Elizabeth Weintraub • Sacramento Real Estate Agent: August 2011

How Banks Circumvent the 10-Day Turnaround Requirement for Preapproved HAFA Short Sales

There is no good reason to get a Bank of America short sale preapproved through HAFA anymore. You don't gain one ounce of time by getting preapproved and, in fact, it takes longer to close. I am on my last leg of those atrocities, thank goodness. I am presently working on my last few preapproved HAFA short sales. These are not just any old preapproved HAFA short sales. These are Bank of America preapproved HAFA short sales, which are a whole 'nother animal due to the fact that Bank of America hires a third-party vendor to process these.

Which I'm not blaming the bank for doing -- heck, Bank of America just layed off 3,500 employees.

Bank of America has got to cut costs and overhead; I get that part. But why can't they hire a competent third-party vendor? Or at least put pressure on the companies such as AMS that they work with now? Surely they recognize the indifference, slow turnaround times and other signs that used to be prevalent in Bank of America's own policy structure in recent history: BE. Before Equator.

The federal guidelines for HAFA state the bank must respond to an offer for a preapproved HAFA short sale within 10 days. That's 10 business days, not calendar days. The third-party vendors get around that requirement by redefinining what constitutes an offer and a complete file. They have figured out that all the have to do is ask for another document or request a change in a HUD, and they can start the clock ticking again.

Or maybe I give them too much credit. Maybe they're just flagrantly disregarding federal guidelines. Hard to say.

However, it is not unusual for the negotiators to request a new HUD over and over and over. When the HUD changes, often the TOS changes, which requires all new signatures and dates. My preapproved Bank of America HAFA short sales have been in escrow almost 90 days now. 10 days? 90 days? Nobody cares except this Sacramento short sale agent, the buyers and sellers and buyers' agent, buyers' lenders who are ready to fund, the transaction coordinators, escrow and title personnel -- and we are powerless to close.

We've been trying to close another Bank of America short sale in Sacramento for the last 7 days. This is a cooperative short sale, which is similar to a HAFA. We uploaded the HUD to Equator on August 23rd, which was a Tuesday (7 days ago), in hopes of closing on August 26th, which was a Friday. No response to the HUD. Early on the 26th, I sent to emails through Equator. No response. We called and were told that they'd get to it when they got to it.

Late in the day, the negotiator requested a new HUD. Line 506 needed to state "relocation incentive," instead of "cooperative incentive" to seller. We changed it and uploaded, now hoping to close on August 29th. Nope. Not gonna happen. Late in the day on August 29th, we are told to change Line 506 again and, this time, add the sellers' names to that line. There is no conformity. I think they make up the rules as they go along. Every negotiator has a different opinion rule.

But this is how they get away with murder. Outta be a law against that. Oh, wait.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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