Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Short Sale - Week 1

Trying to close a short sale can be an agonizingly long and frustrating process for the buyer, the seller, and the Realtor. Banks realize this and have been experimenting with systems to speed things up.

What follows is a record of my most recent short-sale experience. I will post updates as the deal progresses so together we can discover if these changes have, in fact, helped.

Fortunately, the owner has only one loan on the home (if there is more than one, the process is much more complicated). Her loan is with Bank of America. B of A has instituted a new system for short sales. Offers must be processed through an on-line site called Equator.

Here's how Equator works. Once the seller has accepted an offer on the home, the Realtor opens a file on Equator's website. From this moment forward, everything is submitted on line and through this site. The Realtor can not submit any offers, files, etc. until Equator specifically asks for them.

November 12, 2010:
  • The homeowner accepts the offer;
  • I open a file on Equator;
  • I contact escrow and asked them to prepare a closing cost estimate sheet based on this offer. Though this is not requested by Equator, I know from experience that I will eventually need these numbers so I want to be ready;
  • Equator acknowledges my file;
  • Equator requires a Third Party Authorization Form. This form gives me permission to act as the seller's agent. I knew this would be required so I had the seller complete this form earlier in the week;
  • I submit the Third Party Authorization form to Equator.
November 15, 2010
  • Equator authorizes me to submit the offer on their form;
  • I begin the offer submission form but can not complete it since I have not received the cost estimate from escrow;
  • I contact escrow and ask when the cost estimate will be completed;
  • I inform the buyer that the offer is being prepared for submission. Because we have no idea how long it will take to get an approval, the buyer and I discuss plans to have closing funds readily available.
November 16, 2010
  • I am still waiting to receive the closing cost estimate from escrow. I can not move forward until I receive these numbers. I contact them again and ask for the numbers.
November 17, 2010
  • Escrow contacts me to let me know they are really backed up but promise to have the numbers to me today;
  • Escrow provides numbers. I complete the offer form and submit it;
  • Equator requests a signed copy of the offer, which I submit;
  • Equator requests supporting documents, such as photos, MLS information, etc., which I submit.

Analysis Days 1-7:

So far I am impressed. Working through Equator is so much better than the usual set-up, submitting via fax. Invariably, things are"lost" so agents have to resubmit, sometimes two and three times. This really slows things down.

With Equator, everything is visible on the website. You can not progress to the next step until B of A accepts what you've done. And if there is any question about submission, the proof is right in the file which can be seen on the computer screen.

I am also pleased with the speed (so far) that documents are acknowledged and processed. It's been 6 days since the offer was first signed by the seller, and we already have an offer in the lender's hands, along with all supporting documentation. Of course, many of these documents I already had. Since I knew, from past experience, that these would be required, I did not wait for Equator to ask for them. I got them ahead of time so that when they were requested, I could immediately upload them into Equator.


Use a Realtor familiar with the short sale process. That way s/he will gather documentation before it is requested. This will substantially cut down on the submission time.

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