Yes, what a monster SS's can be!
I gave Cindi, Keith, Patricia and Danny a "thumbs up" because they are all on the right track in my opinion.
I've personally turned around a Wells Fargo SS from offer to acceptance letter within 3 weeks and a Chase SS from 65 days from offer to acceptance. There are soo many loose threads in such a chaotic system, that just by pulling one slight, will turn any possible success to certain doom!
For example, a certain negotiator in charge of almost 15 new SS files a day slapped on her desk alone decides that since the Realtor who wasn't very nice and polite over the phone turned in the SS packet in not the specified order; turns the file back to the bottom of her stack or on another pile that keeps it from getting reviewed. That can happen very easily and certainly does. I usually laugh when I hear some agents on the phone to the lenders demanding aggressively for that person to put their file on top priority. These people may get paid $18/ hour and could care less who I or any other Realtor is that only has one, maybe two files working with that lender... little alone that negotiator.
Look at Cyndi's time frame and she's right on the money as to what I "normally" see on a daily basis. Also, documentation for each and every single time you speak with ANYONE is crucial if you're going to have any shot at proving to ALL parties that things are being done timely and completely from your side.
Most Realtors will always believe they know more and don't have the time to be doing the 30 minute follow up on files you should do every day; and they may be right. That's why if anyone is going to take on a SS listing, they have better have a system in place and many support channels available to keep up with all the necessary communications and homework that these banks will need.
Additionally, I've turned down a handful of sellers upon our initial consultations. Not because I'm an speaking on behalf of the bank for an acceptance, but because I usually have seen what most banks are looking for and can decide whether i've got a seller that's truly in a hardship, or they simply are "claiming" a hardship. Big difference when you're dealing with a successful outcome.
Until there can be a large agreement upon policies, procedures and systems on how these SS should be handled, I believe that they're still going to be such a tough transaction to tackle if you're not ready to be patient, learning based and have a slight enjoyment for pain! ;)