If the listing agent is not following up with regular updates and has no experience with short sales, is there any alternative other than walking away

Asked by Audra, Sterling, VA Sun Apr 25, 2010

I put in an offer in February and was told almost 3 weeks ago that the BPO had been ordered. The listing agent stated that the walk through had been completed for the BPO but I still have not heard back regarding my offer. I have found the loss mitigation contact details for the bank. Is it worthwhile to contact them myself?

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Andy Krumholz’s answer
Andy Krumholz, Agent, Reston, VA
Sun Apr 25, 2010
Hi Audra,

I've been involved in numerous short sales on both the buyer and the seller side of the transaction. I can tell you that your agent will have great difficulty getting through to the bank just as you would if you called. The person responsible for this file at the bank bank (or potentially banks if there is more then one loan) won't even speak to the listing agent until they are ready. That typically doesn't happen until well after the BPO is done. There is a fair amount of analysis the bank(s) go through before they call the listing agent. The sellers have signed a letter of authorization that allows the bank to speak their real estate agent, which they'll ultimately do when they're ready, but they have no authorization and thus are not allowed to speak with you or your agent. All your agent can do is follow up with the listing agent, and get updates from them.
Short sales are a very time consuming process. If you need an answer quickly, or don't have the patience to wait for 3-7 months, then short sales are not for you. By the way, just because you and the seller have agreed on price and terms for the sale of their property, the bank has to agree as well. They may turn down the short sale, or make a counter offer. The common denominator with all short sales is that they take time.

I hope this helps.
1 vote
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Sun Apr 25, 2010
Your realtor would have set expectations about short sales: there's nothing short about it except tempers.

And yes, it can and will take time to process. Furthermore, there are no guarantees that a short sale will even be approved.

Although the BPOs may have been ordered, that's not the end of it. Some lenders will or may require more than one BPO. And if there is more than one lender, that complicates the short sale.

And no... you cannot contact the lender or the seller or the seller's agent. Work through your realtor (and hopefully your realtor is also experienced and knowledgeable about short sales). Unless the seller has authorized you to speak to their lenders, there is no way on earth you can get past the first phone call. Besides, you will only serve to muddy the waters. Leave it to the listing agent and the seller to negotiate the short sale with the lenders.

As an experienced short sale realtor, I can boldly say you have no idea what it takes to negotiate a short sale --- regardless of how many times a listing agent calls, faxes, follows up, etc.....a short sale will take time.

Since there are no guarantees to a short sale, and if you cannot wait, then go ahead an look for other properties, and stay away from short sales. You will run into the same situation over and over again.

To get a sense of the challenges we encounter with short sales, visit this forum and you'll see for yourself.
0 votes
Sonal Goda, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Sun Apr 25, 2010
Hi Audra,

It is not a good idea for you to contact the bank. They will not give you any information about the short sale because the seller has not authorized you to speak with them. Worst case is that you may actually get on the negotiator's bad side by doing this and make your chances worse for a short sale approval. I have tried this before as a buyer's agent and it was not received well by the listing agent or the bank's negotiator.

Why do you think you should have heard something by now? On average, it usually takes 4-6 weeks after the BPO before they assign a negotiator. Then the negotiator will take about two weeks to respond to the offer. It is longer for the negotiator to respond if there are multiple trusts - like potentially two or three more months.

If you are not in a position to wait for these timeframes, keep looking and find another property that is not a short sale.

0 votes
Jay Hurst, Agent, McLean, VA
Sun Apr 25, 2010
A Realtor qualified in Short Sales is what you need. Unless you have done these type of deals many times - and it does not sound like you have that experince - you stand to have issues of al kinds.
Even a seasoned SFR expert such as my partner or myself still has to deal with the limitations of the system and a possible lack of training on the listing side.
You are still much better off with a Pro on you side.
Web Reference:  http://TalleyHurstHomes.com
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sun Apr 25, 2010
Do keep in mind that short sales are by no means fast sales and some banks are quicker than others--let the agent do his/her job without interference, chances are that even if you did call the lender personally, your call may go unanswered--your agent can advise you best.
0 votes
Tish Thompson, Agent, Manassas, VA
Sun Apr 25, 2010
No. All contact needs to be through your agent. If banks wanted to work with buyers and sellers directly, they wouldn't hire third parties to do that piece for them. If you reach out on your own, it is very likely your offer wil be kicked out all together. If your agent had anything to do with you getting that information, he's asking for trouble. What is the response time you allowed in your short sale addendum? The thing about short sales is that there are huge lags of time where you hear nothing. What you need to do is hold your agent's feet to the fire per your short sale addendum. If your agent can't get answers and your time has expired per the addendum, you need to decide how much longer you want to hang in there, if at all. In the future, don't get involved in complicated transactions with someone who doesn't understand how they work.

Tish Thompson
Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 703-656-4177
Fax: 703-636-8924
Web Reference:  http://www.tishismyagent.com
0 votes
Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Sun Apr 25, 2010
Do you have an agent? If so, allow your agent to do his job, including educating you on the process (in other words, answering this question). I do not recommend contacting the bank they can not and will not speak to you, but it will take an hour for you to figure that out once you dial their number. Unfortunately, you have agreed in your contract to wait for a period of time to allow them to do whatever they need to do, and I imagine that you did not put in any requirement for them to regularly provide you with updates. I know, you're anxious because you want this home, but unfortunately this isn't your house yet.... because short sales are so "iffy" I always encourage my buyers to keep looking.
0 votes
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