Bank of America's New Short Sale Policy - Trying to Control MLS?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Rulnick Realty, Inc.

Bank of America Short sales

**** I just received a call from the Florida Association of Realtors legal department. They said Bank of America relayed they will be issuing a clarification email. ****  


The recent Bank of America Short Sale agent update that was emailed out today states:

  1. Your Bank of America short sale listing must be "marketed in the MLS" as ACTIVE until an approval letter is issued.
  2. How you are to fill out your MLS fields in a general manner and specific manner.


Many MLS rules and even some State laws may disallow keeping short sales "active" on the market after the seller has accepted an offer. The Florida Association of Realtor says a short sale contract is still a contract. In fact, my local MLS. the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors in Florida, has a rule that even short sale properties that have "offers" (unsigned by the seller), that are sent to the short sale lender (don't do that), must be removed from "active" MLS status, and placed into "pending" or "contingent" status. 

When I initially read the email I thought it was intended for REO agents (where Bank of America is the seller), not short sale agents. I was mistaken. I think this latest effort by Bank of America is overstepping. Certainly, there are valid points, such as, it is wise not to state a short sale is "pre-approved". But the email edict seems to also be micro-managing short sale agents and potentially is contrary to some State laws and MLS rules. The property is still owned by the seller. Third party "approval" does not equal "seller" status.

Here is the body of the email from Bank of America:

Exclusively for: | Wendy Rulnick

Forward a Friend


Short Sale Customer/Agent Care
8 a.m. - 10 p.m., Mon. - Fri., ET

9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Sat.,


Short Sale Agent Update

February 11, 2013


In our continued effort to ensure acceptable and fair marketing activity for all short sales, this is a reminder that Bank of America requires all properties to be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The property must have been listed prior to the acceptance of an offer. All offers must be submitted by the buyer subsequent to the listing date, and the property must be marketed on the MLS until a short sale approval letter is issued. Any property not listed on the MLS may experience processing delays, and/or the Short Sale file may be declined.

The following actions can help prevent processing delays and/or file declines.

  •  List the property on the MLS and include all basic property detail, including: 
    • Number of beds/baths, square footage, lot size, year built, location, interior features, etc.
    • All known property information used to market the property to prospective buyers.
    • Alternative language such as "unknown" or "unavailable" should be used - instead of leaving fields blank - when you encounter certain property characteristics that may be unknown via public record (e.g., Property taxes, deed information, and other fees).  
  • Ensure the MLS remarks and/or comments do not reflect unacceptable language such as: 
    • "Do not disturb homeowner, property not available for viewing"
    • "Bank has already approved the short sale"
    • "Cash offers only"
    • "Preapproval through listing agent lender only"
  • Ensure the listing status is current and active on the MLS until a short sale approval letter is issued

Per investor guidelines, additional documents may be required and will be communicated, as applicable, by the Short Sale Specialist.


It's Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy:

Destin Short Sale Agent


Wendy Rulnick, Broker, is a short sale and pre-foreclosure specialist and has been featured in "Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine" and "Florida Realtor Magazine". She has successfully helped hundreds of families avoid foreclosure through short sale along the Emerald Coast of Florida. Wendy Rulnick is knowledgeable in all aspects of short sale, including VA Compromise Sale, FHA HUD pre-foreclosure sale, HAP military PCS, HAFA, Bank of America Coop program and more.  She is also co-founder of and short sale instructor to agents across the United States. Wendy Rulnick sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Panama City Beach, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field. 

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"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Wendy Rulnick, Broker/Owner Rulnick Realty, Inc.

Call Wendy Rulnick 1-850-650-7883 ext 204

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Wendy Rulnick is the marketing choice for sellers on the Emerald Coast who want to list and get their homes and condos sold in Destin, Sandestin, Bluewater Bay, Santa Rosa Beach, 30-A, Watercolor, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest Beach, Kelly Plantation, Regatta Bay, Destiny and more.

Rulnick Realty



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Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

In Louisiana lenders get a lien on the property, but do not physically hold title. Not sure how BoA could enforce this in Louisiana.

Feb 11, 2013 08:42 AM #1
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Doug - I think it is problematic in many states. I am not going to hold an "auction" of my short sales.  This could put the seller into quite a situation.

Feb 11, 2013 08:47 AM #2
Kristal Wilson
Strategic Sales and Marketing - Chino Hills, CA
~Your New Construction Specialist~
Wendy ~ Our MLS board requires us to change the status of a short sale listing to back- up or pending upon seller accepting an offer. This demand by BofA is definitely in conflict with our board guidelines. I wonder what type of impact this will have on the short sale process?
Feb 11, 2013 08:53 AM #3
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"
Kristal - You need to ask your State association of Realtors legal council.
Feb 11, 2013 09:06 AM #4
Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

You are right, Wendy - this B of A requirement is againt the Policies of many MLSs, and even some State Laws.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Feb 11, 2013 09:11 AM #5
John M. Scott
BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties - San Francisco, CA
Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area

I got this one too Wendy. Here in the SF Bay Area I work in 4 different MLS districts. All have different nomenclature for what to change the status too - from Active Contingent short sale to pending short sale approval. If we don't abide by the rules and change the stauts, and another agent reports us, we can be fined from $100 on first offense to $500. BofA is definitley trying to bend the rules and the laws, all for their own selfish gain. And who gets left holding the bag? We do, that's who!!

Feb 11, 2013 10:20 AM #6
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

B of A is really doing a fine job trying to get everyone on the same page. It must be hard!

Feb 11, 2013 10:52 AM #7
Corinne Guest
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
The Choice of Professionals for Luxury Home Buying

Over stepping their authority again! Since when does the investors servicer, because thats all they are, suddenly believe they are a principal in a real estate transaction. My seller is the one whose name/s are on the deed of ownership. 

Feb 11, 2013 12:08 PM #8
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Fred - We - my MLS - simply cannot do that. Also, Florida says you cannot "confuse" the public.

John - I hear you on the fine! Bank of America needs to be listening to us.

Melissa - Someone tried to hard on that email!  

Corinne - That is exactly right. The seller is the owner of the property.  They are stating a short sale may not be approved if you don't list things in the MLS exactly as they specify?  I understand they prefer listing marketed in the MLS because it puts the property up for "fair" sale, but this email is way overboard.

Feb 11, 2013 09:19 PM #9
Keji Ogunleye
Fairfax Realty, Inc - Greenbelt, MD
GRI, SFR, KejiYour Realtor

Every agent need to contact their board and MLS.. I just emailed my board and State association.... They are really pushing it..  What is going to be next.... 

Feb 12, 2013 02:45 AM #10
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Florida Association of Realtors is contacting Bank of America, as well, Keji... I do hope they rescind this.

Feb 12, 2013 04:00 AM #11
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

Our local MLS is the same as Florida. The contract is between the buyer and the seller and once it is ratified it is off the market.

Feb 13, 2013 02:34 AM #12
Lori & Steve Skinner
Eugene, OR

Hi, We are experiencing this too. Hopefully they will make changes and have it be the same across the board for all.


Lori Spohn Team

Eugene, Oregon

Feb 14, 2013 02:30 AM #13
Larry Riggs
Re/Max Plus - Frederick, MD
GRI, SRS Your Frederick County Specialist

This is actually contract law 101. The contract is between the buyer and the seller. BOA has the right to decline a payoff but no more. The agreement between you and your MLS is also a contract between two parties. BOA is also not a party to that agreement. They cannot legally change the terms of an agreement which they are not a party to. A good response might be to give them the name of your board, MLS or company attorney and tell them to demonstrate legal sufficiency to said attorney.

Feb 22, 2013 08:58 AM #14
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