Short Sale, Bank of America and the Squeaky Wheel

Real Estate Agent with Hometown Realty

Short Sale, Bank of America and the Squeaky Wheel

When I was a child I always heard "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" and today..I was the Squeaky Wheel.  I have been working on a Short sale since November 16th.  The sellers paid top dollar for the house $425,000 in 2005 and put $40,000 down. 

In June my sellers had a 40% reduction in pay and the other was laid off.  No question about the situation, it was a hardship.  They needed to sell short and move on.  The property had 2 Liens.   Indymac was the first and Bank of America the second. 

Listed the home for $350,000 no showings, 2 weeks later dropped to $325,000 4 showing, 2 weeks later Magic Number $299,950.  The property had 8 showings and 2 offers in 2 days.  Accepted the first one ($305,000) Sent my short sale package to both banks.

What I send to make a short sale go as smooth as one can.  (I say this with humor because I do a bunch of Short sales and I have had only a few without some issues.)

□ Sellers Hardship Letter (written by Seller )  
□ Authorization from Borrower/Seller
□ Financial Information Form
□ Copy of Mortgage Coupon
□ Copy HOA Coupon for each HOA (if any)
□ Copy of Paid or Delinquent Property Tax Statement
□ Copy of last 2 months Pay Stubs or Profit and Loss Statement, if you are self employed
□ Copy of last 2 months Bank Account Statements (checking, savings and stocks)
□ Copy of two  years Tax Returns
□ Agent Cover Letter (the current market, the property, the sellers situation)
□ Copy of Listing Agreement
□ Copy of MLS Print Out
□ Copy of Offer
□ CMA supporting the price
□ Copy any supporting documentation for value (newspaper articles, graphs, pictures etc)
□ Copy of HUD1 prepared at offer price.
□ Any other information that will help the case.

Jan 16- IndyMac approval in 60 days...only catch, Bank of America would recieve $4,000 on the second.  Not awful, but the balance was around $60,000.

Jan 16 -Bank of America...not so good...(Keep in Mind) I call every 3 Business days...No assigned negotiator, ordered a BPO (lost it), they also unable to find my authorization letter, that was sent in multiple times.  Quick tip...Ask them to look in the account rolodex..and magically your name may be in there (mine was a few times.) 

Sorry this is such a long story, but I want to explain why after four months of this....I made a formal complaint to the OCC and the BBB.  (Squeaky Wheel)

Jan 20- Bank of America still working on it. 

Feb 1-Bank of America ordered a new BPO unable to locate the first.  I send an updated CMA and meet the new BPO agent at the property.  She did not work in the area,  had no access MLS or Lock box...Really?  WTH...I was nice.  I emailed her all the comps, room measurements, the CMA I sent to B of A, purchase contract, etc.. everything to make her job easy! Okay, so I am not really nice but wanted her to be able to do her job and NOT hold this up! 

Feb 23-Email from Bank of America...We are now sending you to Equator!  OMG!!  We are this close and now a New system.  I complain,  get NO WHERE... I upload all the 124 pages into the Equator system.....(keep in mind I faxed and snail mailed the same documents in November)

Feb 26- Bank of America more request for random stuff..they do not need...purchasers Birthday? and first 5 of SS#..I don't have this information, I represent the seller & the purchasers may not want to give this information to you, Bank of America.  I get the info..put it into the system.

March- 2 Indymac sets a foreclosure date...March 17th..(they do not trust Bank of America)

March 3...Get the official Negotiator at Bank of America!  Woo Hoo!  I am getting somewhere...until I read her first message...I just ordered the BPO!  ummm NO you have 2! 

Side note...One thing I do like about can copy the VP, SVP, Team lead, neg..a bunch at one time...I immediately remind ANYONE who reads this "You have 2 BPO's check your system, do NOT order another one"  I get a note back thanking me (from negotiators boss)...Yes they do have one.  That agent i sent all the stuff too...she did not use it!  $348,000...WHAT, HOW, NO WAY...Not even close.  I asked if they would look at an actual appraisal the purchasers had done the same day!  It came in at $312,000.

March 4- Sent Bank of America the appraisal and still no answers..buyers have sold their home and are going to be homeless March 15th.  The purchasers are discussing a release.

March 5-10 send daily emails stating the facts to everyone in the equator system..and then I transferred to no one... 


MARCH 11- went to the OCC website and filed a complaint,  then the BBB.  Then I sent this to Bank of America!

Bank of America,

I am appalled you have made no attempt to work out this short sale.  I have made a formal complaint to the OCC and BBB.  The decision to DO NOTHING is NOT in the best interest of your shareholders.  Bank of America had an opportunity to receive a partial payment and opted to do NOTHING and now will receive nothing.  The sellers of the property have made every effort to get you the documents you requested on time.  I have done everything to market the home and secure a purchaser who is willing, ready and able to buy the property.  Indy Mac, the first Lien holder, accepted the purchase contract in less than 60 days and have postponed the sale date and extended deadlines.  Bank of Americahas dropped the ball again.   Bank of America, I will continue to fight this battle and will share my story with the media and anyone who will listen until things change.  Someone must defend the distressed families going through your short sale process.  They have lost too much already.    

Jennifer James 

It felt good to hit send!  I copied all 14 people I had in my contacts with Bank of America email addresses.  If nothing else I did what I needed to for my sellers and the rest of the people who Bank of America ignored.  Someone needed to let Bank of America know what they were doing was WRONG!

3 minutes later-I had 3  calls from Bank of America."What happened, why are you so upset, your tone has changed?" Bank of America is almost ready to approve this you entered one field wrong.  20 minutes later I had an approval. 

"The Squeaky Wheel, get's the grease"   I love a challenge but this was unnecessary.  Thank goodness it will be a sucessful short sale and Bank of America decided to approve the short sale.  I have 2 more B of A short sales in the process and I plan to squeak early...Thanks for reading..I am new at Blogging so let me know how I am doing...

Posted by

If you would like more information on any of the topics discussed in this blog, please contact me directly.

Feel free to subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with my latest posts.

Also, lets connect on these great social networks:

Follow Me on Twitter   Follow Me on Facebook      My Outside Blog     

Comments (23)

Eileen Knode

Congratulations!  And good luck with your pending BofA short sales!  I did enjoy reading your blog.  It is always nice to hear the details of fellow REALTORs  experiences.  Thank you!

Mar 12, 2010 04:45 AM
Eileen Knode

Congratulations!  And good luck with your pending BofA short sales!  I did enjoy reading your blog.  It is always nice to hear the details of fellow REALTORs  experiences.  Thank you!

Mar 12, 2010 04:45 AM
Linda Cherry

Congratulations!!  I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story and you are definitely a "pit bull" for your clients.  I know they greatly appreciate you standing your ground and working what was in the best interest for all parties.  I am anticipating how your other two short sales come along with BOA.  You take care and continue your blogging.  Great job!

Mar 12, 2010 05:32 AM
Kevin Weatherspoon

This is a perfect example of why I love to do business with you Jennifer! That is a very well written story and thanks for sharing. You guys ought to see her when she gets mad!

Mar 12, 2010 06:47 AM
Ray Wright
Keller Williams Realty - Riverside, CA
SoCal Realtor - A.L.C. - Company Trainer & Coach

Love ths story.  Thanks for blogging it.  It's nice to hear success and positive stories to keep us all inspired.

Mar 12, 2010 11:01 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

What a great post.  I needed this all put down so precisely.


Mar 12, 2010 11:41 AM
Mike Hogan
The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty - Mechanicsville, VA

AWESOME! Simply awesome!! Nice work we can all see why your called the Short Sale was queen right? LOL

I just took a B of A short listing...I might just have to borrow this tactic. Thankfully youre right around the corner for me to bounce questions off!

Mar 12, 2010 01:05 PM
Jennifer James
Hometown Realty - Mechanicsville, VA

Leroy, Eileen, Linda, Ray, Ginger & Mike

This was such a amazing story, I had to share.  I am glad you enjoyed reading it and I love the wonderful comments.  Thank you so much for your kind words.


You know I will help.  I look forward to it!  I have a few connections at B of A...I think they will remember me.  (I bet they wish they never met me)

All the best & Happy Short Selling,

Jenn James

Mar 12, 2010 01:57 PM
Darbee Fisher

Thanks so much for this article! You are a shining example of a great agent!

I will use this information and will share it with other short sale agents.

Bravo! and congratulations for being a squeaky wheel!

Mar 14, 2010 07:32 AM
Gene Allen
Fathom Realty - Cary, NC
Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate

Amazing how it works sometimes.  You just never know so keep on truckin.

Mar 14, 2010 09:00 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Glad you were squeeky and that things finally worked out.

Mar 15, 2010 04:07 PM
Wendy Shelley, ABR, GRI, SFR (Long & Foster, Alexandria)

Thanks for putting it all so succintly!  What a story!  Will use this as my template when I need to be a Squeaky Wheel.  Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

Mar 19, 2010 07:33 AM
Joan Stansfield
Keller Williams, McLean - McLean, VA

I feel your pain, Jennifer.  Great post!  I'm in the thick of it with B of A now on a short sale; it's been 6 months and it's so hard not to lose patience.  Your persistence and tenacity paid off!

Mar 22, 2010 04:50 PM
Martin Kalisker
Natick, MA
Real Estate Ethics & Dispute Resolutikn

Most successful short sales start with the borrower contacting the lender first.  We are Realtors, not short sale negotiators.  In many states, what you did could be considered overstepping your boundaries of professional conduct. 

Where do you get off DEMANDING that the second lien-holder get less than their fair share of the proceeds?  Who did ther predatory lending?  Was it the primary lien-holder or the secondary?  Probably the primary.  The secondary usually lends on the equity.  The first lienholder takes the hit because of the hardship, the secondary because of the decrease in market values.

You say you were successful.  For whom? 

Trust me. BofA got rid of you because you were a pain in their side and they didn't need a gnat flying around their faces.  I hope that you never need to work with them again, because these lenders can also reject you as the seller's authorized agent and refuse to work with you in the future.  They too, have black lists and I bet you a dollar that you are now on it!

I'm not trying to be mean - just pointing out that your sense of entitlement doesn't make things right.  Sure, the negotiator assigned to the case should be talked to by a supervisor about the care she was giving to the case, but it sounds like you hadn't even established a rapport with this person to help her do her job better.

Just my two cents worth.

Mar 23, 2010 01:43 AM
Jennifer James
Hometown Realty - Mechanicsville, VA

Wow, Thank you for your honest opinion.  I enjoy a good discussion with valid points.

I would like to address each of your points.

1.  The borrower for this property was the first point of contact with each of the lenders.  All of my short sales start this way. 

2. I am sorry if I came across as "demanding" the second note take the offer.  The terms were clearly stated in the short sale agreement from IndyMac.  IndyMac was not willing to negotiate and had a foreclosure date scheduled.  I was only stating the facts that were presented to my seller in black & white. 

3.  As for successful, the sellers were able to move on with their life, not have a foreclosure on their credit and were released from all deficiencies.  This is why I help sellers with short sales.

4. Yes, I do believe Bank of America got rid of me because I was a pain.  As for a blacklist,   I am currently working with Bank of America on four short sales.  They have responded to each of my emails, phone calls and have been communicating effectively to all parties. 

5. As for rapport,  I can only do so much when they change negotiators, systems, etc.  I would prefer to have the negotiator return calls, emails, etc. not chase anyone who can help.

I will continue to do what I can to help the sellers that hire me.  I can only hope Bank of America will continue to improve the way they communicate with all parties involved. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.  I am not perfect, I just shared what worked for me. 

Mar 23, 2010 03:18 AM
Erika Hansen
Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group - West Des Moines, IA

Jennifer this is a great story and congratulations on your success. Yesterday I was in LeRoy Housers CRS 111 course and he mentioned this story multiple times but didn't ever really give us the details. I'm sure the way that you represented these seller's was rewarding for you and them! Congrats again!

Mar 26, 2010 01:24 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty


While B of A used to take forever to process Short Sales, and still take a healthy length of time these days, they are getting infinitely better since Matt Vernon came on the scene early this year.  


Jul 12, 2010 11:17 AM
Lorna Furderer
HER Realtors - Troy, OH

Obviously the lone opponent of your actions has not worked a BOA short sale, nor many others.  In this market, we HAVE to be short sale negotiators to survive, since in Ohio the depressed economy has made our housing market one third REO's, one third short sales and one third regular market sales, and those numbers may be different depending on where your particular area is.  You can be fabulous and professional with the negotiator, but someone who is swamped with short sale files, punches a timeclock, and isn't remotely interested in the phrase "time is of the essence" doesn't give a rip about your buyer or seller and their short sale deal.  Good job, Jennifer, and more power to you! 

Sep 07, 2010 10:13 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Let's hope this lender doesn't follow the path of Wells Fargo: No more extensions on approval letters - close by the approval date - or don't close at all!

Sep 17, 2010 03:52 PM
Signe Danler
Corvallis, OR

Thank you for your account of how you handled this short sale with BofA, and especially your list of all you submit. I am about to take a short sale listing where BofA is the lien holder, and I have heard nothing but horror stories about how bad they are to work with. Your blog confirms it, but also gives a glimmer of hope that they are improving, and how to deal with them if not.

Apr 03, 2011 03:18 AM