Short Sale Tips from Richmond VA

Real Estate Agent with Hometown Realty

Short Sale Tips from Richmond VA.  None of these tips are exact, every lending institution is different.  Here are a few tips I have learned over the past few years as a Short Sale Agent in Richmond, Virginia.

When I meet with potential short sale client I ask "Why do you want to short sell?", "What do you know about the short sale process?" "Are you patient?" "Are you ready for a few headaches?"  These questions tend to break the ice and allow you to prepare them for what to expect.

Then I ask..."How did you end up with me at the kitchen table?"  I am direct and this information is necessary.  When working on a Short Sale you need honest answers, you need to know if it is a divorce, failed business, medical bills, job loss, etc.  The facts will determine if your sellers have a hardship the bank may consider.   The specific details will be used to write the hardship letter.  Short Sales are Hard Work!  You want to know upfront if they are willing to help you, help them.   

At the initial meeting I ask the seller to provide copies of all documents the lender may need:

  • Authorization from Borrower/Seller (some lenders require their own form and some have  a dedicated fax number for authorizations)
  • Financial Information Form (I use a generic form)
  • Copy of Mortgage Coupon(s)
  • Ask if they have PMI (Very important)
  • Copy HOA Coupon for 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 (look over these...make sure nothing stands out, the banks will find it)
  • Initial draft of Hardship letter

As soon as we receive a contract I work on:

  • Agent Cover Letter I use BOLD TYPE and CAPS for Key facts. I include: the current market, the sellers situation, how many days on market, the number of showings, the feedback from showings...Keep it to ONE PAGE)
  • Listing Agreement
  • MLS Print Out
  • Purchase Contract
  • Pre- Approval
  • Copy of Deposit
  • Updated  CMA supporting the listing price
  • Copy any supporting documentation for value (newspaper articles, graphs, pictures etc)
  • Settlement statement prepared at offer price
  • Any other information that will help the case

When I send the package to the lender

  • Send the entire package.  (Do not send until you have everything!)
  • Put labels on each page, in order with the sellers last name and loan number


Short sale Label

 Short Sale Tips :

  • The Lender will order a BPO (Broker Price Opinion.)  This BPO will be completed by a real estate agent.  The agent will call you or the seller to get access to the property.  They are being paid a minimal fee ($50.00 to $150.00)   I even know agents in Richmond that do BPO's for free, they are promised an opportunity to get future REO listings.  It is in your best interest to help this BPO agent.  Make their job easy; provide them a copy of the contract, comparable properties, your CMA, pictures, any important facts...Meet them at the property if you can.
  • I have the sellers attorney order payoffs, verify taxes and additional liens
  • I recommend the purchaser to use the seller's attorney. 
  • Keep marketing the home (keep a list of potential back up offers.)
  • Keep the buyer's agent informed. 

Short Sale Tips:

  • Be nice
  • Smile (yes, I know they can't see you) make simple conversation...while they are looking up the account. 
  • Keep in mind, the bank representatives are getting yelled at most of the day.  Be the highlight of their day, they may just help you.  Some of them want to help. 
  • Most of the time they have no ability to fix your problem.  Ask for what you need, ask if who can help you?  Ask what other departments exist?  If you don't like what they have to say...Call back!  You will get someone else and they might know more.  
  • Write down the number you called, the time you called, brief description of conversation, any dates you were given, what the next step is, when you should call again, if they have set a foreclosure date, etc.
  • Every time you speak to the Lender ask for:             
    • Name
    • Title
    • Email

 Bank of America Short Sale Tips (I have done so many...they get their own category.)

  • Send you authorization to the special authorization number (1-888-491-4947 or 805-520-5019)
  • Send it again!
  • It will take 5 to 7 business days to scan and load to the seller's account
  • When they can't find it...ask them the to look in the file rolodex
  • If they still can't find it ask them to try and add you to the account...
  • If they still can't find it...ask if you can conference call the seller and get them to allow B of A to speak to you (This approval will only be good for that call)

Equator Tips

Equator is new automated system Bank of America using for Short Sales.  This system is a step in the right direction . 

Email sent to sellers:

Dear Mr. Smith

Welcome to the Bank of America short sale processing system. Please go to and enter your user name and password to begin.

 *side note: The automated email Bank of America sends the seller to use is incorrect.

Direct them here


Short Sale Tips to be continued....This list is getting long.  Stay tuned for Short Sale Tips Part 2

Thank you for reading & Happy Short Selling!

Jennifer James


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 (8)

Robert The Earl of Real Estate
St Pete LUXE Living Group - Saint Petersburg, FL
The Earl of Real Estate

Good info.  Richmond sounds like it is getting it's fair share of REO and Short Sale activity - is this true?

Mar 17, 2010 11:29 AM
Home Design
Alpharetta, GA
Home Design and Real Estate

Jennifer, this is the most informative post on the short sale process I have ever seen.  Great work, and I am nominating this for a featured post!  This could help many agents who have no idea how to handle short sales!!

Mar 17, 2010 11:38 AM
Jennifer James
Hometown Realty - Mechanicsville, VA

Wow!  Thank you.  The AR community has helped me with my business.  It's my turn to give back. 

Mar 17, 2010 11:47 AM
Mike Hogan
The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty - Mechanicsville, VA

Great post as always Jenn! Keep em coming- I love the tips. It's nice having the "Short Sale Queen" around to answer questions.

Mar 17, 2010 01:39 PM
Jennifer James
Hometown Realty - Mechanicsville, VA


Thank you for your comment.  Yes, Richmond is starting to see more short sales.  I personally have had a huge jump in the number of short sale listing over the last 6 months.  Some agents in the  Richmond markeet have not to deal with short sales and have been calling for tips, suggestions, etc.  This is where ..."Short Sale Tips for Richmond VA" was orignally started.  I hope this information will give agents a foundation for short sales.  I am sure you know  how frustrating and time comsuming some can be. I enjoy short sales transactions...I find it rewarding when they close and the seller is able to get out of unfortunate situations. But there are times when I  wonder if I  just like to bang my head against a wall when things start to spiral....Bank of America, Short Sales & the squeaky Wheel.

Mar 18, 2010 12:12 AM
George J. Creed
Metro Referrals - Vienna, VA
Associate Broker


Great information. In fact, LeRoy Houser cited this blog yesterday during the CRS 111 course in Fairfax. All agents in the short sale business shoud use equator.

Mar 19, 2010 03:13 AM
Wendy Shelley, ABR, GRI, SFR (Long & Foster, Alexandria)

Thanks for giving us the template of how to get thru to these banks!  I was also at the Fairfax class yesterday and appreciate Leroy Houser's passing on the tinyurls to get to your blog.  Thanks for simply great information.

Mar 19, 2010 07:53 AM
Jennifer James
Hometown Realty - Mechanicsville, VA

George & Wendy,

Thanks you for your comments.  I am glad LeRoy Houser shared my blog with your class.  If we all share what has worked for us...short sales may start to get a little easier:) 

Happy Short Selling,


Mar 19, 2010 08:13 AM