Bank of America Getting a Report Card?

Well it may be about time. It appears after many long months of distressed borrowers trying desperately modify their mortgage or short sale their property their frustrations may be finally heard. It has recently been reported that the Treasury Department is planning to rate mortgage companies on how they treat customers as part of the Obama administration's $75 billion foreclosure relief effort.

How do you think Bank of America and other will rate?

Read the full story below….

The new report will include measurements of how each company is handling borrowers and is expected by July, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Senate lawmakers on Thursday.

More than 100 companies participate in the program, which is designed to help up to 4 million borrowers avoid foreclosure.

Speaking in unusually strong language, Geithner said many companies "are not responding to the needs of responsible and increasingly desperate homeowners."

If they don't comply with the program's rules, he said, "We will withhold incentives or demand their repayment."

The program is designed to lower borrowers' monthly payments by reducing mortgage rates to as low as 2 percent for five years and extending loan terms to as long as 40 years. Mortgage companies get taxpayer incentives to reduce borrowers' monthly payments. Homeowners have to complete at least three months of payments to qualify for permanent loan modifications.

About 231,000 homeowners have completed this process so far. That's about 20 percent of the 1.2 million borrowers who started the program over the past year.

Many experts say that's inadequate. "Families are tragically being foreclosed on when foreclosure was preventable," said Richard Neiman, New York's top banking regulator and a member of the independent Congressional Oversight Panel. The panel was set up to oversee the government's financial bailout programs.

And the number of dropouts is rising. About 155,000 homeowners didn't complete the initial trial phase. Another 2,900 fell out even after their loans were modified. Many more are still in limbo.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press, Alan Zibel, AP real estate writer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bank of America Implements HAFA on Equator for Short Sales

I will be the first to step out on a limb and say that Bank of America short sales are getting better…significantly better. Bank of America has long has issues with their short sale process. I have personally heard from hundreds of frustrated buyers, sellers and Realtors across the country about the dismal record Bank of America has had with short sales.  My Bank of America Short Sale Blog posts continue to be the number one visited and most commented posts on my blog:

Bank of America formerly Countrywide New Short Sale Policies and Guidelines

Bank of America formerly Countrywide NEW NEW Short Sale Process…

Bank of America and Equator (Formerly REOTrans)…Short Sale Nirvana?

It has been a long 6 months since the launch of the Bank of America and Equator short sale platform. Both Bank of America and Equator spent millions of dollars to develop a customized short sale system to handle the hundreds of thousands of Bank of America short sales. The learning curve has been steep, but we have seen significant changes with Bank of America and Equator…positive changes. All of our Bank of America short sales have been put into the Equator system and all of the files are moving through the system fairly efficiently. Click here to view a detailed Bank of America and Equator short sale training guide.

Equator Short Sale Training Guide

Equator Short Sale FAQ

I just received and email from Equator stating that ALL Bank of America Short sale are now required to go through Equator. Additionally, Bank of America will be participating in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative HAFA program. This is exciting news and we are very optimistic that Bank of America will put the right foot forward and turn their disastrous history with short sales around.

Bank of America's HAFA Program Website gives homeowner's details on their support of the program.

Below is a copy of an email that I received on Friday from Equator.

Bank of America Home Loans will now be using Equator as the primary tool for short sales.  It is a self service portal that automates the short sale process.  This will streamline the process and improve the experience for both customer and real estate agents.


As a result, Bank of America will no longer be accepting faxed short sale documents, effective immediately you will need to upload those documents through Equator. Information to assist you with the Equator system can be found at


Once a short sale is initiated on a Bank of America loan, you can also access the educational guide within Equator.  It can be found within the "Upload 3rd Party Authorization" task.  This guide provides tips for avoiding delays and navigating system functionality.


To start a short sale today, go to


REMINDER: The federal government recently announced the short sale program guidelines for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program which will go into effect on Monday, April 5, 2010.  Bank of America Home Loans is implementing HAFA, the program designed to help those customers who were not eligible for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or any other modification.  For more detailed information on the HAFA program, go to the National Association of Realtors site at


Questions?  Please call the Bank of America Home Loans Short Sale team at 1.866.880.1232

Driftwood Estates Short Sale Just Sold 462 Driftwood Point Road

This wonderful home just closed in Driftwood Estates in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It was a Bank of America Short Sale.

This four-bedroom, two-bath home had views of the Choctawahatchee Bay and sat on a large 0.5 acre lot.

Call Craig Baranowski today at 850-259-1788, or search all the listings in the area by using our powerful MLS search engine.

Homes in Driftwood Estates

Santa Rosa Beach Homes Market Analysis and Market Snapshot

462 Driftwood Point RD_25_resize
462 Driftwood Point Road, Santa Rosa Beach

Offered At: $259,000

Bank of America Short Sale Successfully negotiated.

Team Baranowski is the leader in negotiating Bank of America Short Sales. We have a 100% success ratio with Short Sales in 2009!

If you are a troubled homeowner, or have a family member or friend facing foreclosure, please give us a call for a confidential consultation about the possibility of a short sale.  Call Craig Baranowski at 850.259.1788 or email  us @

Switching to a New Buyer with a Bank of America Short Sale

I get hundreds of emails and blog posts on Bank of America Short Sales. It possibly could be from the millions of loans that were written by Countrywide Home Loans…but most certainly from the tens of thousands of frustrated sellers, realtors and buyers looking for answers on a Bank of America short sale.

Our team handles at least a dozen Bank of America at any given moment and we learn lots of tricks and loop holes to try and streamline and optimize the long and painful process. One mystery we could not solve is why do some short sales move right through the system when you switch buyers and other times you have to start all over?

The day before Thanksgiving we were scrambling trying to close out two Bank of America short sales. We got in touch with a wonderful and competent Bank of America negotiator…yes I said wonderful and competent. She handled our two issues with one phone call and we received closing documents on a short sale that had been lost in the system. We decided to push our luck and ask her for a special Thanksgiving favor.

We wanted the negotiator to review a file that had switched to a new buyer and we received closing docs and then the buyer walked. We then had a new offer in 3 days and the file was sent back to start over in the system.

This amazing and competent negotiator enlightened us on the “missing link” to adding a new buyer to a short sale.

The missing link to the mystery of why it works on one and not the other is pretty simple…Expired Documents.

As we all know, BPOs, financial statements and any documents in a short sale package have a limited shelf life in the Bank of America system. Typically it is 60 days. If the short sale is close to being approved they will extend the expiration date of the documents and continue processing. However, if you switch buyers with expired documents then the file becomes expired. Bank of America negotiators can not approve a short sale with expired documents.

So the loop hole is to update all of the files in the system to get a fresh “expiration date” on the file and then switch to the new buyer. This way the file is current and will not be closed by a Bank of America representative.

So simple it is almost frustrating.

If you are a troubled homeowner, or have a family member or friend facing foreclosure, please give us a call for a confidential consultation about the possibility of a short sale.  Call Craig Baranowski at 850.259.1788 or email  us @ Team Baranowski has a 100% success rate for all of our short sales for 2009!

This site, Craig Baranowski or Keller Williams Realty is not providing legal or tax advice. The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that sellers considering a short sale should consult an independent legal and tax adviser for more information.

Bank of America's Irresponsible and Unacceptable Short Sale Practices Must Change

Well it is a catchy title. I know we all yearn for any improvements with Bank of America’s current short sale and mortgage modification track record. A track record that is abysmal and most certainly one of the worst in the industry. I recieve dozens of phone calls and emails from angry customers across the country complaining about Bank of America. All feel improsoned with inadequate and unacceptable response times on Bank of America short sales and mortgage modifications. Many buyers and sellers have put their lives on hold and live in turmoil while Bank of America literally watches the dust collect on thousands of files with little to no action for weeks or even months…or shuffles the paperwork from one negotiator to another with little to no progress on the file’s status. This is not how the customers were treated when Bank of America was writing the loans.

With 1 in 5 loans in Florida estimated to be with Bank of America, formerly Countrywide, it is clear that this issue has raised the eyebrows of a number of people in Florida that can prompt change or at least raise the issue up to the executive ranks at the nation’s largest lenders .

Today, Tuesday November 17th, Attorney General McCollum sent a letter to the Florida Executives of Bank of America, JP Morgan/Chase, Wells Fargo and Wachovia. He called upon the executives to provide homeowners with a fair and efficient loan modification process. To help solve the crisis he requested the executives to meet with him and discuss the bank’s responsibility to make immediate and necessary changes.

Whether this letter will create any action from the executives remains to be seen. It is clear however, that the issue will not be buried or swept under the rug. Too many homeowners, home buyers and industry professionals are impacted by this crisis and their demands for change can be heard loud and clear across the country.

In McCollum’s letter he states Florida borrowers are:

·         Placed on hold for excessive periods when calling for help

·         Forced to speak to unknowledgeable representatives

·         Transferred from department to department and person to person

·         Forced to submit identical paperwork again and again

·         Provided no avenue or recourse for complaints

·         Never informed  about the status of their loan modifications

Bill McCollum says these practices are “irresponsible and unacceptable”.

These are all the same issues affecting the processing of short sales. Any positive change to the processes and procedures for short sales and mortgage modifications would be welcomed with open arms.

You can read Bill McCollum’s letter to Bank of America by clicking HERE.

If you are a troubled homeowner, or have a family member or friend facing foreclosure, please give us a call for a confidential consultation about the possibility of a short sale.  Tracy Baranowski at 850.259.4270 or Craig Baranowski at 850.259.1788 or email  us @ Team Baranowski has a 100% success rate for all of our short sales for 2009!

Foreclosure Program Gets Another $3.1 Billion to Help Modify Mortgages

On Wednesday it was announced that the government will provide another $3.1 billion to a group of mortgage servicing companies as an incentive to modify loans to combat record levels of foreclosures. The modifications, which included reductions in projected payments for some companies, pushed the total amount for the program to $18.3 billion, from $15.2 billion. The biggest adjustment was made for Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, part of Bank of America Corp., which received an increase of $3.3 billion, bringing its total to $5.2 billion. Treasury spokeswoman Meg Reilly said the original estimates were based on publicly available information. The revised estimates were calculated using more accurate data supplied by the companies. Further adjustments in the amounts available to the companies will be made on a quarterly basis, she said. The administration announced in March that it would provide $50 billion from the $700 billion financial rescue fund as an incentive for the mortgage industry to modify loans at lower monthly payments. The effectiveness of the relief plan remains in doubt, with questions lingering about how much the lending industry is cooperating. Many housing counselors say it hasn’t made much of a difference. The administration last month expanded the program to provide incentives for lenders who streamline short sales which is the process of selling a home that is worth less than the mortgage, or a deed in lieu that transfers ownership of a home to the lender. Both options will still ding the homeowner’s credit score, but less than a foreclosure.

If you or someone you know is looking at buying or selling distressed property…rely on the experts, The Distressed Property Experts of Team Baranowski!
Note: The information provided is for informational purposes. No legal advise is given or implied. Please check with a qualified attorney in your area

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.