Tell your Sellers of Short Sales to STAY PUT, ...or ELSE!

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Suburban

 I just read a great post Is BofA Servicing Your FNMA Short Sale? If So, You Need To Read This....   by Bob Hertzog which has fueled this post and is an example of another horror story with BOFA.  

I have a BOFA short listed at the moment that is another type of horror story. My seller (brand new mom) was concerned on waiting to the very last moment to have to move out, due to her newborn addition to the family, she started to remove some of her furniture and belongings (unannounced to me). Keep in mind she is still paying gas, electricity, association fees(its a townhome) etc. and sometimes staying there, and sometimes not. I went to show the property, as I was walking towards the door, I noticed my lockbox looked different--the potential buyer is behind me--We are both trudging thru newly fallen knee-high snow and freezing temps---I am thinking am I crazy??--I am sure I used a SENTRI box on this property---I didn't even notice the good ole 'sticker posted on the window'. My sign is still up in the bedroom window, all the curtains are open, lights are on inside---a lot of the big furniture is gone, but very evident to the naked eye there is personal property in the unit.  

I start calling her immediately to find out what the heck is going on? She is not EVEN CLOSE to the foreclosure date, so I am baffled. When I list short sales, one of the 1st things I mention is to NOT MOVE OUT, the bank will come in, take possession, and claim abandonment. There is still evidence of 'life' in this unit. We all know, or should know, when doing an occupancy check for the bank, we call utilities, water billing, HOA's etc. besides doing a visual inspection---so what has happened here? When I reach her, she has no idea what I am talking about---her curtains were closed, lights off, and she does have personal belongings in the house--she has been going back and forth, everything was fine a few days ago. The new baby was sick and in the hospital and she has been spending a lot of time there, and still working full time. I proceeded to call the number on the posted sticker on the window which is the basic number for BOFA---I get no where,.........and NOT fast!  

She started calling BOFA and again like myself, got no where. Due to the circumstances, it takes her about a week to get to the property to see if she can get in. I told her to try her keys, the garage door opener, windows etc---As she is at her home, trying to get into her property, the police come by and ask what is going on. She explains what is happening, that she has not been foreclosed upon, and she cannot gain access to her property. They told her if she accesses the property they WILL arrest her (the sticker in the window states no trespassing). The next sentence is NOT the case but imagine that she just came home from the hospital with the new baby, and cannot get into her home---what then??? I am disgusted---I cannot imagine whoever did the occupancy check, didn't cover all the bases. I WILL find out and work on bringing charges with the real estate board---they could NOT see in the windows--they obviously did not call utilities, or the HOA, and had the rightful owner locked out of their own property.  

As it stands, I cannot get in to show the property, she cannot get in to get her personal belongings, and the foreclosure inches closer and closer each day. We have both tried to get an attorney to take this on, but are still unsuccessful. The agent that did the occupancy check, will have forced this property into foreclosure---they were the beginning cause---you cannot sell something you cannot get into. But most of all, the reason for this post, make sure to tell your sellers, STAY PUT.......OR ELSE.

Heidi Engel
ADPR, FSSR, SRES (Accredited Foreclosure,
REO, + Short Sale Representative,
Senior Specialist)
RE/MAX Suburban
ofc 847-385-3327
cell 847-910-2001
fax 847-749-3708
Listing + Selling NW Suburban Homes for over 20 Years!

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Comments (12)

John Armstrong
Coldwell Banker Heart of America - Bloomington-Normal, IL

There are a few companies that do the lock outs in my area. I would call Safeguard to see if they did it.

Apr 04, 2010 12:26 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Thanks John---I have not even begun starting this, safeguard is big here also, along with a 100 others---I guess that will be worth a try! Happy Easter!

Apr 04, 2010 12:29 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Thanks for the post and the link. Good advice for all short sellers. What a shame that BofA has fallen to the lows that it has.

Apr 04, 2010 01:07 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

I so agree with you Tom......Its like the Wild Wild West out there---no rules, anything goes----what a world at the moment! Happy Easter!

Apr 04, 2010 01:17 AM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Heidi, this is a real eye opener for me as I have only been in the business since August.  I have not been involved in a short sale on the listing side and this is a true horror story.  I had a buyer on a short sale and the bank chose not to go through with it and let it go through foreclosure, frozen water pipes and all.  How stupid!

I am surprised this could happen in Illinois.  I thought there were stringent laws protecting mothers from being evicted as tenants in your state; how much more for someone who still owns their home!

Your client is fortunate to have someone like you fighting for them, Heidi.

Apr 04, 2010 01:54 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Bruce, IL has great protection for the tenants and the homeowners re the foreclosure process---unfortunately the situation i have mentioned above is happening---a lot, and OFTEN here---there is a loophole that allows banks to take possession if the property has been abandoned---but...........they pay some 'goof' (NOT ALL are idiots, but many are) twenty bucks for an occupancy check--that they do 1/2 'acidly' (misspelled purposely) and can cause this situation!

Apr 04, 2010 02:12 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Bruce, I shouldn't have said loophole-----I would agree with the banks for taking possession, IF the property has been abandoned---they are trying to protect their interest---who can blame them----but, there is no regulation on them 'hiring' out any BODY that wants to earn a quick 20 bucks---whether or not they do a complete, proper, and THOROUGH check! Back to protecting their interest, (this is another post I have been contemplating on writing for 6 months or better now---and it will be sure to raise some heck when I actually get it posted) ---most damage occurs in these homes after the banks take possession---I will write about this in a future post!

Apr 04, 2010 02:22 AM

See if someone from the media will do a fast story about this. Having the media out these horrendous cases seems to be one of the wys to get the lenders attention.

Apr 04, 2010 02:57 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Nancy, that is a good idea---I will talk to my client 1st to get permission, and see if anyone will listen.

thanks again!

Apr 05, 2010 11:57 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Just as strange is the local police reaction? Why would they tell the home owner not to try to enter their own property? Obviously if she showed proof of ownership the police should not have taken that stance.

Apr 17, 2010 02:36 AM
Heidi Engel
RE/MAX Suburban - Mount Prospect, IL

Bill, she did, they spoke for a while, and she was told that if she entered the property he would have to arrest her due to the sticker put on the window from BOA...------no trespassing---I could have gotten this one sold, unfortunately it looks like it will end up as another foreclosure.

Apr 18, 2010 11:02 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

What a bizarre story.  BofA is a real winner!

Apr 23, 2010 11:45 AM