Left Hand, Right Hand Syndrome: BofA’s HAFA Short Sale Program c/o AMS Servicing Plus Cool Equator Stuff

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives Alliance

Anybody who knows me knows that complaining about anything -especially my work- is not something I tend to do. But my goodness! I think this one’s worth sharing if only to spare my fellow short sale listing agents a common BofA headache.

I took a short sale listing from a Bank of America borrower who was soon after enrolled in the HAFA program. Since we do not currently have an offer on the property, BofA assigned my file to AMS Servicing. My client completed the HAFA paperwork the same day. I initiated the short sale in Equator, was officially assigned the short sale and uploaded my authorization. I sent a message to BofA’s solicitation team and called AMS to let them know my tasks were completed and that I uploaded the remaining HAFA documents into the Equator library. The AMS representative said it would take about seven days to process my authorization and to call back no earlier than that. All in all, a decent time line I thought.

A week later, AMS hadn’t processed my authorization. A day after that, nothing. Two days after that still nothing. I called BofA. The representative could clearly see my authorization in Equator and stated it had been processed a week before. I was transferred to AMS who still couldn’t find me in their system but could see I was assigned the short sale in Equator.  The file was noted and I was sent on my way. Three weeks after I initiated the file(and of calling almost daily), AMS still hadn’t done a thing with my paperwork. I complained and requested an escalation, which couldn’t be done because nobody was working on my file. I was told everything would be resolved in a day or so.

Yesterday morning, I called again but this time I got scolded. The AMS representative accused me of not following up and threatened to decline the short sale due to lack of response(whatever!). When I pointed out that I called repeatedly and that my short sale package was uploaded in the library because I hadn’t been assigned any tasks, all he said was “oh”.

I will spare you the rest of the details of being bounced around between AMS and BofA for weeks. Suffice it to say, I learned a few things that will help keep all of our short sales safe from the BofA/AMS declining machine.  

Here’s the hot list:

  • There are two areas in Equator for your short sales: Segmentation and Short Sale.
  • Each area has a separate library that can only be accessed from its corresponding queue.
  • Third party authorizations are uploaded in the Segmentation queue.
  • Everything else must be uploaded in the short sale queue.
  • AMS doesn’t always assign tasks the way that LRC and BofA usually do after third party authorizations are uploaded. AMS expects either homeowners to fax or listing agents to upload the necessary documents for initial HAFA review without assigning the customary tasks.  

To upload into the short sale queue library:

  • After uploading your third party authorization in the segmentation queue, go to the “My Properties & Offers” section. You may have to click on it a few times before your listing appears on the screen.
  • When you see your listing, click on the address. This will open the short sale queue.
  • On the right of the screen, click on “view” under the library. This will take you to “Property Files”.  Click on the plus sign(+) under “Property” and upload away.
  • From Equator, email the negotiator(I always include the team lead). I strongly suggest you follow up with a phone call to AMS to let them know your documents are in the short sale library.          

Uploading the documents into the library from the start of my BofA short sale is what kept my file alive. My mistake was uploading in the segmentation queue initially. In my defense, neither AMS nor BofA were of any help with that until weeks later. From now on, my motto is “Upload, upload, upload!”.

By the way, from the time I initially uploaded the authorization to the time someone was able to help me, BofA called me at least once a day to ask where my paperwork was. Too funny...well not really.

Please keep in mind that AMS only works HAFA short sales without an offer. If you find a buyer before the end of the review, your HAFA short sale must be moved to LRC(Loan Resolution Corporation). I suggest you wait for the review and then submit your offer. Happy short selling!

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Comments (6)

Charles Walk

Great post... very useful for me and any Short Sale agent dealing with BofA and/or AMS

Oct 20, 2011 05:19 PM
Brenda Uriarte Avila
Realty Executives Alliance - Cypress, CA

Thank you Charles. I love this stuff! 

Oct 20, 2011 05:21 PM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

I wonder is it this do complex because it has to be; because government funds are involved; or this is best way to develop a complete audit trail. I understand you can't have a bunch of people creating their own rules and sthat some standards have to be set, but we are into year three or five of this stuff. A better process should be in place by now.  But what do I know.

Oct 20, 2011 05:40 PM
Brenda Uriarte Avila
Realty Executives Alliance - Cypress, CA

Wayne, I work with several other lenders. In my opinion, Bank of America's process is more involved than any other lender I've worked with thus far. I think it has more to do with BofA having so many short sales to process that they have to resort to outside servicers to get the job done. And this is year five of what was supposed to be a two-year slump. But what do I know :)

Oct 20, 2011 06:26 PM
Rita Cox

Thank you so much for your post. I have forwarded it to all of the agents in my office that religiously work short sales. You may have saved us weeks of processing and calls. I appreciate you.

Oct 21, 2011 09:05 AM
Brenda Uriarte Avila
Realty Executives Alliance - Cypress, CA

I appreciate your comment Rita. I truly believe that any agent who can successfully close short sales is contributing greatly to the recovery of our market and of our economy overall. I'm happy to share anything I come accross. Good luck!

Oct 21, 2011 10:22 AM