A Short Sale Nightmare
Back in 2007 when short sales were just beginning to make an impact on the market, I had my first short sale listing. It was a very well maintained pool home in Jensen Beach and the owners had been meticulous in maintaining their dream home. Unfortunately, circumstances worked against them as the changing economy cost the husband his job and the wife was diagnosed with cancer.
With the medical bills, no income and the huge stress on their lives, a short sale was their only option. Their lender would not consider any other alternative. We placed the home on the market for fair market value and received a cash offer within 30 days. All the paperwork, hardship letters, etc, requested by the lender was submitted promptly.
Now comes a really long story and I won’t bore you with all the details. Here’s the quick synopsis. I called the lender at least once (sometimes twice) a week for status updates. I rarely got any kind of satisfactory answers. They lost the paperwork numerous times. One episode about 6 months into the process, the lender asked for a form at 5 PM on a friday that needed to be notarized and returned within 24 hours. Seller is in the hospital, managed to get it signed the next day, found a notary on Saturday, submitted the form. On Monday the lender advised tha they had closed the case since they never received our paperwork. It appears that they do not review weekend faxes. And on and on it went with similar horror stories.
Another month later my seller is released from the hospital to return home. She can’t get into the house. The lender has sent out a crew and re-keyed the home to insure it’s safety! This was about the final straw and I enlisted my friends as well as professional associates to help these folks that were being treated horribly.
First, we filed a police report for trespass and unlawful entry with the Sheriff. I then contacted our state reps, Congressman and Senators with a lengthy explanation of the situation. I spoke to some national bloggers who wrote about the story. Also contacted the Federal Reserve and filed a complaint.
And it worked! I was Fed Ex’d the keys for the home the next day. The sellers and I received a call from the lender advising us that this case has been escalated and will be expedited. While we never did receive an apology, the short sale was cleared to close two weeks later. It closed just over one year from the date of the offer.
PS: The sellers are now doing well. Cancer is in remission. He has a new job. They have bought another home.