!

  263. Craig S. says

    Hi Jen, If this deal is in California, then I believe you live if a anti-deficiency statue state. This statue prevents lenders from going after a lendee(seller) for the amount of amount of the defiency. BOA is probably using a standard document, that  it uses for all states. My state of IL is not a anti-defiency state, so the verbage is in there about BOA being able to go after the amount. I have a lawyer that I provided the seller, and he has dealt with him on this issue. He has informed me from multiple transactions of short sales, and from his experience, that the Bank in this economy almost neversspends anymore money to try to going after the defienct amount. Thats pretty much why they are doing a short sale and not letting it go to foreclosure, where they get a lot less money. I don't know if your seller has a lawyer, he should get one if not it will help him a lot, and it will come out of you purchase price anyway. If I were you I would have your Real Estate Agent or your lawyer, explain to him that you live in a anti-defiency state, and thats a blessing because they are legal protected from the lender. Unlike my seller is. I don't claim to be a lawyer, so I would see if you can get yours or his to calm his fears. I only know the statutues from the Business Law II class I just completed from my CPA. Good luck I hope this helped. Remember Craig B is real estate agent, and is the specialist is these cases. So if he answer to he has more knowledge than I do. I can only speak from my experience in dealing with BOA on a short sale and my educational background.

    • says

      Hi Jen –

      Craig S. is correct on this. The seller should always contact an attorney and speak with their accountant on any of these decisions. I have posted a few time on the Bank of America deficiency letter. It is a MAJOR issue with sellers who were under the impression that they would be able to walk away free and clear with a short sale. California is a non-recourse state so an attorney will be able to advise on how this will be handled. Here is a re-post from a few weeks ago…

      The good news is that you are not the first to come across this. The bad news is that Bank of America RARELY waivers on the language. We come across this all the time and advise our sellers to seek an attorney and weigh the pros and cons of rejecting the language. The only successful way I have seen the language changed is through a forensic analysis on the mortgage, blatant mortgage fraud by Bank of America and some very expensive and crafty lawyers to get the language changed.

      The questions the seller needs to consider is what are their options?
      1. Foreclosure is a “guaranteed” deficiency judgment and short sale is a “may pursue a deficiency”. With a short sale you may be able to negotiate the deficiency “if and when” it occurs. With a foreclosure there is no negotiation. Which path would you want to take? A guaranteed deficiency or a possibility?
      2. Do the sellers have the money and financial strength to hire an attorney and prove mortgage fraud with the Bank of America loan to get the language changed?

      Bank of America is a MASSIVE company and they do not change their legal language on short sales with out Senior Executive and approval from their Corporate Attorney. Frankly they do not have time to get them involved on a short sale and will take the property in foreclosure..

      Once the short sale occurs the short sale department will turn over the file to the recovery department. The recovery department will analyze if there are any funds to get. Most of the time there is not any money to pursue and the file and deficiency is dropped.

      Craig B.

  264. sarah says

    I'm asking again. 
    Craig, I've heard that they've already done an appraisal. Two weeks ago, they sent an affidavit of arm's length transaction to be signed by buyer, seller, and both agents. They collected recent paystubs and bank statements from seller. Now, that they've received these items, they're trying to assess preforeclosure attorney's fees. A negotiator has been assigned.
    Do you think we're close to the end? How much do you think these attorney's fees are? What's happening?

    • says

      Hi Sarah,

      Is Bank of America asking for these fees? If so, they should be put onto the HUD for everyone to see…including yourself. If there is a negotiator working the file and getting down to this level of detail then the file is progressing through the system. Assuming there is not a second mortgage, PMI or a Fannie or Freddie backed loan then the file should move quickly. I would say you have about 3 to 5 weeks before approval.

      Craig B.

  265. Jennifer says

    Thank you for your comments, Craig (both of you!).  The sellers have contacted an attorney and the attorney has said that although the bank cannot go after them in this state, he has had clients who have had to deal with a lawsuit down the line from the bank.  Although the lawsuit always gets thrown out in our state, it still costs time and money.  This is why the sellers are refusing to sign if the language is not changed.  They said they would rather see it foreclose than risk a lawsuit later?  Doesn't make much sense to me.  Any advice for us buyers as to what we should do at this point?  Still haven't heard from the team leader at BofA on this situation.  According to the seller's agent, she spoke with him on Thursday and he said he would have to talk to his supervisor.  Thank you!

  266. greg says

    Hi craig,
    My ri short sale is going good after bout 48 days the negotiater and seller agent are saying my offer both price and closing cost assist were "Verbally Approved".  okay nice but that was over a week ago and my agent is still working on obtaining the paperwork.  I dont want to get excited cause verbal is not binding.  What would you say the percentage is that verbal approvals become reality ?  Im trying to close by 06/30 for uncle sams tax credit.

  267. Craig S. says

    Jen, like Craig B said, a foreclosure is a guaranteed defiency judgement against this seller. He not safe with the lawsuit later philosphy either way. The sellers agent needs to get the attorney to explain this to him. He will be liable for a defiency either way.(but because of the anti-defiency statutue passed in CA, they have protected these selfish people for there financial decision, the same goes for bankrupty, not that its especially hard to get a Chapter 7, since the laws changed in 2005.) The seller should be informed that would he rather help the bank take a littler loss, or go into foreclosure and take a much bigger loss. What do you think might make them more mad and go after a deficiency. Thats one of the reason the Bank agrees to a short sale to make them more money, especially if its a Countrywide Loan that they bought for 30 to 40% on the dollar.  They would rather make 30% to 40% profit, than break even a take a loss. Also the risk or foreclosure gives the asset time to depreciate even more.) The seller's agent needs to wake this individual up, let them know that it's in his best interest to to this short sale, his still liable for the deficiency either way, (not really CA), and this will not ruin his credit for 5 to 7 years or even longer. But, if this cannot be drilled into this person, you might have to walk. Like Craig B said its hard to get BOA to change its policy for one retarded individual, especially because they feel sorry for nobody involved. The seller who bail on his responsibility, or unfortunately you for getting such a good deal at their expense. Good luck Jen, I hope it works out for you. Sorry for being long winded, but these individuals are the some of the reason we are in this mess, and had to vent a little.

  268. Craig S. says

    Hi Greg, we got the verbal and it took about a week, to get the written. Have you agent be ready with Home inspection, and you might want to be ready to lock your rate and have you loan officer be ready to rush this threw. The bank once they send you a written, go in to hyper drive, so they won't be a problem. Get your ducks in a line and you might still make it by 6/30. When I got my verbal on April 28th, had written by May 6th, loan officer had me scheduled to close May 28th( it could have been early if I wanted, but I changed it to tomorrow June 9). Good luck.

  269. Jennifer says

    Thank you, Craig, for your advice.  I agree 100%.  I think that the hold up now is a bunch of nonsense, but I don't feel like our agent (or the seller's agent) is on-board with this idea.  Our agent has mentioned that she "feels bad" for the sellers and "completely understands" why they are pursuing this change in the verbiage.  We are looking to hire a lawyer on our behalf and see if he/she can help the sellers figure out what the truth is in this matter.  We really don't want to see this house go, especially considering that we have waited months for a bank approval and then finally got it.  But, we'll see what happens.  Hoping a lawyer can help us figure this all out.

    • says

      Sarah –

      Freddie Mac will have to do 2 BPOs on the property and then have their team review the paperwork. It really depends upon how efficient Freddie Mac and Bank of America are in communicating. We have seen anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks to get get it done.

  270. sarah says

    Craig, the bank approved but said they need an exact $ amount before they can even submit short sale to Freddie Mac for final approval. They said if they don't have this exact $ amount, then Freddie Mac wouldn't even look at the file. Why would Freddie Mac need an exact $ amount to approve? Does this make sense to you, Craig? Can you tell me what is going on and if this is right?

    • says

      Sarah –

      This is correct. An accurate and updated final HUD needs to be submitted to Bank of America and Freddie Mac. It needs to cover all taxes and HOA fees. You need to prorate forward to the estimated closing date and ensure it will cover the time it takes to approve the short sale. Also, you must have the type of financing on the HUD and any associated costs with the loan. Your lender should be able to provide this in the Goof Faith Estimate. This will get the number as close to exact as it is going to get. Until they have this they cannot do anything. Freddie Mac is obligated to cover some fees and must see a very detailed, complete and accurate HUD to approve.

      Craig B.

  271. sarah says

    Thanks for your response, Craig. This is so nerve wrecking because to get the tax credit we have to close by June 30. And, I still need to get an inspection done after approval. And, I don't know how long it takes to schedule a closing. Do you know? (It's a cash purchase.)
    There's so little time to do all this. I hope Freddie Mac hurries up!!!!!

  272. Jennifer says

    Just wanted to update on our situation.  We decided to pursue other homes since we figured the likelihood that BofA would change the verbiage on the approval letter was pretty slim.  Friday afternoon (3pm PST) we viewed a house that really liked and decided to make an offer on.  Our agent called the short sale seller's agent and let her know that we were likely moving on to another house.  She had no update at that time but said she was working on it.  We spent Friday evening figuring out what to offer on the new house and trying to be ready to walk away from the house that we had spent months trying to buy.  Out of the blue, Saturday afternoon we get a call from our agent (we hadn't put our offer in on the second house yet) and find out that BofA changed the verbiage and the sellers signed the letter!  After the agent found out that we were going to move on, she spoke with her broker who knew a "big wig" at BofA and gave him/her a call and told them the situation.  They issued the new letter that evening!  We still can't quite believe it.  So it looks like we are on our way to actually closing this deal!

  273. jennifer says

    Hi,just got a call from our agent and the first trust has extended there contract with us to get the 2nd on board,but the 1st is wanting another bpo cause the 2nd bpo was vauled at $120,000 and its been 90 days…so they are saying its worth $120,000  and we are under contract at $105,000 and it appraised at $105,000 so now ther seller agent said she had to upload the docs in the equator system and she was in contact with the supervisors themselves now!Can they change the price on us,and how much longer is this going to take?

    • says

      Jennifer –

      Are you doing an FHA loan? Send your appraisal of $105K to Bank of America. If this is an FHA loan they have to use this valuation. The selling agent needs to be controlling the BPOs and appraisals. Oftentimes they are done by REO agents and they have a conflict of interest when they do valuations. If they value the home high and the deals falls thru and then it goes into foreclosure, they have a good chance of getting the property as an REO listing.

      There is almost a 20% difference between your appraisal and the BPO. Something is off and you can have the BofA BPO rejected and order a new one…send in your appraisal with the rejection request.

      Craig B.

  274. David says

    Well,  I'm another one of the poor souls attempting to buy a Countrywide / BOA short sale.  The listing price was $240,000 and the seller signed the PA for our offer of $230,000.  It has been empty for 3 years and we are the only offer the entire time.  The seller's agent had us jumpo through all sorts of hoops – including an actual mortgage application and approval (not just a pre-approval) .  That turned out to be a good thing….  the appraisal came back at $239,000 , and our mortgage company is also BOA. 
    BOA countered at $275,000 ????  Their own appraiser on our end says it's only worth $240,000??  Because of that we made a full appraisal offer of $239,000.  BOA came back at the same $275,000.   Final effort was to resubmit with our home inspection (I am a State of Michigan Code Official and Registered Architect) , our own comparibles, estimates for the repairs in excess of $100,000 and a copy of the BOA appraisal.  Three weeks no answer back.
    The only way I can see it is they either think a cash buyer is going to come along (we are the only offer in three years) or they are expecting to foreclose.
    Does anyone have an idea of where to go from here?  Or is the deal dead? 
    To add insult to injury – the seller's agent relisted the property at $275,000  – which I don't see how she can if our offer has not been rejected not have we released the seller on the signed PA (seller put no deadline on the closing – since we have full BOA loan approval).  My agent is reporting her for this as well as other unethical practices.
    Does anyone have a number I can call direct to speak to someone for some answers?
    Thank you!! 

    • says

      David –

      I see this two ways:
      1. The selling agent has no idea what he is doing with Bank of America
      2. The selling agent is not disclosing the full picture of all the liens and issues on the home

      If the appraisal came in at $239,000 then all of the BPOs and appraisals that Bank of America ordered should be in that range. Bank of America typically will accept as low as 90% of appraised value or $239K to $215K. Was the appraisal given to Bank of America? Was the selling agent present for the BPO and appraisals by Bank of America? How recent were the appraisals and BPOs done by Bank of America?

      Is there a second mortgage? This could be what is driving the $275K price.

      Bank of America may be big, slow and unresponsive, however they are rarely off on valuations because they use local agents and appraisers to value the homes. So…either your appraisal was extremely low or something else is wrong with this deal…I suspect something else is wrong with the deal that the listing agent has not disclosed to you.

      Let me know if you find out anything.

      Craig B.

  275. sarah says

    Out of a purchase price of $80K, how much do you think is commission for the agents involved. How much do you think the bank is actually getting (an approximate amount)?

  276. Craig S. says

    Hi Jen, I glad you said you were going to walk, that scare tactic will work with BOA once in a while. The second BPO is probably a way for BOA to get a little more money, or they feel that the market may have improve, which it did a little in the month of May for prices. I suggest you let them know that you will walk, or counter with a little more. If you want the tax credit. Otherwise, let the credit go and try get BOA, to get there act together, remember its still only 8,000 if you have to pay fifteen more to get its not worth it. Plus, interest rate might rise and its definitely won't be worth it. There still below 5%, that will save you a ton over 30 years.

  277. jennifer says

    Thanks Craig!We did that yesterday and now we are waiting again.My agent said that the sellers realtor is a short sale closing agent….and our appraisal was done in March,so my agent said thats why there is a diiference in price,and our appraisal is good until September…is that right ?If everything goes smoothly from hear on out how long could it take to close????
    Thanks again your AWESOME!!!!

    • says

      Jennifer –

      That is great that it is an FHA loan. There is basically nothing Bank of America can do other than accept or deny the short sale. You can not have the sale price be above the FHA appraisal and you are not able to try and get a higher appraisal due to the FHA rules and time periods. So…it is either “deal or no deal” for them.

      Hopefully you will have an answer in a week or so since there are no negotiations with your offer.

      You mentioned a second mortgage. Do you know how much the second mortgage is for? Bank of America will typically pay only $3K towards the second mortgage payoff. Being an FHA loan they will not allow you to cover the difference on the second mortgage. This is where it can get a bit tricky and messy trying to make the deal work if they have a large second mortgage.

      Craig B.

  278. sarah says

    We have a verbal approval so far from Freddie Mac.
    Craig, it seems like 84% of the purchase price is going towards the lien on the property, and the rest is going towards commission, fees, etc… Does that sound about right to you? 

  279. David says

    Hi Craig,
    Yes the appraisal was given to Bank of America with our offer.  It was in fact a BOA appraisal from our end on the mortgage side.  On the sellers side, BOA ordered a BPO.  I found out that the BPO was done without a visit to the property but I could not find out if it was a local agent.  The problem seems to be that the mortgage department and loss mitigation departments at BOA don't see eye to eye.   The selling agent was present for the appraisal by Bank of America and if she wasn't I'm sure it would have appraised for less.  The BPO (BOA LM dept) and appraisal (BOA through our mortgage app) were both done in May.  The loss mitigation dept @ BOA has not ordered an appraisal.  Our agent sent all the comparables within the past 3 months for the immediate area as well.
    There is a second but it was one of those 80/20 with Country wide and America's Wholesale Lender – which are both owned by BOA now – there was no mortgage insurance on the notes and they were not May or Mac loans.
    The seller's agent is most definitely a problem – she couldn't use a computer if she tried.  Big problem since BOA use of Equator.
    My agent gave up on her and has been dealing directly with the Seller's Realestate Attorney.
    BOA won't even answer the Attorney either – I'm guessing BOA is asking the seller to sign a note and she won't….  so if that wre the case – I'd think BOA would look at the info in front of them and realize our offer is much better than foreclosure?? 
    I cannot find a logical answer.

  280. sarah says

    Craig, please answer. We have final approval from lender and investor. However, I noticed that some of the charges on the preliminary HUD are too high, especially the title charges. Is there anything I can do to get these lowered at this point….and still close before June 30th? I don't want to walk away from the property!
    Please, answer. 

    • says

      Hi Sarah

      We always over estimate the fees to ensure everything covered by Bank Of America. Once they approve you cannot go back for more funds to cover additional fees.

      Have the title company re-run all of the numbers. If they over estimated then this is something that can be corrected without having to get re-approved by BofA. They will just have to approve the final HUD.

      Hope this helps.

      Craig B.

  281. sarah says

    Unfortunately, that idea got shot down by my attorney….he said any adjustments to title charges at this point would not give us back anything, it would only increase what the lender is getting. But, thanks anyways 🙂

  282. jennifer says

    Hi,Craig just found out that the second lien is asking for $5,000 but boa is only given 3k so its taking this long over 2k but we dont know the exact amount for the 2nd lien holder!.Also I heard this morning from our lender that they extented the tax credit!!!I hope they did just in case we don't close by the 30th!!!
    THANKS !!!!

    • says

      Hi Jennifer

      OK. There is a $2K short fall on the second mortgage lien release.

      I typically try to get this addressed up front, but unfortunately that is not your situation.

      There are a few options:
      1. Seller brings $2K at closing to pay off second
      2. Buyer pays the $2K at closing. The issue here is that FHA will not allow you to pay as a closing cost. You may be able to increase the purchase price to cover the $2K as long as you do not exceed the FHA appraisal amount…and you need to get creative with the HUD and BofA to make it work as it will show them paying $5K towards the second when they only approved $3K.
      3. Push back on second and try to get them to agree to the $3K. Use FHA as the leverage.

      Craig B

  283. jennifer says

    Craig  I wrote a comment but I guess it never got put in right so here it is again…the 2nd morgage can't be to much because they want 5k from BoA but they are only given up 3k,so thats what is going on now so we still haven't heard anything and the sellers agent already said we wont close by our 7/5 date so we continue to what…also we don't mind it now because the tax credit got pushed until 9/30/10!

  284. Craig S. says

    Hi Jen, I glad they are trying to extended the tax credit, remember the bill was only approved by the senate, it still has to go through the house. Though I think they would be crazy not to pass it also. To many people dealing with bank owned or short sales, that will miss out if they don't. Good luck. I hope you get your house, and the tax credit. Craig S. We closed on the 9th, and have been repairing and painting on ours. Hang in there everybody, there is a finish line.

  285. greg says

    Hi All,
    Does any one know when the US house of representatives will vote on the proposal to extend the tax credit closure date ?
    I have been searching the web with no answer

  286. Craig S. says

    Hi everybody, don't be distracted by the tax credit, its only  10% of the purchase price, if you think that its $8,000 or $6,500 you can only get that if you are buying a house of $800,000. Craig S.

  287. Lauren says

    Hi Craig,
    My name is Lauren and I am also one of the many trying to purchase a short sale with BofA. We wrote our offer and it got accepted by the seller on April 1st. Three weeks ago they asked for the sellers hardship letter. It is now the end of June and we haven't heard a thing…. Is this just part of the process or are the sellers and their agent not telling us something? It seems to me like other people that put their offer in around the same time as we did are recieving counters or at least hearing back. My agent has emailed and their agent has said he hasn't heard anything yet. What should I do at this point? Thanks so much! -Lauren

    • says

      Hi Lauren,

      I really do not know how to answer this one. When a short sale is submitted to Bank of America they must get a full and complete short sale package. If they are just getting the hardship letter in June after two months…then this tells me that Bank of America does not have the entire package and the short sale package is in Never Never Land. Unless they have ALL of the documents and a completed package they will typically not process or review the file.

      Finally if it has been 60 days the financial statements and bank statements from the seller are already aged and will need to be submitted again. Check with the agent and specifically ask, “When was the full and complete short sale package submitted to Bank of America and do they have all of the required documentation?”

      Craig B.

  288. Marie T says

    Hi Craig,
    I have an offer on a short sale home in CA.  There was another offer that was lower than ours that was accepted by the sellers just hours before the listing agent received our cash offer and financial stmt.  Doesnt the bank want to see all offers?  We had our agent submitt an addendum that we are in first back up position, over 30 days ago to the listing agent.  We have not gotten a response back from the sellers or listing agent and have been told the agent is out of town.  Our buyers agent doesnt want to rock the boat.  But dont all offers have to be presented to the sellers in Calif??  What can we do at this point to let the bank know we are wanting to purchase the home and will pay more money for the home?  thank you for your advice.

    • says

      Hi Marie –

      Bank of America only has the capability to handle one offer at a time. In Florida all offers must be submitted to the seller. The seller then will pick the highest and best offer to submit to the lender for short sale approval. Unless the seller immediately signed the first offer, you should have had time to get your offer to them for review. It takes a few days to put a short sale package together and submit to Bank of America, so there is a very slim chance that the offer was submitted to Bank of America within hours of getting the offer.

      Craig B.