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Mlwhaley, Home Buyer in Charleston, SC

What is a "Phase 2 Coordinator in a short sale"?

Asked by Mlwhaley, Charleston, SC Wed Jul 29, 2009

I made an offer on a short sale in Charleston, SC on April 2. Dealing with Countrywide has been incredibly frustrating. I feel like 17 people have handled the file for this house which is priced well. The purchase price in 2007 was $213,000 and it was listed at a short sale price of $190,000. I made an offer of $185,000, and since my offer was at 97%, the listing agent is only considering my offer. Now 4 months later, we just found out the file moved to the "Phase 2 Coordinator". According to the Countrywide rep that the listing agent has spoken with, this is the final step (but she said that about the negotiator, then the investor.....so I'm skeptical). Basically, I want to know how many more "phases" are left. I know all short sale situations are different, but the seller in my case set the price with her lender before it went on the market, so I'm confused as to how it could take this long. I'm guessing time management wasn't a skill taught in Countrywide training.

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Hi again... So we are in our new home and loving it. Just a recap, we didn't get the short sale but I wanted to share this information. When we were signing escrow papers for our current home. Our agent said she received approval on the short sale home but with conditions. She said the conditions were ridiculous. I really had my heart set on the short sale but if I didn't keep my offer on table I would have never found this home we are in. It is newer, cleaner and cheaper. Standard sale so we closed less than 30 days.
I hope all goes well for your short sale MLwhaley. I hope soon you will have your keys in your hands.
P.S. when we still had the offer on the table with the short sale. The owners moved out. we asked our agent to take us in to look at it empty. The left the house dirty and took all the ceiling fans. Since all their stuff was out we really saw the dirt.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
I know what you mean about not being able to give a sigh of relief until you have those keys in your hand -- I really hope that happens for you soon so that you can do so, and in your new home no less! :) As far as being persistent, that's all I think one can do (although you tend to go crazy in the meanwhile) to see this process to the end. Two weeks ago, once again, we were told we should "definitely" hear something in two weeks and well... nothing yet. LOL, its ridiculous in a way, but I guess that's just how the system is. We'll be entering into month number 9 of this process in November. I worry b/c the market has rebounded some since we put the offer in all those months ago and I hate to think of someone swooping in last minute and taking over, when we've been in the game for this whole time. All I can do is be persistent, like you said, and hope for the best. Please let me know when you have those keys in hand!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
Thank you so so much! I wish there was a clear answer to how we actually got this to go through. Persistence is all I can recommend. I know every short sale is different, but I think it's possible if you can hold out long enough. It was kind of funny because I actually scheduled a showing of another house this Sunday, and 5 minutes after I got off the phone, I found out my original offer was finally accepted. It was kind of creepy! Anyway after 202 days, it's almost time to breathe a sigh of relief (I'll need those keys in my hand first).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 23, 2009
So incredibly excited for you!! In one month you'll be a home owner!! I am ecstatic for you!! Please update and let us know how it all goes. I am crossing my fingers for you and wishing you the best of luck. I'm so happy this process is working out for someone who has waited so long. Congrats!! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 22, 2009
I finally got my approval letter today, and my closing date is set for November 20! Unbelievable since I thought I wouldn't make the November 30 deadline for the tax credit—which adds to the excitement. Anyway, I just thought I would update on my progress since this is finally over (almost). I won't be able to totally celebrate until the keys are in my hand.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 22, 2009
Congrats, Mlwhaley! Well I shouldn't say congrats yet -- b/c I've heard the "We're in the homestretch, this is the final step/stage" many, many, MANY times over the past few months only to never get anywhere, but since you have a CEO on your side, hopefully this time they mean it? I hope it comes through for you, I can totally relate, and I know how bad you want this!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 5, 2009
Hey people. I'm back with some updates FINALLY. First of all, there IS a Phase 3 Negotiator. I made it to this person less than 2 weeks ago. A friend of my mom's knows Ken Lewis personally, and we managed to get his email address. We passed it along to my listing agent who sent him a little message about my house, the sixth months we've been waiting with no real progress, the November 30 deadline quickly approaching, etc. I think the next day, the listing agent actually received a phone call (keep in mind, she was usually the one making the persistent calls), from a person who surprisingly spoke fluent English. This was Negotiator 3, and she actually makes things happen!

She wanted proof that I could buy the house, so I talked to my lender who wrote a letter guaranteeing that I was qualified for the amount I offered (which as I mentioned above, was nearly the full asking price) and if they give me the house, he will finance the purchase assuming the inspection is satisfactory. The Negotiator had the house appraised a second time last week since it's been over 6 months since the last appraisal. All went well. Today, she requested the HUD statement from the listing agent. It's my understanding that the HUD is a pretty good sign that we're almost there. I think even she was surprised, and in an email today she said "this is the first encouraging news that there is actually an end in sight". We're all pretty shocked that more progress has been made in 5 business days than was made during 6 and a half months prior.

Granted, I still don't have my closing date, but I'm confident the end is near. But I'm sad to say that I think I would still be hanging out at Phase 2 if I didn't go directly to the CEO of Bank of America. That's not a joke. It's pretty unbelievable that The Man has to step in and put his foot down just to get a little house sold. I guess it's clear now why the poor guy is retiring!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 5, 2009
Still no headway here MLWhaley. I just wish I could "get on with my life" already and get the approval *fingers crossed*, but that magic moment continues to elude me. I feel like a rabbit chasing a dangling carrot! (Will I ever catch it? I don't know! But I sure hope so.) How has your case been -- any new developments?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 30, 2009
Well Just Chekkn, my story really is exactly like yours! I was repeatedly told "we'll have an answer next week!" or "this is the last phase" and "we're one signature away!" And like you, I've found a real diamond in the rough, a steal of a home. Compared to everything else out there, my house is far superior, so it's really hard for me to even consider backing out and looking elsewhere, especially since I've held out for so long at this point. I'd really just rather them reject me, so I can move on and get my life back!

My realtor has been out of town for the last week, and just sent me the back and forth emails between one of her partners and the listing agent. Apparently, the listing agent has been calling and emailing the negotiator daily for the past 2 weeks, leaving messages desperately begging them to just return a call. But they are completely ignoring her and haven't even acknowledged her inquiries. So she is going to take a little walk down the street to Bank of America this week and close this deal— she's a spitfire! So I'll be sure to update everyone who is still following this question. Maybe going straight to the source, they can get on the phone with someone who has more authority to make something happen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 12, 2009
MLwhaley,

My family has had a short sale bid in on a property for over 6 months now. Reading your initial question/post made me laugh b/c it was almost an exact mirror into what we have been going through -- our agent is very good at keeping the lines of communication with the lawyers handling the process open (or so it appears), but every time we "hear something" its always something along the lines of "almost... just a few more days... you should hear something by the end of the week... this is the final stage, etc" -- you name it. Like I said, its now over 6 months and I have no idea when/if it will come to pass (although I hope and pray it does, b/c its a dream property). The main difference between our bid and yours is that ours definitely wasn't 97% of the asking price; our bid was definitely a lowball offer. But this is in a market where there is a surplus of shortsales and no offers are coming in on many properties, so who knows. I could tell you all the steps we have gone through in the process (and the subsequent ups and downs), but I'm sure you've experienced most of them yourself. The last thing we heard was that the "servicer" had changed, so a new servicer had to evaluate the offer/shortsale. I have absolutely no idea who or what a servicer is, but somehow we are always being told this is the "final stages" (6+ months in... we have been told that many, many times... I stopped believing that, lol). There's always some additional stage or party to the transaction... I really don't know what goes on behind the scenes -- its frustrating. I wish we could just bid on some standard traditional sale and be accepted or rejected within a day or two, but unfortunately properties this nice and with this low of a price just don't exist in this market unless its a firesale, and our pockets are not deep, lol.

All I can tell you is that a real estate gem I heard once said that the real estate triangle of a sales transaction consists of (1) Price, (2) Quality, and (3) Time -- and that you can only ever have 2 of the 3 (ie if you want something cheap and fast you are going to sacrifice quality, if you want something with great quality and want it really quickly you are going to pay for it... or our situation, where if you want something of good quality at a good price -- you are going to need to be patient and wait) .

I'm sorry that I really don't have any advice or encouragement/discouragement for you, other than the fact that I can relate to exactly what you are going through. Really -- your posts have been like reading entries out of my own diary or something, lol. This process is crazy and I have no idea where we'll end up, but I sure can relate. Best of luck, and I truly hope you get the good news you have been waiting to hear for so long -- sometime very soon!! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
i also bid on a short sale back in May, offer was accepted by seller but we never heard from lender, the sellers agent even opened escrow. anyway it never eventuated so i recently withdrew my offer and thankfully got my earnest money back. my advice: move on. there are plenty foreclosures and standard sales out there. the short sale was too much headache and not worth the frustration. good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
Still no word on my house. If I don't hear by the end of September, I'll probably just buy something else. Of course, now my conscience is coming into play and I'd really hate to back out at this point since the seller is just as frustrated as I am (and I know she has done EVERYTHING that was expected of her and her listing agent is great too). So I don't know. Has anyone attempted a law suit over this? I'm heading into 6 months. As you can see in my initial question, my offer was really not controversial and really shouldn't require MONTHS of debate and analysis. I don't think this lengthy waiting period is in any way necessary. They should offer these negotiators a seminar in time management and prioritizing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
The "phase 1/phase 2/investor" thing is a Countrywide (now Bank of America) invention. The phase 1 negotiator triages the short sale package to assure that everything is complete and all the documents are in. If the offer seems to be in line with some computer program that they have, it then gets passed on to a Phase 2 negotiator who orders a BPO (bank appraisal) and then puts all the pieces together and submits to the investor for approval. If approval is obtained, the file then goes to the closer (2-4 days) and the approval letter is generated.

That's the process is the worst on the planet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
Hi Mlwhaley,
I answered you regarding a short sale a while ago. well, we backed out. We found another home and it was a standard sale. We also found out with the short sale that they originally told us our file was at the end of stage 2. Later about 25 days later we were told we were just starting stage 2. Very frustrating. Countrywide has no ideas what they are doing. CW even told the sellers agent to tell us to hold tight because we were nearing the end. But when it changed to the beginning of stage and the sellers agent asked them about us being at the end. They said they never said that! Crazy. Well I know you are in rush so good luck. Keep us updated.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 10, 2009
I heard some awesome news today.... Turns out, the Phase 1 Negotiator FORGOT to send some important info along to the Phase 2 Negotiator. Last week, the Phase 2 Neg. got the info he needed, so now I am waiting. Again. I really love how it took 3 weeks for this guy to realize he was missing some "important information". I wish they would hire some more people to move this process along. I really think they would benefit in the long run.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 18, 2009
Mrsg,

i also put in an offer for a short sale back in May, the sellers agent even opened escrow, and they cashed my ernest money deposit! after almost 3 months, we have no lender approval, and are frankly quite disgusted. so, last week we withdrew our offer.

i have found that during the last three months since we made that offer on short sale, there have been many REOs and standard sales. true competition is rediculous, but at least with REOs and standard sales you get a yes or no within a week of making your offer. we now have an accepted offer on a REO and are hoping to move into a house soon.

good luck to you. if you love your short sale home, i guess keep waiting, otherwise i say move on...i am glad i did
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 14, 2009
Hi MLwhaley, Just wanted to give you an update on our short sale that I wrote about. A full blown appraisal was completed last Wednesday Aug 5th. We normally get updates on Fridays. No new news as of today. This is so crazy. The sellers realtor already called the CW to tell them we "the buyers" are ready to walk, CW told him to tell us to hang in there!... Really 4 months and they are saying "hang in there!" I hope you are making progress with your short sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 14, 2009
Thank you Grace, I really appreciate the clarification. I think there must be some confusion as to which phase we are in right now, it must be Phase 3 since everything you mentioned in Phase 1 and 2 has been completed. I can't believe each agent has 400 files (no wonder this process takes forever!!) I'm guessing I'll be pooled in the "extreme/6 month" category. Consider me an extremely determined homebuyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
Hello Ml and thanks for your post.

Countrywide, now Bank of America, has three (3) phases--not two (2)-- in their short sale process. Each of the three phases takes between 30-45 days to complete. At present, Bank of America has over 500,000 short sales to process and each coordinator is assigned about 400 files each. Here are the three stages, as it was explained to me by a short sale representative:

Phase 1 - Requires scanning the file contents, determining if the file is complete
Phase 2 - Review price of home (BPO), preliminary review of file contents to determine if a short sale is warranted
Phase 3 - Final Review and Negotiations. This is where the lender appproves the Short Sale or provides a Counter Offer to Buyer. This is also when the Lender determines what conditions will apply to the sale.

Again, in the "best possible case", a short sale takes 90 days from offer to acceptance by the lender, which means 120 days from offer to close of escrow. However, in areas where there are proliferation of short sales, the time between Phases can be closer to 45 days just to get the file to the Phase 1 Negotiator and then 45 days at each phase--meaning that the process from offer to approval can be 180 days or about 6 months. That's extreme, of course, but it can happen.

Unfortunately, with the influx of Countrywide short sales into the B of A system, all representatives are understandably overwhelmed with jobs, and there is nothing that we as buyers, sellers or Realtors can do to speed up this process.

I hope this helps put the process into perspective for you. Good luck and hang in there!!

Sincerely,
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
Sorry.

Good luck.

Benito.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
Hahahahaa 129 days. And counting.......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
How many days since offer submitted? around 70?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
The investor doesn't see the file until after the phase/stage 3 in Countrywide short sale approval. I'm certain that it was the negotiator who reviewed the file previously - not the investor, but that really doesn't make any difference to you anyway. CW have their procedures in place and it's carrying on even now when they are under BofA. It's a very tidious process, and if you really like the home you have an offer on, than just wait for the approval. It would be great if they would simplify their procedures and save themselves and us taxpayers some money... : )
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
The investor has already seen the file/offer whatever. That was before I was told there was a Phase 2. Is it possible that the Countrywide contact person is completely clueless? I just extended my contract for the 5th month. I don't know why I bother asking, since it seems like no one really knows the entire process or the order of all the steps involved. What a mess. It's no surprise Bank of America bought Countrywide, I just wish they would work quicker to streamline the chaos that is the short sale...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
I'm very familiar with Countrywide - now Bank of America Short Sale Process. You still have one more stage ahead of you. The file will now be assign to phase/stage 3, and another negotiator will be assigned to this file, and then it will be proposed to the Investor for the final approval. Hopefully it's a private investor as that will take shorter time to get an answer. On one of the CW short sales I recently closed, I had to wait 6 weeks for the final investor's approval. The entire short sale approval took 4 months, which seems very long, but for the most part CW short sales take much longer. The listing agent must stay in close communication with the lender, and the Seller must comply with any additional documentation requests immediately - most recent pay stubs, bank statements, etc. CW will only give 24 hours to comply with requests, and they'll close the short sale file. Don't give up, it should get approved eventually. Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 10, 2009
As far as I know, our first appraisal still stands so we won't be needing a second one. I was told yesterday that I am one signature away from going under contract. That signature is needed from this Phase 2 coordinator person. I was supposed to hear a firm answer this past week, but all I learned was that we are waiting for this signature. I might have news on Monday, probably more like Tuesday. I will of course be back with news or further updates...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 1, 2009
Hi again, We heard that CW is ordering a second appraisal which should be completed by this Tuesday. Every time my realtor gets and update or not, she still calls us to keep us updated. MLwhaley, what has your agent told you?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 1, 2009
Ok. This is where I get lost. It's already been appraised (a few weeks after I submitted my offer) and the investor has already seen it. All paperwork was in order because there was a problem somewhere along the way, but the problem was cleared up about 2 months ago. This is why "Phase 2" has me a little perturbed.....unless it's already gone through most of this phase and the phase 2 coordinator is near the end? Maybe?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 31, 2009
Ms. Zavala, Do you know how long it takes for the investor to approve?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 30, 2009
The "phase 1/phase 2" thing is a Countrywide (now Bank of America) invention. The phase 1 negotiator triages the short sale package to assure that everything is complete and all the documents are in. If the offer seems to be in line with some computer program that they have, it then gets passed on to a Phase 2 negotiator who orders a BPO (bank appraisal) and then puts all the pieces together and submits to the investor for approval. If approval is obtained, the file then goes to the closer (2-4 days) and the approval letter is generated.

That's the process at Countrywide; sometimes it is slow, and other times it is slower.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 30, 2009
Hi again,
We heard today that CW/BofA called the sellers agent to ask for two updated forms, one was our purchase agreement. My agent stated at least we know someone is looking at the file. So hopefully tomorrow we will have a better update :-) We also found another home yesterday, a REO, but we ended up backing out of the offer because the taxes were way too high. Good luck to you too!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 30, 2009
What a mess. Well, best of luck to you! If I learn any breakthroughs in the process, I'll be sure to share the news. Thanks for sharing your story as well. Everyone loves to say "We'll hear something this week" so hopefully, this is the week for both of us!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 30, 2009
As far as I know, there are 3 stages with CW. But again, who really knows. I was told by my agent stage 2 can take up to 30 days. If we don't get an update this Friday, I will seriously start looking again. It is very frustrating! We honestly thought we would have an approval by now.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 29, 2009
Yeah, there aren't any other homes that compare to this one in my choice location in Charleston at this price. Luckily, I am currently living rent free at my family's beach house, so I'm in no real rush. I wanted to get into a house while rates were low, so I figured I'd risk the wait. However, this process is terribly obnoxious. The lines of communication are open and active between the listing agent and Countrywide, but I'm just not understanding all the parties involved. We hear new updates every 2 weeks or so, I'm just curious who all these people are and how many more have to look at the paperwork before actually doing something. The appraisal was quick, like within 3 weeks of the start of everything. It definitely pays to know the listing agent personally, but I guess unless I have a buddy at Countrywide, it doesn't matter who I know, there are no strings to be pulled. But I do want to know if there is a Phase 3 or 4....or more....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 29, 2009
I placed an offer on a short sale with Countrywide on April 18th. Last Month, June they did the appraisal. We were told on July 3 that our file has been assigned to a stage 2 negotiator. Here were are 1 month this Friday and we haven't heard a thing. Also even if you get a verbal "yes" the bank can still do whatever they want like sell it in a auction. Until you see something in writing, I wouldn't get too excited. I hope your agent is taking you to see other homes... I also have a friend who purchased a short sale and it took her 6 months to get a yes and then another 60 days to close! Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 29, 2009
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