Denials and Discrimination With a Bank of America Short Sale

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Original content by Andrea Swiedler Licensed in Connecticut

Your short sale with Bank of America has been declined. The buyer does not qualify.

No other explanation. All documents are in, buyer prequal with a local lender, proof of funds for deposit, copy of the 1% deposit check, required documents by BOA signed by the buyer. All good. (No, not preapproval, why would the buyer pay the money up front before they knew how long it would take you, if you would approve the sale, etc.) We put homes under deposit all the time with these prequals from our reliable and trustworthy local lenders. Even you, Bank of America, will issue a prequalification pending appraisal, verification of income/assets, etc.

This is not the first problem we have had in negotiating this short sale, this is our fourth buyer. One couldn't wait and purchased a different home, one decided to purchase in a different area, and the last one didn't agree to the price after months of waiting.  I was given the magic number for a price and told how quickly it would move forward as they had everything they needed from the seller. Just get another offer at or above the price and things should go smoothly, even quickly. So I did just that, within a few days of going back on the market I got a new offer at the magic number.

What they told me couldn't have been further from the truth.

My sellers have experienced so much hardship in the past few years, no one should have to go through this. First he got in a very bad accident, was unable to work for a long time, and when he could work again he couldn't find a job. She had a good job, but not enough to carry the house and the family. So the search for a new job took them to Florida, near her parents. They moved with their four year old son and expecting a new baby.

When they moved they did everything right, they winterized the house, they cleaned, they arranged for lawn maintenance, they kept the power on. Things were on target to finally get back on track, close the book on a very difficult chapter of their lives.

And then things went wrong. The baby she was expecting came a bit early. I won't go into detail but every day is a crisis. The baby is battling for his life daily, extended stays in the hospital, which is an hour and a half from where they live, doctors visits to all sorts of specialists. And as I said, every day is a challenge, will he live or not. I cannot imagine what that would be like, but at no time did I hear complaints, every time I asked for something they jumped to it and found what the bank requested. They are amazing people.

As I said, this go around with Bank of America has been painful at best. First it was farmed out to Stewart Lender Services, and that happened quickly. The short sale was declined by a Bank of America short sale negotiator one week, then when I resubmitted it was with Stewart Lender Services.

Discrimination by Bank of America based on a name. 

One of the first things I noticed was that everyone I tried to reach, from the customer care rep assigned to us at BOA to the short sale negotiator with Stewart all had their voice mails in Spanish. I didn't think much of it at first, but it became more difficult to communicate as no matter how hard i tried I could not understand the negotiator. And of course I didn't know what any recordings said.

Could this really be because of my client's name?

I called back and requested to speak with a team member immediately from Bank of America Customer Service. When I hinted at this being discrimination, she denied it. It was obviously my fault or my clients fault.

The next time I spoke with our assigned customer service rep he admitted that the file was with a Spanish speaking group. I informed him my client was of Portuguese descent, he did not speak Spanish, spoke English with no accent and I would have no way of knowing if he was born here or not. And I didn't need Spanish either.

Next thing you know I have a new Short Sale negotiator assigned to us at Stewart Lending. This was a woman from the midwest, I was out of the Spanish loop. It was as if our first negotiator and the Spanish speaking contingent never existed! I was shocked that they would pigeon hole people based on someone's name. Not a good tactic at all. To make decisions on what team a client should be assigned to based on their name is discrimination in my book. and my clients book too.

All documents were in, now they were reviewing the file. So we waited and waited and waited. More than a week after the drop dead date for all documents to be in I got a call, the short sale was being declined because:

  • The income tax returns weren't signed. (They were at their request months before)
  • We were missing the efile confirmation page. (They had asked me to have the clients sign the copy of the tax returns, had never asked for that)
  • They needed an explanation for a $678 refund from the State of Connecticut.

In literally minutes I got them the efile confirmation page and a signed explanation of the $678 refund. They moved half way through the year and overpaid the taxes.

They were still closing the file because we were over the time limit. I made a call to our customer service manager at Bank of America, got someone else because he was not available, and she did her level best to make sure they accepted the documents and moved on with the short sale. And she did.

Until they declined the buyer, for reasons unknown.

Yes this is an FHA loan, we have crossed every t and dotted every i. My clients go through hell on a daily basis wondering if this is the last day they will have with their sweet baby. Their lives have been turned upside down and yet they come through, each and every time, with documents, with anything and everything Bank of America has wanted.

I wouldn't blame my clients if they just turned their back on the house and the short sale. They have a 6 month old who fights for his life every single moment, they have a 4 year old who is like all 4 year old boys and has needs and wants, they are trying to deal every day with things I cannot imagine. Yet they have tried to "do the right thing". If Bank of America can't "do the right thing" why should they?

This particular Bank of America Short Sale has gone from feet dragging, to discrimination and now to unbelievable. How can we ever expect this real estate market to heal? In our area we are seeing a rise in short sales, an increase in the number of active listings and a decrease in the number of sales.

Most of the short sales just sit and sit because buyers and buyers agents do not want to deal with the waiting, with the disappointment, with the foolishness. Yes, there are some that move through the system like clock work, but not many. If this house ends up in foreclosure the value will plumet. It has already been vacant for a year, and we all know how that ends up. 

I have had a decision in 24 hours on a short sale recently and the bank lost more than $300,000. But it wasn't Bank of America.

And Bank of America, as well as your representatives at Stewart Lender Services should have at least had the courtesy to tell us why the buyer was declined. 

 

 

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

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© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2014

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

Comments (3)

Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Thank you so much for your efforts, it is more than appreciated by all parties, except BOA. 

Jul 01, 2014 05:51 AM
Art Welch
Superstars Realty - Buckeye, AZ
Broker

No matter how hard you try, the FHA loan will be foreclosed.  Your seller's should do a DIL now and walk away.  B of A is only looking to get the insurance money.  Your sellers loan was originated by someone else.  B of A got stuck with it as the servicing entity and as they are paying Billions for all the junk they aquired, the insurance from FHA is their only way to recoup.  It's ironic that with all the billions that have gone back and forth if they would have just reduced the payments and principle on the loans all parties would be better off.  Stop holding your sellers hostage with this short sale, let them move on.  I say this for all those that don't have the equity to sell, let it go now and rebuild, the damage done to one's credit from a short sale is no different now than a F/C or DIL now that all the banks have changed the rules and extended the time frames.  

Jul 30, 2014 12:32 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Interesting read.

Sep 27, 2014 10:38 PM

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