Love / Hate – Volume One

Services for Real Estate Pros with Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc.

Here's my first chance to introduce Melissa! She's our team's lead negotiator. Melissa has a mind like a steel trap. She can tell you about a conversation with a loss mitigator she had 18 months ago. Because of this give, she is the best one to put together our (likely quarterly) list of mortgage companies that we love and hate. Here you go...


1. Citi Mortgage: used to be our least favorite - in the last year or so, they've really improved their processes. The average turnaround time from start to finish of a short sale is 30-60 days, and it will go to a "prospector" or processor first, then to a negotiator. They are usually quite responsive, and use email almost exclusively.

2. America's Servicing Company/Wells Fargo: these are sister companies and are handled/reviewed out of one office. The average turnaround time is 30-60 days, and the negotiators are very responsive. They use email almost exclusively once it's assigned.

3. Fifth Third: The average turnaround time is 15-60 days, depending on whether it's a senior or junior lien. The downside is they will almost always ask for a promissory note on junior liens, and they are very tough negotiators. They are quite responsive and on top of their caseload.

4. HSBC/Beneficial/Household Finance Corporation: They are sister companies and they're handled similarly. Turnaround time is 30-60 days. Once the offers have been processed, they may go to other locations for review, but the negotiators are usually on top of things and should have an answer to you quickly.

5. Select Portfolio Servicing: Average turnaround is 30-60 days. SPS can be a bit frustrating, since no single person is assigned to the review of an offer. Hold times are usually not long, and any one of the reps in the Short Sale Dept will be able to review the offer with you while you're on the phone.


1. Countrywide/Bank of America: No surprise this is #1, right? Since Bank of America bought out Countrywide, processes were supposed to have improved - instead the average turnaround times have increased to 6-12 months (seriously), and the negotiators are all but unresponsive. Escalations mean nothing anymore - they have even created an escalated escalation because regular escalations are so common that pretty much every short sale they have is currently escalated. Many negotiating companies and REALTORS® have black-listed Bank of America because they are so difficult. We have not (yet), but we are much pickier when choosing to take cases with a BofA loan.

2. Washington Mutual/Chase: Chase recently bought out WaMu. Average turnaround time is at least 6 months. That's really the only tough thing about them. They seem to be simplifying processes, although they're still bombarded with short sales, and are busy cleaning up the messes WaMu made with short sales.

3. Ocwen: Average turnaround time is 45-90 days, which isn't so bad; Ocwen will ask for a CMA form from you. Not so bad, right? Here's the difficult part:: much of their customer service is outsourced to India, so good luck getting someone who actually can give you accurate info. You could spend months trying to get all the I's dotted and T's crossed on your offer, but if the offer is too low, no one will tell you. They'll just keep giving you the runaround, so you have to GUESS what they think the value is when they haven't even done a BPO. Pretty crazy, right?

4. PHH Mortgage: Average turnaround time is 4-6 months. PHH takes about 4-6 weeks in each of their three phases, and it takes 4-6 weeks to get into the first phase. The negotiators are pretty unresponsive and you'll wait on hold for at least 20 minutes (usually longer than 30 minutes) to talk to a customer service rep. If the BPO comes in too high, the whole process starts over from the very beginning.

5. US Bank: Average turnaround time is 4-8 months. You may get very frustrated initially being passed around to a bunch of different departments and gathering essentially no information. They may tell you that the property needs to be listed for at least 90 days before you submit a short sale offer. The good news is that once it's assigned to a negotiator, things should get easier. Also, many US Bank loans are in-house, so they have a little "wiggle room" on the values and offers.

Of course if you want to completely get rid of this headache, you could take advantage of our team, while getting full commission and not charging the seller or buyer. Talk to Joel about that or visit the web site below.

Dedicated To Your Success,

Short Sale Negotiations: you earn FULL COMMISSION and no fee to buyer/seller -

Comments (2)

Scott Baker Coldwell Banker Realty - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio

I have one currently with BOA, tough at first to get ANY answers or responses. Now, 5 months later things are starting to happen. We will see how it ends.

Thank you

Feb 27, 2010 08:30 AM
Joel Zieve
Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc. - Grand Rapids, MI
#1 Michigan Short Sale Team

Best of luck Scott!  The ones we've started with Equator seem to be going faster.  On the other hand, we've got one that's going on 20 months now ($40k property - same buyer).  We just had one that Titanium Solutions negotiated for BoA.  Titanium approved it, sent it to Freddie Mac who approved it. Titanium told us it was all approved & we'd be getting the written approval from BoA within a week.  BoA called and said they closed the file because the offer was too low.  I could go on and on with story after story.  Let's hope it gets better because they certainly have the vast majority of loans and short sales.

Feb 27, 2010 08:50 AM