Bank of America Short Sale Experience

by Alicia Mendoza on February 7, 2011

Screen shot of Equator website which is used for Bank of America short sales.

(04/24/2012 – Comments have been disabled for a short period due to inability to provide responses at this time. Please refer to existing comments and responses for reference. Thank you!)

There are a lot of rumors flying around that Bank of America is difficult to work with when it comes to short sales.  So when I took on a listing a few months ago for a Bank of America short sale (both 1st and 2nd liens), I was preparing for several bumps and delays along the way.

Although I had successfully completed all my short sale listings in the past, the last time I did one with Bank of America was before they migrated to the Equator platform online.

Contrary to the horror stories I’ve heard from other agents, my experience with Bank of America was actually very positive.

Uploading all the requested files via Equator was quite simple and straight forward, in my humble opinion.  The more cumbersome part was actually collecting all the documents from my client, as they were often out of town and not able to transmit documents to me right away.  Fortunately they were always prepared and very thorough whenever their documents were sent over, so that helped speed things along.

Yes, Bank of America did come back with a counter offer.  I’ve heard that they always do, so that wasn’t a surprise.  They were quick to respond to our counter offers, and it wasn’t long before we had a written short sale approval in hand.  I was fortunate to also have them waive their right to pursue a deficiency judgment after completing the short sale, which is not always a sure thing to get.

The closing agent with Bank of America was also very helpful.  We needed an extra couple of days to close escrow, and that was granted very easily from this closing agent.  He even called me to check in on things.  Very courteous.

What impressed me the most was how quick to respond everyone was on Bank of America’s end.  I would have responses from Bank of America via Equator within minutes sometimes.  We were very lucky.

Now I do need to point out that Bank of America held both the 1st and 2nd liens, so negotiating this whole short sale was much easier than if I was dealing with Bank of America and another lender.  But even so, the reputation that Bank of America “takes forever” and is “difficult to work with” is something that didn’t ring true for me, at least based on my latest short sale closing with them.

From list date to closing, the entire short sale took about 4 months.  From date of submission to Bank of America to written approval, it took about 2 months.  We kept everyone engaged (seller, buyer’s agent, buyer) with weekly updates via email — a courtesy I picked up from another listing agent on a short sale I completed previously where I represented the buyer.  I’m surprised that more agents don’t do that, even if there’s no new update.  I’d rather hear from them that there’s no new update rather than hear nothing at all for weeks.  But that’s just me.

So that’s my story with Bank of America short sales.  Who knows, I may have a less positive experience the next time around (which will likely be within the next month or so).  But now I know that it’s at least possible to complete a short sale with Bank of America without much hassle.

For more info on Bank of America short sales, or just short sales in general, feel free to contact me.


Christine Pak April 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hi, Alicia!

Thank you for giving a huge helping hand.
I submitted my offer on a SS condo owned by BofA back in last Oct’11. I was informed by my realtor that BofA approved the SS to the seller in Jan’12 and sometime in middle of Feb’12, BofA’s negotiator was working with the seller and boy, how mistaken I was to think that the end is near.. During 2nd wk of Mar’12, my realtor said the listing (seller’s) agent just found out that BofA changed its loan officer for the 3rd time on my case and the new appointed loan officer asked the listing agent to resubmit some of the out dated files and she also mentioned for the 1st time that the seller’s loan is FHA loan. Ever since that day there is only calmness…………….absolutely nothing is happening. My situation is that the listing agent has no idea how to deal with SS despite the fact that she is the only one who could talk with BofA!!!!! and instead of contacting BofA in consistent time base and being courteous by updating us even though there is no updates from BofA, she avoids my realtor’s calls. What can I do? Many thanks in advance. Sincerely, Christine

Alicia Mendoza April 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hi Christine, Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry that your file with the bank has been moved around and somewhat “lost in the shuffle”. The good news is that it does sound like a new negotiator was assigned, so the file is now being looked at again, supposedly. As far as what you can do as the buyer, there isn’t much aside from encouraging your agent to continue pushing to get updates from the listing agent. Maybe instead of phone calls from your agent, try text messages or emails? Or have your agent call from a different, local phone number that may get the listing agent to answer the phone. At least find out if a new BPO/appraisal needs to be ordered, or whether or not the seller’s documents have all been submitted to the bank in order for the review to continue. Best wishes to you…as you can probably tell, you are not alone in this process. I hope you get some clarity in terms of timing soon.

Hua April 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Hello Alicia,
My current awkward situation is not really related to BOA, but I would like to get some advice from you.
It was a regular sale when we put an offer $ 550,000o on a single family home at Feb 5. then we found out it was a short sale afterwards. the seller owes bank>580,000 so we have to go through the short sale process. after that I rarely heard anything about the short sale from my agent. She never update me about the progress unless I ask her. she did not explain me what’s she current working on neither. anytime I asked her about the progress her answer was always “I would let you know when I get anything back from bank”. it seems to me she is not interested in this case any more. At beginning I though it was just her style as long long as she gets things done, I am totally fine without knowing the detail. until recently I found out almost nothing is done in almost 3 months. she does not even have access to equator yet, my offer is never uploaded. I am so upset about current situation, what should I do? I am not sure if I can fire her since we have signed contract. one thing bothers me is she is keeping telling me if there is a higher offer coming in I will be out of game. it makes me think she is postponing the process on purpose somehow in order to get a higher offer. I feel I am stuck, is there anything I can do to improve my situation?

Alicia Mendoza April 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Hua, Thank you for sharing your situation. Is this your agent that you’re referring to, or the listing agent (representing the seller)? Or is this agent representing both you and the seller? If you are not clear on what is going on with this short sale, I highly recommend that you determine whether you are truly locked in with this real estate agent (did you sign a buyer broker agreement with her?). If not, then you may want to consider finding a real estate agent that can guide you through the homebuying process. You just want to make sure that you don’t lose any sort of deposit or breach any contract that is in place right now. Not only do you need a real estate agent who can help you through the short sale process if you do end up bidding on one, but you need an agent who can guide you through to the closing of escrow. Perhaps find another real estate agent in your area that you can trust and have him/her help you determine how to proceed. Good luck.

Jorge April 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hello Alicia, First I’ll like to say that your page and answers have been very helpful and informative. My situation is the following, I am a FHA buyer and I offered 175.000 with $5.000 tours the down payment on a $189.000 Short Sale house from BOA, everything is done (Seller accepted offer, Inspection etc..) and all documents from the seller and mine were submitted to the bank on Friday 04/13/12 for review. Can you tell me if the offer is reasonable and how is this ( ) going to benefit my process.

Alicia Mendoza April 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hi Jorge, Thank you for sharing. Regarding the reasonableness of your offer, that will depend on much more unique factors that your real estate agent would be best to consult with about that. As for the shortened timeline for Bank of America when it comes to short sales, I anticipate that this is not something that will be instantly implemented, especially if you are already this far into the current process. It will probably take some time, training, and re-organizing the infrastructure and systems within Bank of America to accommodate this shortened timeline that is referred to in the article you mentioned.

Becky G. April 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

This has also not been our experience. We are selling our home as a short sale in the horrendous Las Vegas market. Our mortgage (we only have one) is with B 0f A. We had to relocate as my husband got laid off and unable to find work for 7 months. we had to find a better job market for him to get a job (which he did right away once we moved). We originally had renters, however, they skipped out on the lease and here we are. We listed the home back in December 2011, and had an offer almost right away. Our agent tried the equator system, however, for whatever reason it would not accept our paperwork. So it was faxed in, and B of A confirmed receipt and that a Level 1 negotiator would be assigned. The Level 1 negotiator was assigned fairly quickly and was great at keeping our agent up to date as to what the status was. After 45 days of back and forth, we got the “approval to participate in the short sale program” and that we are now being assigned to a Level 2 negotiator who has a 30-day review window to review our offer and other paperwork. Our agent continously tried reaching out this Level 2 negotiator and they never followed up – the only way we got updates was by our agent calling their short sale customer service department. First the reasoning was that the negotiator was on vacation, but then we just never heard from him or her – despite our attempts or their internal attempts. The decision was supposed to be in by today from the Level 2, and guess what? No decision. No response. It has now been escalated due to the lack of response, and supposedly we will hear something within the next couple business days (our agent will continue to call them until we do). Our agent has been proactive in the whole process and fortunately we have very patient buyers….so far. Meanwhile, we are now getting threatened with foreclosure proceedings because none of their departments talk to one another.

Alicia Mendoza April 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Hi Becky, Thank you for sharing. It sounds like your agent is staying on top of the bank and short sale, so that’s good. I’m surprised that Equator is not being used, and that may be one contributing factor to some of the communication delays. But as long as your agent is following and pushing your file along, that’ll eventually get you results. As for the foreclosure proceedings, those will indeed continue. It is up to you/your agent to ensure that the trustee sale or auction date (not sure how it’s done in Nevada) is postponed as that date gets closer. If you have an active short sale going on, it shouldn’t be an issue to postpone it, but that action is up to you/your agent to do. That happens across the board, not just with Bank of America, but all the banks that I’ve encountered over the years.

Laurie B. April 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Hi Alicia, my husband and I put an offer on a SS in San Diego, CA through our realtor a couple of weeks ago. Tonight our realtor called us and said the seller’s lender is requesting a GFE from our loan officer. Our realtor seems to think this is good news. The seller’s lender is BoA, which led me to your site. What does this mean to you? We offered about $5,000 more than the list price and also offered a $5,000 escrow deposit. Do you think BoA will counteroffer? Also, if I change jobs before we close, to a similar job that pays more money (I’m still employed, not laid off or terminated) will that be a problem? Thank you so much for your help!

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hi Laurie, Thank you for sharing. Typically Bank of America requires that you as the selected buyer for this short sale provide a pre-approval letter from your own lender. A GFE may be required if the seller’s loan type is FHA. It is good news that know that such information is being asked from you, but at this point it appears to still be in the early stages of the short sale. Unfortunately I can’t tell you whether Bank of America will counter offer your price and closing costs or not — it’s completely on a case-by-case basis. If you change jobs before closing, that would be something to discuss with your own lender — it shouldn’t have any affect on the short sale approval process. Good luck!

Laurie B. April 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Hi again Alicia. Our lender sent over a pre-approval letter and about a week after is when the seller’s lender requested the GFE. We are going VA, 0% down. We did offer $5,000 more than list price, so we’re hoping BoA accepts that without issue. I’m doing my best to wait to change jobs before closing, as our lender said it would probably look better that I have been at this job for 3 years and have a regular history of time and paychecks. Fingers crossed and I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you again!

Alexis April 9, 2012 at 11:40 am


I placed an offer on a BOA short sale back in 2010. BOA was using some “middle man” company “Home Quest”. After 6 months of waiting, we received a counter offer. The home has been on and off the market for at least 6 times within two years. Have you ever heard of Home Quest? Needless to say, we backed out.

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hi Alexis, Thank you for your inquiry. I think HomeQuest is a real estate broker. It may be that the listing agent representing the seller hired a third party negotiator that is part of HomeQuest brokerage to work with Bank of America on behalf of the seller, not on behalf of Bank of America. If that was the case, it isn’t unusual for a broker like that to be involved in that sort of capacity. But if things weren’t “feeling” right about this property, then going with your instinct to back out is certainly understandable.

D April 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

This is not our experience at all! We put in our offer in November 2011. They waited so long to do anything with our case that it got kicked out of the system, then the BOA case worker proceeded to lie to our agent, saying that the sellers backed out when they are more than ready to get the house sold. Our agent had to call about 30 times to get the case reopened. After bumbling around for several more months time after the case was reopened, they finally reassigned it to someone else, then not much happened, so we finally threatened to walk away. Miraculously, the next night we had a promise of a contract. Got that signed, got notice of title transfer, earnest money was cashed and I assume put in escrow, now we wait until the lady that promised to hurry it up gets back to our agent. It’s been a week and a half waiting for any acknowledgement and they said they would try to get it to close in 45 days instead of 60. Hopefully they hurry it up because we are paying rent in two places (my husband has already had to relocate for his job and the new owner of our house is letting us rent so we can keep our stuff here). Frustrating is not even the word to describe the incompetence we’ve experienced. The people that lost the house have been beside themselves waiting for this to happen as have we. I understand that they all have tons of cases to work on, but deal with the ones where all the paperwork is complete first! And don’t lie about it if it’s your fault. I don’t ever want to have anything to do with BOA ever again after this….

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hi D, Thank you for sharing your situation. I’m sorry that your experience has been so horrible for you and the sellers. Once the short sale is approved, the bank typically backs off while you do your due diligence as the buyer with home inspections, getting your financing taken care of, etc. and go through the normal process of being in escrow with the seller. I’m not sure what contract you signed and what else you’re waiting on from the bank at this point, unless you’re still waiting for a formal written approval. But I sure hope everything works out for you so that you can move on with your life.

Brooke April 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm

We made an offer on a short sale home about 2 weeks ago. Our home went on the market today! We offered $14,900 less than asking price and asked them to pay $5000 in closings. We were told that the sellers have hired someone to “streamline” the process. What does that mean? Does that mean we will get approval/denial/counter quicker? Should we expect a counter? We feel that it was priced right, now comes the hard part…waiting. I just don’t know what hiring someone to streamline the whole process means?

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Hi Brooke, Thank you for your inquiry. The person hired to “streamline” the process is most likely a third party agent of some sort that specializes in negotiating short sales with banks on behalf of the seller. It allows the listing agent to focus more on the real estate side of things and not get too caught up with all the paperwork and hours of phone calls each day to various banks. I actually have been utilizing a third party negotiator like this for most of my short sales lately myself. These folks do this full-time and therefore have more connections with the banks to get these short sales resolved more effectively and efficiently. With that said, having that person involved in the short sale of the property that you offered on will likely help make the process a bit faster, since that person will usually know how to handle “road blocks” in the process and even know how to avoid them. A counter offer may result in terms of price, but hopefully it won’t be very far off from what you offered. I would say that the “streamline” part of the process really applies more to the seller, because there are a lot of documents needed from the seller along the way that may often take up extra time throughout the process. Good luck!

Jay W. Casciato April 2, 2012 at 7:00 am

(cont.) The problem is that while waiting on the written acceptance, we have a Home Inspector and a Septic Inspector and others on standby, and all of this needs to be completed before closing, which needs to take place before our rate lock expires. Additionally, the longer the house remains vacant, the worse it looks. The grounds are not being kept up and the house has sustained some minor damage due to a wind storm. They have been notified, and said it would be repaired the following week, but that was two weeks ago and still nothing has been done. I am the only one who even checks on the property, which I do several times each week. How can we speed things up?

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Hi Jay, Thanks for sharing. The only way that I know of to speed things up with the bank is to have the listing agent (or authorized person who is negotiating with the bank on the seller’s behalf) be very aggressive in getting that written approval letter. Sometimes the person at the bank who is supposed to send it out forgets to do so. Sometimes that person thinks they sent it out, but for some reason it never got to the listing agent. Follow-up is key, escalation of the matter to someone higher up in the department may also work as well. It may also be that the bank is waiting on updated documents from the seller or listing agent. All of those things need to be in line for final review by the bank and investor before a written approval is sent out. As the buyer you don’t have full visibility of all that goes on with that, so just continue to press the urgency on your agent so that he/she can continue to follow up with the listing agent. Best wishes to you.

Jay W. Casciato April 2, 2012 at 6:51 am

Hello Alicia,
We live in the State of Washington, and are in the process of buying a BofA Short Sale property. It was listed by a major Realty Company as “A Bank Approved Short Sale”. The seller has had the home listed since 2008, but only since late in 2011 as a short sale. Ours is the only offer she has received on the property in since the short sale listing. BofA required a Financing Preapproval, which we provided. We made and offer, BofA countered and we accepted. Our Buyer’s Agent received a Verbal Acceptance and was told the Written acceptance would follow promptly. That was 3 weeks ago. We have our Financing locked in at 3.75% but tit is due to expire this month (April 2012)

Maryellen March 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Hi- just want to say that your blog has been a huge wealth of information for me as I sit and wait to hear about a short sale my husband I have made an offer on. Thank you!! It’s been over 2 months since we made the offer and 2 days ago we heard for the sellers broker saying that the seller has been approved for the short sale and the BOP came back at the contract price. I want to be excited, but as you know I feel that anything can still happen. I read on your blog that BOA usually comes back with a counter offer. Do you think this will still be true if the BOP came back at the contract price (in your experience)? We are going to have to put our current house on the market as soon as we hear something, should I start doing the final “little” things? How close are we to the end? I know this is only your opinion, but I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long I need the nudge to get me moving again. Any advice would be fantastic!! And thanks again!

Maryellen March 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Sorry… I said BOP when it’s the BPO (I was actually listening to Barney on the TV and there is a dinosaur names Baby Bop… ) Also I forgot to mention that BOA has the only loan and it’s an FHA loan. Does this make a difference in timing?

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Yes, with just one loan to deal with, you won’t have to wait for another lender to approve the short sale/payoff as well.

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Hi Maryellen, Thank you for the positive feedback! Regarding the BPO value, you are absolutely right – anything can indeed happen, but the good news is that everyone seems to be on the same page regarding the value. The bank may counter back on other terms of the sale (escrow fees, commissions, etc.) which may not be something that you’ll have to deal with directly, but hopefully the price won’t be an issue. In terms of putting your house on the market, the timing will depend on a variety of things that may be best discussed in more specific detail with your real estate agent. At this point though, you are probably just a couple of weeks out from a response, though if there’s another mortgage lien on the property with another lender, that will of course cause this process to last a little longer. Good luck!

Brittany Foust March 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Hey! I have a question. We just put in an offer on a house that is a short sale with Bank of America. Do you know generally what their turnaround time is on offers for short sales? At least to come back and counter that is? We’re just trying to get an idea on what we’re looking at as far as the amount of time we’ll spend waiting on Equator to process our offer. Also, we found out today that two other offers came in on the house. Will Bank of America give us a chance to put in a higher offer or our “best” offer or will they flat our reject our offer and give it to the highest bidder in this first round?

Alicia Mendoza March 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hi Brittany, Thank you for sharing. Your offer first would have to be accepted and signed by the seller before it could be submitted to the bank for review. The seller still owns the property, so there’s also a lot of paperwork that needs to be completed by the seller as well in order for this short sale to move forward. Once all of that is done and submitted to the bank, then there’s a process for how that all gets reviewed too. Equator is simply the online tool that Bank of America (and other banks) use to collect information and communicate with listing agents and authorized parties for their short sales. The process also can be more complicated if there is more than one lien on the property. There are many moving parts and people involved with a short sale, but if everyone cooperates, a response on the short sale can come as early as 2 months from the time everything is submitted to the bank. It can also take 3-4 months to get a response. If other offers are coming in for this property, you need to determine whether you truly were the selected buyer by the seller for which your offer was sent off to the bank already, or if the seller hasn’t yet selected any buyer. Typically only one buyer/offer is submitted at a time to Bank of America. If you have more specific questions, it may be best to discuss them with your real estate agent. This is the time to establish your expectations for communications with your agent, since your agent will essentially be the one receiving updates on this short sale as you wait for a response (assuming you truly are the selected buyer for this short sale property). Best wishes to you!

kristen March 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

Mid Feb i put a cash offer on a house that is a BOA forclosure. It is for 11k under pre approved bank price. They had a sale fall through after inspection in early Feb. Do you know what the average time to hear back from the bank with acceptance or counter offer? and after that how long has it been taking, on average, to close? Thank you.

Alicia Mendoza March 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

Hi Kristen, Thanks for your inquiry. If you’re referring to a bank-owned (REO) property by Bank of America, that’s much different than a short sale. Usually with REO properties, the response time should be relatively quick, within a few days to a week. Closings will typically be similar to standard sales — 30-45 days, at least that’s what I’m seeing here in Southern California. If you’re talking about a short sale property that is currently going through the foreclosure process with Bank of America as the servicer, then that’s different from an REO. From what you shared, it sounds like the first buyer walked away after the short sale was approved at a certain price with them. So if you’re coming in now as the new buyer, you’ll need to find out from your agent and/or the listing agent whether the bank needed to restart the whole short sale review process again or if they were able to insert you as a new buyer. I can’t imagine it taking more than a month before the bank responds to you if they didn’t have to start over. But that will also depend if there are other liens on the property and who the investor is behind the note.

Katherine March 18, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hi!! You seem so knowledgeable about this process, and your answers to other comments are so helpful, I thought I’d throw my question in the mix. My husband and I found a great house a few months ago that was a BofA short sale. The house originally sold in 2006 for $400,000, with a mortgage of $320,000. It most recently appraised for $380,000, but was listed at $300,000. We LOVED the house, so we offered full price ($300k) and offered to pay all closing costs. Within a few days, they had accepted our offer, and we had an executed contract a few weeks after that. We’ve been patiently waiting on the negotiator and the approval, and we got some really disappointing news yesterday. The bank countered with an offer of $500,000!! That’s way over market value, that’s way more than could be remaining on the mortgage, and that’s way more than we can pay! My first thought was that they had had another offer on the property for more money and that they were trying to get rid of us, so they could accept that other offer. The other realtor assures us that there haven’t been any new offers, and ours had been the best offer to come in (that’s why they picked us). I read in your article and in other comments that counter offers aren’t uncommon, but to ask for an extra $200k seems really, really outrageous! Do you have any thoughts for us?!? Our mortgage guy suggested that we get our own appraisal this week just to see for ourselves if it could possibly be that high, but none of the other comps from the last year would justify that price. The highest that we could counter is probably around $320,000 (the original mortgage amount), but somehow BofA’s counter has me feeling like $320,000 won’t even be worth their time. Is there anything that we can do or say (short of accepting their counter offer and paying way over market rate) to still make this work? I am told that the other realtor can only email BofA (not even our realtor can do that), but isn’t there someone that we could talk to?!? Any thoughts you have would be appreciated!! Thank you!!

Alicia Mendoza March 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi Katherine, Thank you for sharing. This becomes a project for your agent and the listing agent to come together to determine how to work this out with Bank of America. The listing agent is not merely just a messenger between the bank and other parties involved in a short sale; he/she should really try to negotiate and work this out between all parties…at least that is my opinion of what a listing agent who is “negotiating” the short sale with bank should be doing. The listing agent needs to get involved and provide details and a sound argument as to why this value is so unreasonable. Your agent can either assist or press on the listing agent to do this. Email is not the only way to reach Bank of America for the listing agent. Perhaps talk to your agent and ask her to work with the listing agent to justify a lower price. Counter back and have the listing agent explain why. This listing agent will never get this property sold right now with any buyer if he/she doesn’t set the bank straight about the current market value. Good luck!

Katherine March 31, 2012 at 11:46 am

Thank you for your response! We have since had an appraisal done, and it came in at $410,000. The listing agent forwarded that to the bank with our counter offer of $320,000, but the bank still insist that it’s worth $500,000. In the email they sent to the listing agent (which was kindly forwarded to our realtor), the bank says that the investor likely will not consider an offer less than $475,000. If the house WAS worth $500k, that would be 95% of the value!! That seems like a percentage that I would pay for a regular house, not a short sale! In your experience, what would be a fair percentage to offer for a short sale house. We were thinking that 75-80% of the fair market value would be about right, given that the short sale invovles so much hassle and time. What is your estimate?

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hi Katherine, when it comes to short sales, I wouldn’t necessarily place an automatic discount percentage on any of these properties. Not all of them are in bad condition, and it will depend largely on the location, type of property, etc. The fact of the matter is that, if you had an independent appraisal done of the property already at $410,000, and if you were planning to get financing for the property as part of your purchase, then really the bank/investor will have no luck in getting ANY educated buyer to pay $475,000. This short sale then wouldn’t work right now for any buyer. Now if this property is located in an area where there are a lot of custom-made homes, then there’s a lot more subjectivity to the value which can then be argued from both sides. This is going to take some stronger negotiating by the listing agent to get this to work. The gap is way too large right now, even between the appraised value that you came up with. This listing agent is going to have to figure out how to dispute this further.

lin March 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm

My friend is short selling her home, she got an offer and all of the paperwork is now at the bank. Her home is no longer being marketed. All information about it says the house is under contract/off market. Doesn’t this hurt her chances of selling it, especially if the buyer pulls out or the bank declines the offer? Shouldn’t her agent continue marketing it in case something like this happens? Thanks for your response.

Alicia Mendoza March 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

Hi Lin, Thanks for your inquiry. Continuing to market a short sale property after an offer is submitted to the bank may be good to collect backup offers, but it also means continued disturbance for your friend over the next few months to show the property (unless it is vacant). And even if there are several backup buyers lined up, some of these buyers are typically not going to hold their breath for this particular property since there is already another buyer being considered ahead of them. Keeping the property on the market as active also can be misleading to buyers who take the time to view a property, only to find out later that it’s not really available. There are different ways to handle this situation, but I don’t personally think it hurts your friend to not have the property on the market right now, unless there is some indication that this current buyer is not going to stick around. It also doesn’t hurt either to collect more backup offers, but it does create more disruption for your friend and may mislead buyers out there.

Karen March 17, 2012 at 7:02 am

Alicia, I
It’s Karen again. I forgot to mention I live in Florida.

Karen March 16, 2012 at 8:32 am

I made an offer on 1/4/12 for a BOA pre-approved Short Sale. On 2/14/12 BOA counter-offered. I countered their offer on 2/15/12. Last week they sent and Addendum stating they refuse to pay the $390.00 fee for title and lien search. I signed advising I would pay it. They still have not responded to my counter offer. Any thoughts?

Alicia Mendoza March 28, 2012 at 10:09 am

Hi Karen, Thanks for sharing. It’s hard to say where things are at. Whatever you signed would’ve had to be funneled through your agent, to the listing agent, then submitted back to Bank of America, after which time the listing agent would have to continue to stay on top of things with the bank to determine status. It doesn’t sound like you’re very far off from an approval with terms that are acceptable to both you and the bank. Good luck!

Nicole March 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm

My husband and I are purchasing a short sale property from Bank of America. We are now into the 5th month and we barely here from the listing agent. We were told several false info such as the negotiator supervisor has to sign the short sale approval, the investor has to sign it oh and my favorite “you guys will have short sale approval letter the following week”. We have not received anything. Two weeks ago the listing agent (who is also a broker) tells us that our paper work has been sitting on a desk at B of A and we was assigned a new negotiator. I really want to give up. We had a closing date of December 6, 2011 then March 5th 2012 and now the equator says April 3.

Alicia Mendoza March 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Hi Nicole, Thank you for sharing your situation. One of the hardest parts about being a buyer of a short sale is having your expectations set appropriately. As a buyer, your knowledge of what is really going on between the seller, the listing agent, the bank, and the investor often exists in a “black box” where you only know what’s going on based on what essentially the listing agent is telling your agent. Even the info that may be told to you from your own agent may end up being abbreviated or misconstrued in some cases. What I tell my buyer clients when it comes to short sales is typically to expect this drawn out process and to not make any concrete plans about moving until we at least have the short sale approval in writing (of course then there’s the process of doing a home inspection, getting your loan, going through disclosures, etc., which are all variables in the process too). Perhaps ask your agent to find out specifically where things are at now that the file is with a new negotiator — do they need to do a new BPO/appraisal? Do you have to start over again, or is this new negotiator able to pick up the pieces and ultimately get the proper approvals to get the written approval letter over to the seller (and then to you as the buyer)? Perhaps also discuss your feelings with your own agent so that he/she can address it with you accordingly. Good luck!

Stacy March 15, 2012 at 6:37 am


Just a quick question for ya. I am buying a short sale in MD the BPO was pulled almost a month ago. In your experience how much longer do you believe we will be waiting?

Thank You

Alicia Mendoza March 15, 2012 at 10:22 am

Hi Stacy, I appreciate you reaching out to me. Assuming that there is just one loan on this property (with Bank of America, I presume) and that there are no other liens to deal with, I would think that you should be getting some sort of response within the next week or two. Have you been getting regular updates from your agent and/or the listing agent? Perhaps find out from your agent what the status of the short sale file is within Equator (the online portal used for communicating with Bank of America for short sales) from the listing agent. Of course if there is more than one loan and/or other liens on the property that have to be cleared, this process may take a bit longer to work out between all these liens. Best wishes to you and thanks again.

Stacy March 16, 2012 at 7:58 am

Thank you for the response. My agent has been very good at keeping us informed, but the sellers agent is kind of hard to get in contact with sometimes. It’s been a month now, so hopefully it will be soon : )

Mike m March 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hi i have a question about a ss i am involved in i made an offer on it for $20k less asking price seller signed than sent to bank BOA heard back from them in three weeks with a counter offer for full asking price this was a cash offer house has been on market for six months i have a buyers agent from same office as sellers agent my agent is being passive and say i should accept offer even thought after checking comps in area they are all with in the same price as my offer plus house needs allot of work what do you think my chances are of sending in inspection report along with comps of getting them to reduce price house has had no other offers since listing it six months ago thanks for any information you can provide as to renegotiate price

Alicia Mendoza March 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hi Mike, Thank you for your question. I would ask your agent, who should be looking out for YOUR best interests in this case, why you should stick with the counter offer that was presented to you vs. counter back at a lower price based on comps and the condition of the property. Sometimes agents don’t want to “rock the boat” and/or don’t realize that you CAN negotiate with the bank. Without getting on the same page with your own agent, you won’t be able to get much further with any negotiations. Good luck.

Terry March 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm

We got ort offer accepted by B of A back 4 months ago. Since they have come back 3 times asking for more money. First it was a few hundred dollars. Then a few more hundred. Finally, they asked for $2500. No explanation why they wanted more money and they said they didn’t care if it was foreclosed on!
A last ditch effort- we said we would pay this amount IF we receive a letter in writing that the sale would go through if we do pay.
Wejust received a letter from B of A stating that! No contract yet.
What do you think? We’re trying to be patient.

Alicia Mendoza March 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Hi Terry, Thank you for sharing your situation. Was your offer actually accepted by Bank of America as an approved short sale 4 months ago, or was it accepted by the seller at the time and was submitted to Bank of America for review and approval of your offer in the meantime? Is there a listing agent who represents the seller that is handling the negotiations of this short sale? It’s not unusual to have the bank counter offer back on price and/or terms, even multiple times. I’m assuming though that, as a buyer, you are not dealing directly with Bank of America yourself but instead through communications received by your agent from the listing agent. With that said, we don’t know what communications are really going on between the listing agent and the bank itself; we can only hope as the buyer that the listing agent is making some effort to negotiate the price for you. As for a contract, your purchase contract is between you and the seller, with a contingency attached to it that the sale must be approved by Bank of America before you can proceed with your escrow. As such, there is no contract between you and Bank of America directly that you should be expecting — the approval letter that you received on Bank of America letterhead that states you as the buyer along with the price and terms of the sale is how that contingency is met. Hopefully your real estate agent can guide you through this process going forward. Thanks and good luck to you.

Bill Schwab March 10, 2012 at 6:30 am

Alicia, we just received our HAFA acceptance letter along with the BOA short sale agreement yesterday for us to sign. In the agreement letter BOA has asked us to list the house on the mls for 18% over the appraised market value. I know the number their appraiser gave to them. We have an offer to submit and it is at the current market value. Should we sign the agreement or ask them to lower the listing price?

Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Hi Bill, you may want to contact BOA first to discuss the situation and find out what your assigned negotiator may be willing to do. Most likely though you’ll have to sign the agreement and then negotiate from there, perhaps even submit the offer and try to make it work from there. Good luck!

Dave March 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I have a unique situation and could use your expertise and suggestions to figure out how to approach BofA. I purchased my condo for 325K. Today, I’d be lucky to get 170K for it. Until recently, I had paid all my bills. I have a first and a second loan. They were both taken out at the same time to purchase the condo. The first is an adjustable rate loan and the second is a HELOC. I never used the HELOC for credit. I am getting married and I have moved in with my fiancee, at her house. I do not have a real financial hardship. I make okay money and I do have an emergency savings. I have no interest or time to be a landlord. I would like to short sale my property but with my income, I fear BofA will reject my attempts. They rejected me for a loan modification and any attempts to turn my 2 loans into 1 and to fix my variable loan. I’ve stopped paying my mortgage last month in an attempt to get some attention and to show BofA I am serious. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Hi Dave, Thanks for sharing your situation. I can’t say whether Bank of America would reject your attempt to do a short sale or not. I suggest that you find a qualified, experienced real estate agent to help you with the potential short sale of your property. I also suggest that you determine what the legal, tax, and credit implications may be to you should you complete a short sale of your property. If you’re willing to accept those risks, then attempting the short sale may be something you want to pursue further. Keep in mind that the folks at the bank who handle loan modifications are not the same folks who handle short sales, so just because you got rejected from doing a loan modification doesn’t mean that you’ll be rejected from doing a short sale. Good luck and I hope things work out for you. Congratulations also on your upcoming marriage!

Ray March 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Hi Alicia,

First i want to say think for all your help regarding BOA short sales. I was wondering if you could help me understand my process with my short sale. I am the buyer of a BOA short sale. The seller has two lienholders. BOA is the primary lien holder and a credit union is the other. We recently received an email from the listing agent stating:
I was contacted by BOA today and they have acknowledged receipt of all documents requested. They informed me that the evaluator will contact me to schedule a review of the property again, after which they will inform me as to when settlement can take place.

Secondly, they have also requested that I make sure that the seller and the second lienholder are of one accord, so as to not disturb the timeline for settlement. I have informed my seller that I needed a written copy of the settlement agreement with the second lienholder so that I can submit a copy to BOA.

I was wondering does this mean that since we have to second lien holders approval letter that BOA will provide theirs soon? Also is it common for BOA to go back out to the property more than once before approving? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Hi Ray, I believe this is pretty much a duplicate of an earlier post you did. Please see my response to your earlier post. Thanks!

David March 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I received an email (forwarded to me from the listing agent) from Equator stating we are “awaiting valuation”. This was on 2/22 and still no reponse and agent has not been contacted to allow access to the house for an appriaser. I am hopeful we hear something in the next couple weeks.

Assuming the appraisal comes back in range, what has been your average timing for the following two steps (“awaiting analysis” and “awaiting decision”). My best guess after reading this blog is that each of those steps could take about 1 month, then another 2 weeks to get the approval letter, so all in all about 2.5 months from the date we receive the next email from Equator stating “awaiting analysis”? Would you concur? Then of course we can open escrow and close 30 days after that – so really I am 3.5 months away, or end of June 2012! Seems like a long way away…

Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Hi David, Thank you for your inquiry. Assuming you’re just dealing with one loan with Bank of America, the timeline you mentioned is not too farfetched, unfortunately. But I have seen it where it only takes a couple of weeks between completing the valuation stage and then having a response from the bank. If I were you, I would expect the longer timeline, but be ready just in case things move more quickly than expected. Best wishes to you!

David Gregory April 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Thanks Alicia. I am dealing wiht two liens – however both are with BofA. Would the inclusion of a second BofA lien slow down the process?

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Hi David, If the 2nd lien is also with Bank of America, it usually won’t slow things down too much since the bank can typically rely on the same BPO, etc.

Artie Dukes March 7, 2012 at 8:53 am

My agent and I are experiencing difficulty getting status. As a buyer I know there is limited if any infomation I can receive…is that correct?

Is there any information status that I am able to receive othewr than through the sellers short sale interface?

Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Hi Artie, Thank you for your inquiry. Because you and your agent are not authorized by the seller to speak to the bank(s) on the seller’s behalf, you won’t be able to get any info from the bank directly about status of a short sale. If you’re not getting much response from the listing agent though, that’s where things can get tough. Has the listing agent always been very difficult to reach, even when you were making an offer? Has your agent tried contacting him/her via phone, text, email, or even trying to track him/her down at other open houses or at his/her office? Perhaps your agent can check to see what the foreclosure status is on this property — that can affect the short sale process a bit, depending on where the seller is in the foreclosure process, if at all. Aside from that, I unfortunately don’t know of other ways to get info about the short sale without tracking down the listing agent more fiercely. Good luck to you on that. Hopefully your agent especially can figure out a way to get to the listing agent soon.

Ray March 7, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi Alicia,

Thank you so much for being so helpful. I was wondering if you could help me understand were i am in my short sale process with BOA. Me being the seller. I received an email from my agent which she received from the listing agent on 2/16/12 stating:
I was contacted by BOA today and they have acknowledged receipt of all documents equested. They informed me that the evaluator will contact me to schedule a review of the property again, after which they will inform me as to when settlement can take place.

Secondly, they have also requested that I make sure that the seller and the second lienholder are of one accord, so as to not disturb the timeline for settlement. I have informed my seller that I needed a ritten copy of the settlement agreement with the second lienholder so that I can submit a copy to BOA. Since then we have received the second lienholder’s approval letter this past Saturday 3/3/12 . I am just wondering is it normal for BOA to have someone come out and check the property for a second time prior to approving the short sale? Also do you know if the approval should come rather quick now, since we have the second lienholder’s approval letter.

Thanks again for your help.


Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Hi Ray, Thank you for your inquiry. Bank of America may require to have another appraisal done, depending on the investor behind that note and/or if the last appraisal was done too long ago. Without knowing much else about the circumstances surrounding your short sale, I can’t determine whether the approval should come quickly now at this point. In my experience though, the 1st lien holder typically won’t bother wanting the approval from the 2nd lien holder unless the 1st is getting close to an approval, but I can’t say whether that would be within 1 day, 2 days, a week, or more. But it sounds like you’re closer to the tail end of the process vs. the beginning, so hopefully that’s encouraging for you. Good luck and I hope it all works out quickly for you!

Sherry March 6, 2012 at 5:58 am

Hi Alicia,

I have been following this blog for quite some time now. Here is my dilemma. I am a buyer of a short sale property in south fl. I found the property in late October and entire short sale package was submitted to BOA on 11/3/11. They had 2 loans out and they were both with boa. In December we were in the negotiating phase when all of a sudden we stopped hearing from them and everyone was like the file is with the investor for the entire month of December. Then, first week of January, it was discovered that the loan was sold to Nationstar due to investor reasons. Well, nationstar got the ball on the roll and ordered bpo and all and accepted my initial offer on 2/20/12. This is now 4 months since I have been waiting, now only to find out that the 2nd loan is still with boa and now we have to send them the paperwork from Nationstar for them to accept the payoff that nationstar allotted to them. The lawyer that has been working the file for the seller told me that it would only take a couple of days because the 2nd sometimes gets nothing so they will gladly accept they payoff and send us 2nd approval letter. Today marks 2 weeks since payoff has been sent to boa and nobody has any response or any information to give me as to what id going on with the file. Ending of this month makes 5 months waiting on this shortsale and I have to move by the end of the month and I dont want to go waste more money renting.

Is there anything I can do to expedite what is going on? What questions should I ask the lawyer to see what is the deal?
How long does 2nd loan holders normally take to respond to payoff sent from other bank? What should I do? plz help me.

Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Hi Sherry, Thank you for sharing your situation. Unfortunately I can’t give you much of a timeline in terms of when you will be receiving a response on the 2nd. While what the lawyer told you about the 2-day turnaround does make sense, it depends on who is currently assigned to your file at Bank of America that can actually make things happen for you. While the 1st loan was sold off to Nationstar, the 2nd still needed to be “worked” with Bank of America. Hopefully that was still happening while Nationstar was getting everything together. As for doing something that could expedite the process, it sounds like the person who can get you the answers is the lawyer right now (or do you have your own agent who can help follow up?). You can ask him/her specifically whether Bank of America has all documentation needed in order to approve the file at this point. You can perhaps ask also if the lawyer has had any communications with the bank recently, and if so, who did he/she communicate with at the bank, when did these communications occur, how often he/she is contacting the bank for answers, and what his/her plan is for getting a response as soon as possible. I wish I had more hopeful news to share, but with short sales (whether it’s Bank of America or another bank), there are so many moving parts involved that it’s sometimes very hard to figure out where the hold-up may be. Sometimes it’s the bank, sometimes it’s other factors. Good luck and I hope you get that approval soon!

Brittany March 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm

We submitted our offer to buy a short sale about a month ago. The seller’s broker has told us that everything is “moving forward”. A few days ago, she said the bank needed our SS numbers, birth dates, and who we are going to be financing through. Is this really “the bank” asking, or is this just part of the short sale package? The list price on the house was 240,000, we are offered 230,000 and the seller accepted. The thing I’m worried about is the appraisal. This house is in a neighborhood where houses are “worth” anywhere from 350,000-600,000. What are the chances of us getting it at a discount? There is nothing wrong with the house that I’m aware of, but my realtor says the reason it hasn’t sold over the last year is because not many people can afford to buy in that price range right now. The tricky part of all of this is, we have put our house up for sale, in hopes that we can pay more for this one if we need to (we are in love!) This is risky because if ours sells before we get approval (or disapproval) we then lose our home, which we love, and have to start looking for another house in our price range, which is pretty slim pickins, especially considering that we have remodeled the whole inside of our house. What to do?? We have 2 small kids, and I don’t want to lose our house now unless we get the new one. help!

Alicia Mendoza March 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Hi Brittany, Thanks for your inquiry. For Bank of America, both the seller’s documentation and your offer are uploaded to Equator, an online platform that allows for a more automated communication process to occur between the bank and the listing agent (or designated party that will be negotiating with the bank on the seller’s behalf). Part of the inputs for getting all the documents ready for review includes a short profile of the buyer. That includes the last 5 digits of your SSN (not your entire SSN), birth dates, and your lender info. Regarding your chances for getting the house at the price you offered at, it all depends on numerous factors that I can’t speak to since I’m not a market expert in your particular area. But if you know that homes are not selling for less than $350,000 in that area, unless the house you want has something about it that would really make it worth the price you offered at, I would not be surprised if the bank countered back at a higher amount. Even if the bank countered back at a higher price, hopefully the listing agent (with the assistance of your agent) can come together to negotiate and justify the lower purchase price. As far as timing your purchase with the sale of your home, that’s always a very tricky situation, regardless of whether there’s a short sale involved or not. The agent representing you for your current home hopefully understands the sensitive timing and can market your home appropriately so that you find the right buyer who is willing to wait for your current home while you wait for the short sale property. The best thing to do is to make sure your desired timing is known to your real estate agent and that the sale of your current home is contingent upon the successful purchase of your next home. It may not attract as many buyers to your home if you have such a contingency though, so make sure you do discuss your strategy with your agent. Good luck!

Stefanie March 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Last week my realtor informed me that BOA approved our short-sale agreement after two quick rounds of negotiations. The buyer and I (I am the seller) signed an “addendum” that stated the closing date, purchase price, and seller concession (being paid by BOA). This week I found out the BOA investor declined the deal because I am current with the mortgage. According to my realtor, the investor said if they are taking a hit on the property so should my credit to which I replied it would with the short-sale itself. From what my realtor tells me, it sounds like the negotiator spoke prematurely without getting the investor’s approval. I feel we have a contract. I’ve asked my realtor to review the Equator system to see what she can find in terms of written documentation. Have you ever had this situation before? I feel that BOA should honor their approval and that I shouldn’t be penalized because of something the negotiator did incorrectly. Now we’re going to lose our buyer and the negotiator won’t return my realtor’s calls or emails. Any advice is appreciated!

Alicia Mendoza March 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hi Stefanie,
Thank you for reaching out to me regarding your situation. No, I have not personally ran into this situation, though all of my past clients who have done short sales with BOA had missed payments by the time the short sale was approved. Was the addendum provided by BOA on BOA letterhead, or was it provided by your agent for everyone to sign in anticipation of getting the official approval letter from BOA? If it was truly provided by BOA, and it indicated that there was indeed an approval of the short sale with a set closing date and all the pertinent info about releasing your lien(s) and where to wire funds upon closing, plus all parties signed it, then my opinion is that you probably do have a valid contract in place to proceed with the short sale. If it wasn’t the formal written approval letter, then BOA (or in this case, the investor) can still deny the short sale. Either way, your agent will need to maintain communication with this negotiator if you still want to proceed with this short sale, so he/she will need to escalate the file within BOA and/or push even harder to get this negotiator to respond so that you can work this out. You may want to consider getting an attorney involved if you feel that a valid contract was in place with BOA (not just between you and the buyer) but now they are in violation of it. I hope you can get to the bottom of this quickly. Best of luck to you and thank you again for sharing.

Stefanie March 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Hi Alicia,
As a follow-up to your reply, the Addendum was not on BOA letterhead. As you stated, it was an agreement the realtor had us sign in anticipation of the formal BOA approval.

I truly appreciate your thoughtful advice and will follow-up with my realtor.

Best regards.

Joan B. March 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

We are the buyer’s on a SS waiting 2 months. The seller accepted and he has an attorney representing him. Last we heard was that the file is in the closing dept at bofa and the acceptance letter is forthcoming. Can we get a verbal on what is in the acceptance letter? Just wondering if there is a counter or they accepted what we offer, we have an agent. Thanks, Joan

Alicia Mendoza March 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Hi Joan, Thank you for your inquiry. If the seller’s attorney was told by BOA that an acceptance letter is forthcoming, then there likely was some communications going back and forth between the attorney and BOA to get to that point where price and terms were finally agreed upon. It could just be that a response is on its way instead, which is definitely different from a formal approval letter. I would rely on your agent to find out from the seller’s attorney on where you are exactly in this process. Typically in the short sales that I work with involving BOA, we know what the agreed-upon price and terms are before an approval letter is provided, so if you’re at that point, you should be able to find out from the attorney via your own agent. Good luck! 2 months is not bad for waiting these days, as you can see from all the other stories that have been shared within this blog thread.

Asia March 1, 2012 at 8:27 am


I kinda stumbled on ur website just searching around for some answers on Google. My situation seems a bit nuts to me but perhaps this is really normal. My husband and I submitted a contract on a short sale in MD June 24, 2011. After months of waiting the listing agent said that the bank wanted to close December 5th. December 5th came and went and no communication happened…December 21st Bank of America communicated that they wanted to give us 3% in closing and not 6%. We thought it was nuts so we countered with what we thought a happy median……….we have not heard ANYTHING since about whether or not that was doable. So January 27th rolls around and the listing agent sends an email saying that our case was out of finacial analysis and into the approval stage which should take 10-15 days. Today is March 1st we haven’t heard a thing. My agent has suggested that the listing agent use the Twitter BOA help and the help line and the listing agent is refusing to do so. So my question(s) are: 1) Is there nothing that can be done with this bogus listing agent so far she’s had a nice track record of misinformation and non communication 2) If we pull out now, get a new agent, can we keep our current contract on the house and 3) Is there anywhere else within BOA that we (as the buyer) can enlist help?

BTW we have decided to re-start looking at other homes on the market, as we are entering month 9 of this poppycock, we are no longer hopeful that we will get our dream house. BOA is super lame.


Alicia Mendoza March 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Hi Asia, Thank you for sharing your situation with us. I’m sorry that you’ve been led on for so long on this short sale with so much conflicting information! I would talk to your own agent first about how to handle what to do about this listing agent. There are so many people involved in a short sale that information can be mixed up or misinterpreted. Is the listing agent the actual person who is handling all the short sale negotiations and communciations with BOA? Or is he/she working with another person behind the scenes who is communicating directly with BOA that you may not know about? Is all the information that you’re getting coming directly to you from the listing agent via emails or phone calls, or is it being funneled through other people before that info gets to you (even forwarded emails can be altered by the sender)? Is BOA the only lender involved with this short sale? Even if you can build up a case and collect convincing documentation against this listing agent that he/she is “doing you wrong”, this listing agent was hired by the seller to handle this short sale. If you want this house, unless the seller fires this listing agent, you’d still have to deal with him/her even if you get a new agent to represent you. And if you change agents right now, it may affect the current contract you have with BOA right now because part of the short sale process with BOA has your agent signing an arms length affidavit, plus your purchase contract was written with your current agent signing off that he/she represents you. Because you are the buyer and not authorized on this seller’s loan account to speak to BOA directly about this particular file, I don’t know of any way that you as the buyer can be heard by BOA for this specific file. Hopefully you’ll be able to get some clarity on this short sale soon. Best wishes to you.

Asia March 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’m really not sure if the listing agent is the one and only person dealing directly with BOA. And BOA is the only lender….I plan to contact my agent and request a roundtable meeting with her and the listing agent (if the listing agent is willing) to get some resolve. Hubby and I have set a date to walk and it might be pushed up if I feel their response is unsatisfactory. This makes me want to close my personal BOA bank accounts. Thanks for your reply.

Asia March 16, 2012 at 7:27 am

So after I sent a very lengthy letter to my agent demanding a meeting and details, 4 interesting things happened:

1) my agent had a round table without my husband and I present;

2) the listing agent and her boss said nobody uses the Twitter help because they thought it was adding a new negotiator (and apparently they are not tech savvy)

3) we’ve had communication from the listing agent 2 days in a row!! and;

4) the listing agent said our case had a 2nd appraisal done yesterday and we were in offer analysis . how strange because in January we had gotten out of offer analysis and into approval.

My new questions are does BOA work in reverse? And why would a new appraisal be necessary?? How would we end up back in offer analysis when we were specifically told we were in approval???

Alicia Mendoza March 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hi Asia, I’m glad you at least got some answers after demanding better communication. Good for you! As for BOA working in reverse, it could be that a new BPO/appraisal is necessary because the old one expired…obviously because getting to this point took too long to begin with. That would be a good question for the listing agent to bring up to the negotiator. As for the Twitter help, I’ve always found that very helpful for me. I’m sorry they didn’t agree. I hope things move a lot faster though now that there’s more communication going on. Keep pressing on it.

Jason February 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hi Alicia,
Our house is going to be listed as short sale soon and we need to save for rental fees. Do you recommend to your clients that they stop the mortgage (BofA, citi) payment? We are afraid it might take long and then will have to deal with foreclosure. I would love to save the money. We are very tight on money as it is. Thanks

Alicia Mendoza March 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Hi Jason, I am not in a position to tell anyone whether or not to continue making their mortgage payments. But do know that if you decide to and/or must do so, it may adversely affect your credit and can lead you down the path of foreclosure. Some investors also have a requirement that you be delinquent on your payments in order to be considered for a short sale; others don’t have that requirement. Moving forward with a short sale is a big decision with some pretty big consequences (credit, financial, and legal especially), so make sure you’ve discussed this at length with your real estate agent before you get much further into this. I hope everything works out for you.

Dale February 25, 2012 at 3:09 am

Dear Alicia,
Update on our BA short sale purchase: we closed February 14. What a Valentine’s Day gift! I can’t reiterate how much I abhor BA. Had they not screwed around, we would have been in the house three weeks earlier and been able to unpack before our daughter, son-in-law and new granddaughter arrived on moving day (visit planned months ago). Our son came two days later. We’ll be using our BA credit card points to fly to California for our son’s graduation, then closing all accounts. I urge everyone to end all busines with BA. Someone has to stand up to these bullies.

Bill Schwab February 24, 2012 at 6:37 am

Have you had any experience with BofA 3rd party vendors they are now using?We have just started the process and have been contacted by Dignified Transitiion Solutions who has basically taken over the process on behalf of BofA. Our agent here in Illinois has never heard of these people nor is there much info on the web concerning them. I see that the company was started by four mitigators who used to work for BofA. They contacted us as soon as our file was opened on equator. Love your blog, it is very informative.

Alicia Mendoza March 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hi Bill, DTS is a loss mitigation company that is affiliated with BOA. DTS has several real estate agents that are “registered” with them. I believe DTS is given access as an affiliate of BOA’s to loan data for borrowers, and so DTS uses that data to have their registered agents reach out to certain homeowners to offer assistance with loan mods, short sales, etc. They are not a 3rd party SERVICER (such as AMS Servicing and UTLS) that assists BOA with negotiating short sales. You do NOT need to work with them in order to execute a short sale or loan mod. I personally don’t know anyone who has decided to work with any of their registered agents, so I can’t give you much more info than what I’ve heard around town as well. I’m glad you’ve found my blog helpful — this particular blog post has really taken a life of its own with all the people who have commented and shared their stories. Thanks for your inquiry and best wishes to you on working things out with BOA.

Ann February 23, 2012 at 8:53 am

Dear Alicia,

I recently came across your blog while researching the short sale process. I am currently a buyer awaiting for short sale approval on a home that has two lenders, the first being BAC and the second E-trade. I heard E-trade was awful, if you have any experiences with them, please share! Since my offer was accepted, I have been on pins and needles. I’ve dug deep into the realm of research regarding short sales, and as you may know, the internet can be a source of information as well as a source of worry and concern. You are truly spot on when you say that short sale success stories are rarely posted compared to the nightmares. However, I find amazing comfort from your Q&A’s ; your responses are often thorough, thoughtful, and insightful. For that, I thank you and I’m sure there are other lurkers out there that can appreciate your input from an agent’s perspective as well as the questions posted which may mirror another reader’s situation.

In my case, the sellers package along with my offer is being reviewed by BAC. An initial response has been received from them just a day ago after 7 business days, they have changed some terms of escrow and will be escalating the file to upper managment. The initial review has not resulted in a counter, but who know what managment will come back with. I’m so skeptical after reading horror stories of the plug being pulled at the llth hour, not to mention the second lender being able to make or break the deal. In any case, the package was also just submitted to the 2nd lender a day ago because they required wet signatures from the seller and that took some time to do. I believe the sellers agent is an experienced short sale agent and she does do a great job of updating my agent on a weekly basis and when new progress has been made.

At this point, there really isn’t much I can do, I understand that. I can’t control a darn thing, and that’s frustrating. I know that it’s a process, it’s a waiting game, there is a deal to be made with the sellers and investors. But it doesn’t change how stressed I am, how worried and anxious I am. I am secretly in love with this house but wont openly admit it (well, now I did) so that I won’t be hurt when the banks ultimately make their decisions. I am cautious but hate the fact that banks don’t realize that people have put their lives on hold while they ponder. And I know I’m not alone which frustrates me about this short sale process in general.

The real estate landscape has truly changed. In San Diego where I live, about 8 out of 10 homes are short sales in the area where I am looking. I think that the industry needs to change if this is a staying trend. I tell myself that if I don’t wait for this house, I’d be waiting and going through the same thing with another one so I might as well be dragged through the mud. Something you said in an answer previously will always put things in perspective; if this house doesn’t work out, you might find a better one next time around. And perhaps even fate set it up this way! But perspective is a tough thing when your put through the grind of all the nitty gritty this process has to offer.

Sorry for the long rant Alicia. I’m just trying to find a forum in where short sale experiences are being shared so that I can finally let out some of the emotions this process has created for me. I have aways to go in my own process and I will continue to follow you.

Thank you so much for your feedback to everyone. You are a great resource! Please keep your fingers crossed for me.



Alicia Mendoza March 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hi Ann, First of all, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, situation, and input regarding your short sale journey. And that’s indeed what it is — a journey. I also appreciate the positive feedback regarding my blog and responses. I am absolutely floored by how much response and exposure this blog post has gotten, and I hope it continues to help people over time. Please do keep in mind that the short sale process continues to change just like everything else, so some of the comments and responses from earlier in this comments section may no longer be applicable or as prevalent as more time passes by.

I’m glad that it seems that the listing agent for the property that you’re wanting is keeping you all informed at regular intervals. Trust me — the stress and anxiety that you’re feeling now can be a lot worse if you didn’t have that info flowing in regularly. It indeed is easier said than done to try to be “flexible” and “patient” throughout this process when you’re the buyer. But it sounds like things are moving forward with your short sale up to this point, so that’s promising. I’m sure you’ve heard this a lot from other people already, but just continue to hang in there, stay in good communication with your real estate agent, and do your best to release as much worry and anxiety as you can regarding this process. I’ve had clients who have patiently waited on short sale after short sale (it wasn’t easy on them either), but they finally found a short sale property that worked out for them and turned out to be a home that they absolutely love and with no regrets. Thanks again for sharing and best wishes to you, Ann!

bren February 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Our offer had a contingency for the seller to obtain approval from boa and pence banks within 30 days. That time is just about up. We are being told its close and waiting for third party approval thrum hafa. We said no extensions. We do not want to put our life on hold any longer. Can the bank approach us later when they finally get approvals? And if they do our offer will be lower. Will they stop paperwork if we get released. Sorry for the typos. Autocorrrect on a tablet! The 2nd bank is pNC

Alicia Mendoza February 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hi Bren, if you decide to back out of the short sale at this point, the listing agent and seller may likely put through another offer. Each approval by the bank(s) will be specific to a given buyer, so if you’re not the buyer involved anymore, then any approval that eventually comes through will not pertain to you. As for not wanting to put your life on hold while waiting to get short sale approval, you may be better off making offers on standard sales, REO’s, or pre-approved short sales (and even the latter may not always pan out within a 30-day timeframe). Best of luck to you!

Ervin February 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

So BOA had an REO available. Within a day we saw the house and fell in love with it, we made an offer and in a couple days we were given a counter offer. We accepted the counter offer and was told we will hear back in a few days.

A few days later my agent calls me and says he received an email from the listing agent saying the bank accepted another offer.

Is this legal?

also, there was never a request for a best and highest when they gave us a counter offer etc etc.

Please respond, I’m pretty disappointed right now because we loved the house.

Alicia Mendoza February 8, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Hi Ervin, Thanks for sharing your situation. It sounds to me that you may have been in a multiple counter offer situation but might not have known it. In situations like that, the seller (i.e. the REO bank in this case) usually will have the “final say” when it comes to selecting the buyer, even if you accepted a counter offer from them already. Asking for “best and highest” via a counter offer is not always going to be the case, regardless of whether you’re dealing with an REO property or not. While you may have gotten a specific counter offer from the bank, one or more other buyers may have gotten counter offers from the bank as well, and I do not believe that such terms have to be the same across all buyers being countered. As for legality, that will depend on how everything was communicated in writing, but ultimately if you do not have a fully executed contract in hand that specifies that you had a binding contract in place, only to be rejected later after that, then the bank probably did not violate any written contract with you. (Please note that I am not an attorney, so any info I’m providing here regarding legal items is based just on my personal opinion and experience with real estate transactions.) I just went through a similar experience with one of my buyer clients who loved an REO property last month. We ended up being the selected buyer, but after doing the home inspection, there were a lot of “hidden issues” with the property that caused my buyers to back out. It just goes to show that things are not always what they seem sometimes. Best wishes to you in finding the right house for you — it will all come together for you eventually.

sultana February 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Hi, I have a really bad issue here, we got our short sale approved with Bank of America and everything is done. We did our first appraisal and things needed repair and the seller fixed them for us. so then we order for another appraisal after the seller fix everything. My lender is Talmar Bank and she said she gave file to underwriting and she said it would take 3-5 days for underwriting. Our closing date is Feb 9th 2012. She is saying now that she gave the file for underwriting again after the second appraisal and it is taking time. Our closing date is coming in 4 days and our lender is saying she don’t have a clear to close date yet. This is something really to worry about because the closing date is coming and i hard its a hassle to get an extension. Please help me. Is out lender keeping us waiting and not caring? Please help if you know the answer, should it take that long for my lender to get things done? everything is done except her with all this underwriting stuff.

Alicia Mendoza February 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Hi Sultana, Thanks for your inquiry. It’s not uncommon to be granted an extension by the short sale lender (i.e. Bank of America in this case) if there is a valid reason for the delay. In this case, you had to do a second appraisal in order to get your loan to go through, so I would consider that a valid reason. Extensions though are typically only granted within a day or two of the current short sale approval expiration date. If I were you, I would ask your lender to project out how long it would take for them to complete their review, get loan docs out to you, and then to eventually fund your loan. Then add a few extra days on top of that. When it comes time to get an extension from Bank of America, they may ask how much longer it will take, so you’ll need that projection from your lender to determine the potential new extension date. Your real estate agent should be able to assist you with making this determination and communicating with the listing agent. Unfortunately it’s also not uncommon for lenders to take it down to the wire for you, no matter how long your escrow is. I usually tell my buyers to expect a lot of “loan stress” during the last week or two of escrow. Good luck!

Dale February 3, 2012 at 3:12 am

We submitted a contract to BA for a short sale in July. We were set to close on Jan. 27. On the 25th, we received word that the appraisal had expired. The closing did not. Take place. Everyone believes the woman in charge of the account fell down on the job. No one can get in touch with her. Anyone have any suggestions? BTW, this is a cash sale.

Alicia Mendoza February 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi Dale, Thank you for sharing your situation. The best I can suggest is to have the listing agent escalate this to someone else at Bank of America within the short sale department if your negotiator or closing agent at the bank is not responding. It sounds like all you need is a new approval from the bank — being this far into the process, hopefully it won’t be too cumbersome for the bank to do that. Good luck — you seem very close!

Barbara Newton February 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

As the listing agent in a nightmare short sale with BoA, I went thru 9 (yes, NINE) negotiators before I finally got it approved & closed. In that process I learned that some negotiators working for BoA ( as well as other lenders) will set aside a file to if any little thing isn’t in place & proceed to work on the easiest files they can get to closing, in order to meet their completion quotas… & leave the others dangling. Others negotiators get so overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of files they have to deal with, and they simply quit their jobs; other negotiators get re-assigned to other depts. — and when/if any of those things happen – your file can go into the “no man’s land” of being re-assigned to another negotiator. And to give the Devil his due, I also learned that some negotiators are great at their jobs, are efficient, care about and have the wherewithal to resolve problems, and are aware that their actions impact many people – that was my 9th negotiator to whom I will forever be grateful. But regardless of the negotiator assigned to a file, the Listing Agent (the Seller’s authorized representative in negotiations with BoA) must be diligent in efforts to ask for progress reports, make notes of when things like appraisals/BPOs are scheduled to be done (and calculate approx. when they will expire), and deal with the many facets of the short sale process by sending messages thru Equator, and making phone calls to the BoA short sale dept.. This should be done at least weekly, better yet, twice weekly; sometimes daily, and in a difficult situation it could require multiple times per day. Documentation and “escalation” are our best tools. The Listing Agent should call the BoA short sale dept. to lodge a complaint about not being able to get in touch with the negotiator, and ask that it be noted in the BoA file system, then “escalate” the file by asking for the name of, and to speak with, the supervisor of the unresponsive negotiator. The Agent may or may not get thru to the supervisor, and if that is the case, the Agent should ask the short sale dept to make note in the system that the attempt to speak with a supervisor was unsuccessful, ask the short sale dept to email the supervisor about the situation and to note that in the system as well. Then a message should be sent thru Equator about the lack of communication, and sent not only to the negotiator, but to the Team Leader and various other people. There is a pull down menu showing a list of people/positions (IE: Team Leader) to which a duplicate of the same message can be sent thru Equator (and VPs are listed there too), the second tier of escalation. BoA loan officers are still trying to originate new purchase loans, and helping out a real estate agent is very good PR, so a local loan officer may also be able to help escalate the file even further by sending a message to the corporate office on the Agent’s behalf. (Need to get that corporate person’s name and email address ). In any way possible, the name of a person at the corporate office that has the authority to make something happen has to be obtained for the final step in escalation. The bottom line is this – - – the Listing Agent has to press the file forward, using Equator messages and phone calls, in order to keep things moving – and if that doesn’t happen, the file will be lost in the shuffle quite often, and many delays will be encountered. All of this is VERY time consuming and frustrating, and has to be done by the Agent while still trying to keep their business running and serve other clients. So, the Selling Agent sometimes has to take on the role of nudging the Listing Agent to take action. Being a good real estate Agent in this day and time is a very difficult job, which requires knowledge, experience, and the willingness to still work hard while knowing we will only get paid IF the sale closes. Otherwise, all our work brings us nothing. So, I hope Buyers and Seller realize it has become more important than ever to chose well when deciding who will help them with their real estate needs.

Alicia Mendoza February 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

Hi Barbara, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience with us all! Keep up the great work and diligent service to your clients and community. =)

Ray January 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Hello Alicia,
I have been reading your comments and I am quite impressed with your answers and the service you provide. I lost my job a few months back and have to do a short sale on our home. I have already called B of A and informed them of my decision to go ahead with a short sale. I have also contacted and spoken with a realtor who has a lot of experience with short sales and with B of A. Question #1: B of A said I qualify for HAFA, do I have to choose HAFA or can I go with a traditional short sale? What are the advantages to either? (I realize I could receive up to $3,000 relocation fee, but that is not a deal breaker). Question #2 should I wait to have the house put on the market until after B of A approves the asking price? After reading your blog the answer seems to be yes to this second answer. I live in the Sacramento area. Thank you in advance.

Alicia Mendoza February 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

Hi Ray, Thank you for the kind words. Thank you also for reaching out to me regarding your situation. Re: Q1: You do not have to choose to do a HAFA short sale. The main advantages for HAFA (in my opinion) would be the relocation assistance money plus releasing you from any future liability to repay the forgiven debt amounts for the mortgage liens on your property. A traditional short sale won’t allow for the relocation assistance amount, and there isn’t a “guarantee” like with HAFA that they would waive that future liability to repay the forgive debt amounts (though Federal and CA laws may protect you from that already depending on your circumstances). The timeframes can be relatively the same now with HAFA and a traditional short sale, though if you go with getting a pre-approved list price first under HAFA, sometimes that pre-approved amount can be too high and cause further delays in the process (hasn’t been that way in my experience, but I have heard that to be the case from others I work with). Also, a HAFA short sale would not work if you have any junior lienholders that don’t participate in the HAFA program. Even if they do, HAFA only allows up to $6000 to pay off the debt on your junior liens; if those junior lienholders don’t accept that amount, then that would stall your HAFA short sale. But at that point you could then switch to a traditional short sale, but only after spending a lot of time waiting around on that HAFA short sale process. Re: Q2: I would talk over your situation in more depth with your real estate agent and determine how best to proceed. Deciding to market now vs. later will depend on whether you go with HAFA or not. If you do decide to go the HAFA route, then you’ll have to determine the likely scenarios to occur within the guidelines of this program if you were to market your property now vs. later. While I’ve had success with the HAFA program for my clients by getting the pre-approved list price first before marketing the property, that was based on more specific matters concerning my clients that were unique to them. Your needs may be much different, and your loan situation may be much different, so please do discuss that with your agent. Make sure also that you are aware of the tax, credit, and legal consequences of doing a short sale as well before you proceed. Good luck! You’re doing the right thing by gathering all this info and preparing yourself.

Anna January 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I got in an SS property and both 1st and 2nd loan are BOFA. After offer and counter offer, BOFA have given me a written approved letter in December 2011. My unfortunate is the agent represents both buyer and seller.
I have opened escrow with 10K deposit. The seller keeps want to delay the close date, I feel that the agent is on the seller side because they are from the same country. The agent keeps asking BOFA to extend the foreclosure date. Now he told me the seller is out of the country and won’t come back until April 2012.
PLEASE HELPS I really want the house what should I do? I am worry if seller keeps extending the close and move out date. Will BOFA come back later and take away the approved short sell? What if the housing market improves, can BOFA stop selling the property to me? How long and what kind of patience BOFA has until BOFA decide to make this property to foreclosure? WHAT SHOULD I DO TO BE ABLE TO GET THIS HOUSE WHEN SELLER ISN’T coporated?

Alicia Mendoza January 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Hi Anna, Thank you for your inquiry. There is a fine line to walk when the real estate agent represents both the seller and buyer, regardless of whether it’s a short sale or not. He has a fiduciary responsibility to both of you and has a vested interested in closing this transaction for both of you as well. With that said, even though the seller may be delaying the process, it’s important that you communicate your concerns with your agent as well and get some answers from him. As for Bank of America taking away the approval, that is a possibility; it will depend on the nature of the delay and what the bank/investor can tolerate. I don’t think the market will improve so drastically in the next few months to make much of a difference regarding price and terms for you, so I wouldn’t get too worked up over that right now. In terms of Bank of America’s “patience”, foreclosing on this property will be greatly affected by how involved your agent is with trying to keep this short sale going. You can’t force the seller to do anything, so that’s not really an option for you. I just suggest that you talk directly with your agent and be very specific about your concerns, then get some concise answers from him about what the seller’s intentions are so that you can set your expectations appropriately. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.

Anna February 15, 2012 at 9:15 am

Hi Alicia,

Thank you so much for your response. I have another questions regarding my escrow deposit on this SS.
Let say I will wait patiently for the seller to release the house I willl get the house as expected. What if the bank decide to foreclose the property, what will happen to my deposit? At this stage, the escrow company have done some preliminary work such as issued the escrow number and ordered preliminary title on the property. Will the escrow company charge me for the work they have perform? If so would you provide me an rough estimated?

Thank you so much!

Alicia Mendoza February 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hi Anna, if the property eventually is taken back by the bank through foreclosure while you’re in escrow, the transaction that you originally set forth with will no longer be applicable since the seller will then become the bank, not the previous owner that you had a contract with before. As to whether you will get your full deposit back, that will depend on the escrow agreement that you’ve signed as part of this transaction. But hopefully the foreclosure won’t take place — typically when a short sale is in motion for a particular property, foreclosure can be postponed until such time that the short sale is completed. Good luck!

Meg Harris January 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

Can you shed some light on my shortsale situation? I made an offer on a house Nov 8th. Found out the next day that it was a shortsale. Supposedly not even the listing agent knew. The mortgage holder was Chase. They assigned a negotiator and ordered a BPO the very next day. We had a counter from them by Nov 28th. Everything going well! We paid for the home inspection and appraisal. We had to be out of our house that we sold by Drc 29th so the seller agent arranged for an Interim Occupancy agreement where we moved into the house we are buying rent free until close. The say before we moved it, it was discovered that there is a small 2nd mortgage owned by BofA. I still don’t understand how no one invved knew this!! So Chase has offered 2K to BofA . Mean tine, our loan has already made it through underwriting and is at USDA for final approval. However we have already had to extend our rate lock twice b/c of this 2nd mortgage and our fees are thus getting high! The lender suggests we scrap that loan and start over to avoid the fees. Do you think we should? BofA did their BPO on Jan 17th. How long might it take to get an approval at this point? I am so scared things will fall through and we are already living in this house and loving it. We have 3 small kids and moving again would be a nightmare. Any advise?? Thanks

Alicia Mendoza January 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

Hi Meg, Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry you had to deal with all these “surprises” with this purchase. Are you working directly with the listing agent, or do you have your own agent who can help you do some more due diligence? Perhaps ask for a preliminary title report which will show if there are any other liens on the property besides the two mortgage liens that you already know about. As far as your loan goes, that is something that you’ll need to figure out with your lender, since the fees and loan program are specific to you. With both Chase and BofA involved, I don’t think things will fall through as long as the listing agent is working with both lenders properly and knows how to handle this type of situation. If the listing agent is on top of things, it may be another 2-3 weeks. If the listing agent is not on top of things, then it could be longer. You’re somewhat at the mercy of these two banks as well as the listing agent when it comes to this particular short sale. Good luck – I hope it all works out for you.

Meg Harris January 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for your prompt reply! I do have a buyers agent and I “think” the listing agent is staying on BofA to try to get it done quickly. Our lender is saying we will save thousands in fees if start back over with a new loan and that it will only delay us 2-3 weeks (which we are probably waiting at least that long for BofA) and since interest rates have gone down since Nov we will actually get a better rates. I guess we will do that since my lender and agent both say it is a good idea. Thanks again! So you estimate we will hear from BofA in just a few weeks since the BPO was done Jan 17th?

Alicia Mendoza January 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Hi Meg, Yes, I think it should only be a few weeks before you get a response from BofA. Hopefully less, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this takes you well into February before a full approval is issued by both Chase and BofA. Sounds like you already have made your decision on your loan situation – good for you! Please keep us posted. Thanks!

Meg Harris January 27, 2012 at 6:43 am

Thanks! Update from agent yesterday that we don’t have approval yet but things “moving in the direction”. BofA had both parties sign an “arms length agreement” yesterday. Chase had given us until Feb 15 to close.

vick January 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Bank of america is a joke, i have a offer on a house, that is on short sale and it has been 7 months now and nothing yet.. its pretty sad my life is on hold because of this. anything i can do ?

Alicia Mendoza January 17, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hi Vick, Thanks for sharing your comment and inquiry. I agree that Bank of America is not the fastest bank on the block when it comes to short sales. I’m sorry you have to put your life on hold right now as a result of waiting for this home. You may want to discuss this with your real estate agent and determine what the delay may be — sometimes the delay may not necessarily be the bank but instead other parties involved. There are a lot of moving parts and activity that you may not see as the buyer, so that’s something to consider too. I hope everything speeds up for you and works out.

bren January 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

What happens id the bpo is lower than the offer

Alicia Mendoza January 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

Hi Bren, Thanks for your inquiry. If the BPO comes in lower than your offer price (and somehow you find out what that BPO value is, which usually is not provided to you), you may still have an opportunity to revise your offer. However, that is something that you will have to initiate — the bank is not going to come back to you and say that you offered too much. If you somehow find out what that BPO value ends up being, talk to your real estate agent and see how you can perhaps further negotiate the price sooner rather than later. Good luck!

SR January 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

Hi Alicia,

So nice to read your blog. We are looking to buy a property which is a short sale held by Bank of America and the second lien is TD Bank. We received the approval letter from BofA after 4 months wait but TD Bank has not given us a written approval letter, though they were verbally approved to the seller’s attorney.
BoFA has given us a closing date of 2/16/12. As we haven’t received the TD Bank Approval letter, we aren’t able to start the home inspection and mortgage process yet. This is really worrying us, as we don’t know whether we would be able to close on time.
Please advice.

Alicia Mendoza January 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

Hi SR, Thank you for your inquiry. At this point, the fate of your short sale seems to currently rest with the listing agent/seller’s attorney in order to get TD Bank to approve the short sale. BofA hopefully will be able to extend the closing date upon issuing a new approval letter once TD Bank gets on board with everything. While this is something that may cause worry for you, I’m glad you didn’t already spend money on a home inspection, appraisal, etc. because, as I’m sure you’ve read throughout this blog, that would only add to your frustrations. Good luck, stay in close contact with your agent on this, and hopefully TD Bank will cooperate soon!

SR January 13, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thanks Alicia. Have you come across from your experience whether BoFA would be able to extend the closing date if the 2nd lien is delaying the approval?

Please let me know.

Alicia Mendoza January 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Hi SR, Yes, i have had it where we were able to get Bank of America to extend their closing date due to delays with the 2nd. I have never had an issue with BofA cooperating with closing date extensions, as long as there is a valid reason provided for it. Good luck!

Jeff January 11, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Hi Alicia,

I submitted an offer to the seller of a SS property which was ultimately accepted by the seller AND accepted by both Bank of America as well as by the second mortgage company Fifth Third Bank. We received verbal approval last week Tuesday (1/3/12) from BoA. Also, the payoff amount was verbalized by BoA to the listing agent and seller’s attorney so a preliminary HUD was created by seller’s attorney. Plus, we received an actual approval letter from Fifth Third yesterday (1/10/12)! The listing agent and attorneys have been working diligently with the negotiator at BoA trying to get an approval letter from them to allow us to set up closing date and for my lender to complete loan etc..I’ve been approved by my bank already for this property and have had the appraisal done already as well (which appraised well). The negotiator has been telling the listing agent that he is expecting the approval letter any day. I saw in an earlier comment in your blog that you have not heard or seen a bank back out once they’ve verbally agreed. (I have actually seen an email that was forwarded to me that showed the negotiator informing the listing agent that the executive committee review was completed and it was approved at the price offered by me). It’s been 8 days since that time. I have a moving van coming to my house tomorrow and have arranged for temporary living for my family and I. My wife is especially concerned that somehow this will fall through and we will be without a home and having to scramble quickly find another (we have looked around but we have been emotionally vested in this house for some time and nothing seems to compare). I am of the opinion that it’s no longer a matter of “if” we will get the house, but rather it’s really a matter of “when”. I just want to do a “gut check” to see if I’m thinking correctly that we should be closing very soon and we are not really at risk of this falling through due to bank withdrawing approval. Please level-set me if I’m wrong. Also, based on your experience, what timeline should I expect this to follow?


Alicia Mendoza January 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi Jeff, Thanks for reaching out to me regarding your short sale situation. In my recent experience with Bank of America, it’s not unusual to wait a week or more for the written approval letter after a verbal approval has been communicated. It sounds like the listing agent and attorneys are staying on top of things, and hopefully your agent is staying on top of their efforts as well to get this approval in writing. I’m a little surprised that you were able to get your loan approval without having a written approval from Bank of America ahead of time. The last 2 short sales I was involved in with Bank of America had us waiting about 3-4 weeks for a written approval, but it indeed came through. There is ALWAYS a chance that this can fall through, but as long as you stay in close contact with everyone involved with the bank negotiations and continue to get some positive feedback, it sounds like you’re on your way to becoming a homeowner soon. Good luck and I hope you get this written approval sooner rather than later!

G R January 6, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hi A M, just trying to find any/all the help, nervous as well
i got SSA letter from BofA, states “waive their right to pursue collection of any deficiency following completion of this short sale and your debt is considered settled. ”
” BofA will report “paid in full for less than the full balance”

does this mean that BofA will not be able to pursue after this short sale completion

Alicia Mendoza January 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hi G R, Thanks for your inquiry. Congratulations on getting the SSA letter! That’s a big accomplishment alone. As for how to interpret the deficiency waiver verbiage, I am not an attorney and therefore cannot advise you about that specifically. But what I can share with you is that I’ve had clients in the past few years receive the same and/or similar verbiage on their SSA letters, and so far none of them have been pursued by the lenders, as far as I know. Have you reached out to any local attorneys in your area that may be able to further assist you? You may also want to clarify any tax implications with your tax advisor as well. I apologize if this doesn’t really clear up anything for you, but hopefully it will help lead you in the right direction to get some more clarity on the matter. Best wishes to you!

chris December 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I declined hafa because i did not get the info before the deadline of doc requirements. Will my chances of getting free from liability after shortsale be slimmed since i am not under hafa rules? My mrotagges are under boa, vegas.

Alicia Mendoza December 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Hi Chris, Thank you for your inquiry. Whereas under HAFA the bank will waive their right to pursue you for any deficiency in the future as part of the program, this can still be the case under a “traditional” short sale route. Whether it’s your listing agent or 3rd party negotiator that you’re working with, he/she will need to work with the bank in order have them agree it in writing. I wouldn’t say that your chances are slimmed at this point; you just won’t “automatically” be given that benefit as you would under HAFA. Good luck and I hope all goes well for you!

Jennifer December 16, 2011 at 7:12 am

Hi, Alicia! This website has helped bring my some peace of mind throughout this long process. Thanks! I received the counter from B of A on Monday. They agreed to the price, just changed some fees. Since I’ve been researching short sales like a mad woman for the last 3 months, I understand that the file now goes to the investors and we don’t really have approval until then. However, the seller’s agent, who claims to have a lot of experience with short sales, is pushing me to proceed with financing even though we don’t have the written approval. I don’t want to waste money on the loan processing if this could still fall through. He seems to think I’m wrong, but I’m wondering what he could do about it if I want to wait? I can’t imagine they would cancel the deal with us, but could they? I want to wait for the written approval, but I don’t want to put this transaction in jeopardy, either. What should I do? Also, have you seen many deals fall apart after the verbal acceptance?

Alicia Mendoza December 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Hi Jennifer, Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your situation with us. I’m glad that my website can bring you some peace of mind! I think it’s just fine to get moving with your financing as long as you don’t lock in a rate or incur any costs (like appraisal fees) just yet. You can get started with gathering your documentation for your lender so that you can get that out of the way in the meantime, and that shouldn’t cost you anything. I personally have not heard or seen any deals fall apart after a verbal approval is given, but I have experienced it taking just about ONE MONTH before we actually get the written approval letter. Your lender can’t really get very far anyway without the written approval letter, so that can be something that you can have your agent tell the listing agent if he/she is getting antsy about it for some reason. Good luck! What an exciting and busy time for you!

Jennifer December 28, 2011 at 12:54 am

Thanks for your reply, Alicia! I got a strange update today and was wondering if you could shed some light. According to the listing agent, the B of A negotiator has put the file on HOLD until I get my appraisal done. She says that if we leave the “clock” ticking until January 27th (the closing date on B of A’s counter) too many days will have passed since the short sale was initiated and the file will be closed out. I’ve not read anything like this in all the research I’ve been doing. I didn’t think it was HAFA, but I’m not sure – the sellers moved due to military relocation nearly 2 years ago. Any idea what on earth this is about? Why should I be spending money on an appraisal if the file hasn’t gotten written approval? Something doesn’t seem right here and I’m getting nervous.

Alicia Mendoza December 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Hi Jennifer, Have you received a written short sale approval letter on Bank of America’s letterhead stating that the short sale was indeed approved and that YOU were the intended buyer? If so, then it’s time to get crackin’ with your loan and appraisal. But if you don’t have that letter in hand, I don’t even think your lender will be able to proceed since lenders need that short sale approval letter in order to process your application and ultimately order the appraisal anyway. What is your real estate agent saying about all of this? Hopefully your agent is on board with you and can “fight” on your behalf. Perhaps the listing agent can provide a screen print of the Equator system used for tracking BofA short sales that shows the status of the short sale on “hold” if that truly is the case. Even if this was a HAFA short sale, such a request would not normally be made of you before a written approval letter is provided. Looks like you may have to play a little hard ball with this one, and hopefully your real estate agent can help you with that. Best of luck to you.

Lisa February 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Jennifer, Can I ask what the purchase price was and your offer? Just wondering because we went about 30 percent under the asking price with a boa shortsale but house needs major repairs. But wondering since I heard that bank of America usually always counters. Thanks

Patricia December 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Hello Alicia,
I think your website is very informative. My husband and I are currently in the process of buying our first home. The house that we found was a short sale so it is very interesting to hear all the experiences that people are having with short sales. The seller just accepted our offer and are going to submit it to BOA. Do you think it’s possible to close by the end of January? Our lease is up at the end of January and I am nervous. and what exactly is an “expedited short sale”? Thank you for your time.

Alicia Mendoza December 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Hi Patricia, I’m glad you find my website helpful. Regarding your question about being able to close by January, there’s always a possibility…but the likelihood of that happening is probably very low, in my humble opinion. While it’s great that the seller accepted your offer, it is up to the bank to do their due diligence. We are upon the holidays now, so some time will be lost with your file (and everyone else’s file) when it comes to the bank’s review of it. And even if you get an “expedited short sale” approval process, you still have to open and close escrow. If you are obtaining financing, I am finding that buyer’s loans are taking quite a long time to be processed as well right now (just seems that way from what I’m hearing in my particular area). Expect your escrow process to take at least 30 days if not more AFTER you receive the short sale approval letter from BofA. I think it’d be best for you to ensure that your current living situation can be extended beyond January. How long after January? Your best, less stressful bet would be to be VERY flexible with that timeline. As you can tell from a lot of other folks who have commented on this site, a lot of these short sales last well beyond your expectations (of course there are some that go quite quickly too, but people tend not to post success stories on these types of sites!). Perhaps get into a month-to-month situation if you can. Good luck and please keep us updated! Thank you.

Mrs. Carroll December 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Hi Alicia; I had a short sale thru Bank of America back in January 2011. I did not have to sign a promissory note to complete the short sale, & the HUD form said my balance was ZERO. My question is, why does Bank of America still report a balance of over $100K on my credit report??? Why can’t they report the balance as being zero, based on NO promissory note & the HUD statement? Please advise quickly; thank you.

Alicia Mendoza December 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Hi Mrs. Carroll, Thank you for your inquiry. I had responded to you via email already — hopefully you were able to get this resolved by contacting the bank and monitoring your credit report again after they make the necessary adjustments. Thanks again!

BR December 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Recently put in a contract on a shortsale. Home was listed for 133k I offered 120k no closing no warranty. Seller has accepted. Waiting on BoA approval.

Now the home needs significant foundation repairs but I can handle that. How does bofa handle offers on homes that need significant repair?

Alicia Mendoza December 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Hi BR, Thank you for your inquiry. Like any other property, BofA will have the property appraised first before making a decision about the short sale and acceptable sales price. Hopefully the appraiser is aware of the foundation issues and/or can physically see the issues once he/she goes out to the property — the listing agent perhaps can note this in the MLS listing and/or let the appraiser know when they contact him/her to schedule a time to go to the property. This should be something the bank takes into consideration. I would say though to make sure that YOUR lender is okay with the foundation issues (if you are getting financing for this purchase). Good luck!

L.B. December 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Hi, My husband and I have been put thru the ringer with BOA. We found the perfect house in the beginning of August and was told by the listing agent which is also our agent that is is a HAFA approved short sale and should move quickley. After submitting an offer right away we found out 2 weeks later that BOA lost the sellers paperwork and had to start the process again. We waited months, finally at the end of October the sellers got there paper work and we were able to submit our offer. BOA would not allow our offer to be uploaded until Nov.9th and we needed a closing date of 11/30. Well we were guaranteed a 10 day approval and its been almost 2 weeks with excuse after excuse and no answers. Yesterday I talked to my agent and she told me the bank countered the sellers amount they would get back, so they got the updated hud form turned in the same day and I thought they would come back today with a closing date. Well now today is basicaly over, my agent never called me back. Is BOA going to come back with a closing date soon, and does it matter we only have our loan approval until Dec 30th? Please help, we have been paying daily storage fees for all of our stuff and basically homeless here in a few weeks. I defintley have a lot of regrets waiting for this house. Its our daughters first christmas and no home:(( PLEASE HELP!!! Thanks


Alicia Mendoza December 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Hi L.B., I am so sorry to reply so late. But I do want to address your inquiry — thank you for sharing. Assuming that this truly is a HAFA approved short sale that was indeed pre-approved by BofA, then the 10-day turnaround time after submitting your offer again in November should have applied. However, it is likely that the bank is considering it as 10 business days (that’s how BofA handled it with me before with a HAFA pre-approved short sale earlier this year). With the Thanksgiving holidays involved, that might’ve caused some delay. I’m glad you did get some news about the HUD that would explain any further delay. Hopefully by now all has been resolved and you are in escrow at this time. As for your loan pre-approval expiration date of 12/30/11, I don’t think that will be a problem as long as the actual written approval is provided before then. I realize how stressful this can be. Hopefully you are able to find a temporary living situation until you can open and close escrow. Please keep us posted and good luck to you and your family.

Chris November 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I started the short sale process on a property 8 months ago. It had two mortgages on it. The main one with Bank of America and the second was with the original owners credit union for the landscaping of the house. 5 weeks ago I finally received the call from my Real Estate Attorney my offer was accepted. He also stated everything was completed by both finacial Institutions and he had received a letter stating just that. I was told as soon as I could set up the closing I could get into the house. My Mortgage guy and I jumped through hoops and got everything ready in 2 weeks. On Nov. 17th we asked for a closing date of Nov. 28th. Since the the 17th when asking, everything has gone silent. The selling Real Esate agent is saying something is holding it up, but wont say what. My Real Estate Attorney and my Real Estate Agent are both saying they cant get any answers. What do I do? Is their someone I can call on my own? Does it sound like everyone is being honest with me? Is this normal? Help please????

Alicia Mendoza December 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Hi Chris, I apologize for the late reply. I hope things have gotten resolved since your inquiry from a few weeks back. Based on what you described, perhaps check up on public records to see if there were any issues with foreclosure related to the seller’s property (your real estate agent or attorney could help you with that). You may also want to get a copy of your executed purchase contract and short sale approval letters that came from the banks, just to make sure you really were as far into the short sale as you thought. It’s also possible that the credit union is causing some issues with approving the short sale after all — that’s pretty typical in my experience when a credit union is the 2nd lienholder. As far as someone that you can contact on your own, you’re not authorized by the seller to discuss his/her loan accounts with any of these institutions, so you won’t be able to make much headway there. Also keep in mind that things may be moving more slowly due to the holidays and people taking time off at the banks, so that may be delaying things. Another thought could very well be that the seller doesn’t want to move during the holidays (assuming he/she is still occupying the property) and is trying to delay things on their end so that you don’t close escrow until after the new year. Or maybe he/she is living mortgage-free at the moment and wants to milk it for as long as he/she can — there isn’t much of an incentive for a seller to move out of his/her unless the bank forces them sometimes. That of course can be an issue for any sale — if the seller is not motivated to move out, then you have an issue, even if it’s a regular sale. But hopefully by now, things have been resolved. Please keep us posted. Thanks!

Noelia November 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hi Alicia!

We made an offer on a BOA short sale in October, and we just heard back last week! They counterred us only $5k more then our offer. We were pleased and we accepted! We haven’t signed anything questions is…what happens now? Is it the approval letter? How long does that normally take?

Thanks in advance!

Alicia Mendoza November 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Hi Noelia, Thank you for posting on my site. Congratulations on your accepted offer! Was your offer accepted by the seller only, or was this counter offer clearly coming from the bank? If it’s the former, you still have a ways to go. If it’s the latter, then you may get the written approval letter within the next 1-4 weeks (I know, that’s a large timeframe!). Unfortunately there’s no real set rule on that, but that’s been my recent experience, along with others that have posted on my site in recent weeks. Good luck, and I hope things continue to move quickly and smoothly for you!

Olivia November 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Hi there! We put an offer for a short sale via BOA being the Servicer for investor. This was August 1st . The sellers decided to go through HAFA after accepting our offer. After 2 BPO’s the Negotiator came back October asking for reduction of fee’s . The Sellers Listing agent did this.

It’s Mid Nov an no other news since then. We are getting frustrated as this has been going on almost 4 months now

we offered full price + closing cost.
Sellers Atty says that she’s been doing this for a long time and this could take 7 Months for a HAFA Sale to go through.

I thought there was a timeline on Hafa Sales ?

Alicia Mendoza November 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Hi Olivia, Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, there is a timeline for HAFA short sales…but there’s also some “fine print” in the guidelines that allow for the banks to extend these timelines out, depending on what the deliverable is. For HAFA short sales where the seller applies for the program AFTER an offer is received, the benefits of the timeline that one would think would make HAFA more efficient actually don’t get much better (and can be much longer) than traditional short sales. This is why I prefer to help my clients with HAFA short sales where we get the list price pre-approved by the bank first (i.e. wait to market the property and receive offers). From a buyer’s perspective, that 10-day guideline that you might’ve heard about then applies to your offer to be accepted by the bank and for you all to open escrow. In your case though, I’m afraid that the seller’s attorney is not too far off the mark with the 7-month wait time, though I’m guessing that she means from the moment you submit the HAFA short sale package to the time that you actually close escrow (not just to get the approval). It took almost 5 months for my last HAFA short sale with BofA from start to closing (I represented the buyer in that case); the seller applied for HAFA after receiving our offer as well. Good luck with this short sale — it sounds like things are moving along ever-so-slowly, but they are still moving. And it also sounds like you have open communication between the listing agent/seller’s attorney and you/your agent, so that’s great news.

Stacy November 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

We made an offering a short sale back in September and the seller countered which we accepted. On September 16 we were approved by the seller. Their lending bank is BOA and they have 2 loans on the house. I’ve been trying to get updates by asking my real estate agent which he forwards to the listing agent. The LA doesn’t usually say much but finally on November 9 she said that the bank sent out an appraiser and said from what they see we have a good chance. Since I’m not getting much feedback from the realtors, what does that mean? Where are we in the process and what are typically the next steps? Any suggestions/advice/feedback would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks so much for your blog!!

Alicia Mendoza November 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hi Stacy, Thank you for your inquiry. Slowly but surely, your short sale file is making its way through the process. Although it took 2 months to get someone out to the property to do an appraisal/valuation, I’m glad that it was done by now. The next step is for the bank to take that value and start “crunching the numbers” behind the scenes — they take that value and determine whether a short sale is in the best interest of them and the investors for those 2 loans. They also take into consideration your offer and whether it’s in line with their expectations based on the valuation and calculations they’ve done. These days this particular review process can take up to a month for the bank to complete, give or take a week or two. Your agent may then be contacted by the listing agent with a counter offer coming directly from the bank after all this analysis is done. At that point, you can work with your agent to determine how to respond. Once you, the seller, and the bank agree on these terms, it could take another few weeks for a written approval letter to be generated, as the bank needs to do one last final review with the investors before they issue that letter. Once you get that letter, you should be able to open escrow right away. I would not be surprised if you get an approval toward the end of January 2012. Then again, it could be sooner too. The key is to expect the longer timeframe but to be prepared to act quickly if responses and actions on your part are needed earlier. The other piece of advice I can offer is that, as much as you want to control the situation, there are so many moving parts and things out of your control unfortunately, so the best you can do is make decisions based upon the info you know as of a given time. Best of luck to you.

Stacy April 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

A belated thank you for your response. You were right about going into escrow – it opened just before Xmas eve. The problem is my bank appraised the property 50k less than our accepted offer. So the sellers approved of the lower price in February and we’re just waiting to hear if their bank (BofA) approves. The listing agent said back on March 14 that according to her conversation with the bank, we’d have an answer soon but still haven’t heard anything. Think it’s possible to have an answer this month?

Alicia Mendoza April 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Hi Stacy, It certainly is possible to get a response this month in April. Perhaps the listing agent can follow up again and find out where the bank is in the process. Best wishes to you!

Amber H. November 19, 2011 at 12:58 am

Hi, I was wondering if you knew how long it takes to have an offer assigned to someone at BofA. We put in an offer in mid September, it took the listing agent and his clients over 3 weeks to get back to us to accept the offer (not sure why the seller doesnt get any of the money), anyway we got the counter from the seller, we accepted and it was submitted on 10/31. I was told today that the bank has confirmed that they have the short sale package and is now awaiting someone to be assigned. Our lease on our apartment is up 1/28/2012,I am so hoping we are in by then but the days are ticking away pretty quick, and if the bank comes back with a counter then it just drags the process out. Any information you have would be helpful. Thank you

Alicia Mendoza November 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hi Amber, Thank you for your inquiry. The delay with the seller responding to your initial offer may have to do with them not being ready with all of THEIR paperwork for submission of the short sale. Or it could just be that they were lagging — who knows. Either way, that’s good news that you were the selected buyer for this short sale. As for getting a negotiator assigned on the bank’s end, that timeframe can vary, but typically I see it happen in about 1-2 weeks. Sometimes though it jumps from one negotiator to the next (likely has to do with workload for a given negotiator and/or perhaps he/she has left the bank), or the one who is “assigned” to your file really isn’t working your file after all. That’s where the listing agent needs to be proactive about ensuring that this short sale file continues to move forward in the process. Either way, I would caution you to have some alternative plans in place should you NOT close escrow before 1/28/12. With the holidays here, we lose a few business days, plus bank personnel may be taking vacations (and may not tell you!). The last 2 BofA short sales that I was involved with just recently over this past Summer/Fall took about 4.5-5 months from the day we submitted our offer to the time that we actually closed escrow (in both cases I represented the buyers). During that time I know there was some “shake-up” of personnel at the bank, but nonetheless, I would not be surprised if my next BofA experience ends up being that long as well. Good luck! I hope everything works out for you.

Leo Gonzalez November 18, 2011 at 7:30 am

Hi Alicia,

I just came across your site and wanted to thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with everyone! My wife and I are currently waiting on BOA for our offer and see if they want to counter offer or accept…it’s been a long 7 weeks but we’re going to keep waiting. Anyways, thanks for sharing your experiences, I’ve learned a lot from your site!

Leo Gonzalez November 18, 2011 at 8:06 am

Actually…i did have a question :) ..during this wait, BOA has asked us for our current home address and then we had to get documentation sent over with a notary stating that we didn’t know the sellers. Is this a good sign?

Alicia Mendoza November 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Hi Leo, The paperwork/info that you completed/provided is standard for short sale transactions with BofA (and all banks that I’ve worked with re: short sales, at least the affidavit indicating that you don’t have a relationship with the sellers outside of this transaction). It’s a good sign such that your offer is indeed the one that was submitted to the bank for this short sale. It’s usually a step taken early on in the process though, so you still have some more waiting to do. Good luck!

Alicia Mendoza November 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Hi Leo, Thank you for the kind words regarding my site! Hang in there and hopefully come early next year you will be closing escrow on your new home!

Sisu November 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

The experience I have had with Bank of Americas has been awful. The worse, I am a soon to be Bank of America ex-customer since I still do my baking with them :-\ Anyway, we signed an offer on August 14, then agreed to a counter offer, the BPO did his/her review, then received 2 addendums, Bank of America approved the counter offer….then, the negotiator keeps telling the sellers agent “the approval letter will be done today” or “ it is with the investor”. And today never comes. It is November 7th and we are still waiting for the approval letter. This is not a normal process and I keep wondering why is the bank allowed to have no accountability for the dates agreed to. Sure, we (“the buyers and sellers of short sales”) are just a number in the pile for BofA and they must be swamped, but there are life’s on hold because of this process that seems abnormally long. Is there an gov agency that regulates this?

Alicia Mendoza November 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

Hi Sisu, Unfortunately this is really not too uncommon anymore with BofA, at least based on my recent experience. The last two short sales that I was involved with regarding BofA took about 3-4 weeks between the time we agreed to the counter offer and the moment the approval letter was issued, and we had some excellent negotiators working on our side in those cases to try to escalate the issue. It took about 4 months from the date of our offers until the time that the approval letters were issued in both those cases. There is government oversight with transactions that fall under HAMP and other Making Home Affordable initiatives, but I don’t know of any government agency that oversees traditional short sales by any of the banks.

Erin November 7, 2011 at 9:30 am

I have a question regarding short sales. We just got our offer for a short sale approved by the seller but its been 40 days and we havent heard anything yet . The house was listed at 102,000 and we offered 103,500 but the assesed value is 134,000. I feel anxious and don’t know if i’m just wasting my time and should move on. Im worried if they will come back with a higher counter offer and we just cant afford any more. What are the chances they will want to raise the bid and are our chances good or not so much. Everything I read on short sales makes my hopes drop quite a bit.

Alicia Mendoza November 11, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hi Erin, Thank you for sharing your situation. One of the most frustrating things about short sales is that you have to wait so long to get a response from the bank, and there really is no deadline or certainty to it. I can’t comment on whether the bank will counter offer you at a higher price because that depends on very specific factors about the property itself, the local market where you are at, how much the bank/investor is willing to lose on this property, etc. The best advice I can provide is to just keep a good pulse on the process by staying in close contact with your real estate agent, and to have your real estate agent continue to push to get some answers from the listing agent in terms of what’s transpiring with the bank. Your situation is the same for most people — should I keep waiting for this short sale property or continue looking? What if a better property passes me by while I wait for this short sale property to be approved? What if I keep waiting and then this short sale property doesn’t go through after all? The fact is that we can’t control these situations much at all, and you just have to go with the best decision and what feels right to you. Even if you decide to wait for this short sale property only to find that it doesn’t work out later on, you may eventually find a property immediately afterwards that is even better. And if you didn’t wait for that short sale to fall through, you would’ve never found this new property. There are hopeful stories out there like that too, so the best you can do is just go with what works for you right now, release some of the anxiety from trying to work through every possible situation that could happen with this short sale, and have some faith that you will eventually end up with the right home for you. Good luck to you!

Nise K November 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm


I made an offer on a SS in mid September of this year. My lawyer Said that our anticipated close date would be around November 15..
Last week BoA countered our offer if 330,000 with 370,000. I accepted because I really love the home. 2 days after I accepted the bank informed the agents that we had to sign a new contract the new offer price. Does this mean we are close to approval?

Alicia Mendoza November 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

Hi Nise, Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, it sounds like you are getting closer to getting written approval. I have experienced though that it could take 2-3 weeks for that approval letter to actually be issued, but it’d be for the same agreed-upon terms that were established when the counter offers were going back and forth. Good luck!

Barbara November 4, 2011 at 10:55 am


On Oct 21st, we signed an addendum to the purchase agreement on a short sale that agreed with the counter offer by BofA. We have now been waiting 2 weeks for a letter of approval. Our real estate agent tells me that BofA was at the condo taking pics last Friday and now doing an appraisal. Should I be concerned that after all this time that they are getting an appraisal?. What are the odds that they will come back with a higher price than they wanted 2 weeks ago? Thanks Barbara

Alicia Mendoza November 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Hi Barbara, it seems odd that the bank would be doing such valuation work AFTER providing you with a counter offer. Was the counter offer from BofA or from the seller (I assume you are the buyer)? Is your agent certain that the people at the condo were sent by BofA? If the counter offer was from the seller, then it still needs to be cleared by the bank and therefore all that valuation work would make sense at this point. If the counter offer came from BofA and was communicated to your agent through the listing agent, then I am not sure why the bank would be sending anyone back to the property unless it was some condition of the investor prior to them giving the final “green light” to issue the written approval letter. As for whether the bank will come back at a higher price after you all agreed to the bank’s counter offer, it’s not likely, but until you have that written approval in hand, the terms of the short sale are still not final. I hope you get that approval letter soon for exactly what you agreed on and get this transaction taken care of quickly. Good luck and thank you for your inquiry.

Barbara November 5, 2011 at 5:12 am

Thanks for your thoughts. The appraisal is at the direction of BofA and not the Seller. At the time of the price negotiations with bofA and the investor, they used the negotiator’s market opinion. Our realtor tried to get them to do an appraisal at that time but they did not. We are in agreement with th price offered by BofA on the HUD seen on the Equator system.

Hopefully the appraisal is just another item in a checklist and the approval letter will be forthcoming next week. I will keep you in the loop. Thanks again. Barbara

Barbara November 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm


We received the notice below on Saturday via our realtor regarding our letter of approval from BofA. Given that we already had agreement on price, closing date, and payment of back HOA dues, does this seem odd that after more than 2 weeks, we are still waiting? What are the investors continuing to review? Any input would be helpful Thanks in advance. Barbara

This is a follow-up notification to assure you that the property at ______ is still under review by the investors. We will contact you to discuss their decision and any other feedback.

Thank you for your continued patience as we await the investors’ input to proceed with your short sale.

Alicia Mendoza November 11, 2011 at 10:32 am

Hi Barbara, each investor operates a little differently, but it doesn’t seem unusual to me that they are still looking things over. It could be that they need to just make sure they have all the appropriate documentation on their end to ensure that they can move forward, and perhaps they only have one or two people reviewing these files among several and are swamped with work. The good news is that they actually contacted you to reassure you that they are still working on your file — that’s more than most investors would do that I’ve experienced. Hang in there, it may be another week or two, but hopefully you’ll make some great progress soon.

Barbara November 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

November 23rd and the negotiator says they are about ready to issue the approval letter. It has been over a month waiting for the approval letter. They requested the realtor to send the listing agreement prior to the approval letter. Just another document that might have been missing from the file or do you know of a reason that they would need this document? It seems like they should have had the listing agreement a long time ago. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for your help.

Giovanny October 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hi Alicia, well I wanted to let you know that we still waiting for approval letter and still no word from anyone. Now, the person I was talking to in the tittle company seems to be busy all the time and it is not available to talk to. I have a question regarding the tittle company, do you think if we change the tittle company is going to make a difference in speeding up the process to get the letter fixed? Or even worst, do you think is going to cause a problem in the process since we are almost done? It is almost 1 month and nothing. It seems to me that the title company is not pushing hard enough the people or the person handling the error with the letter. Any suggestions?
Thank you!

Alicia Mendoza October 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Hi Giovanny, I don’t think changing title companies would make much of a difference at this point. Is there a listing agent involved? Do you have your own real estate agent? Is that title officer the only person that can talk to the bank? If the listing agent has authority to talk to the bank, try contacting that person (through your agent) and see if you can make some progress going that route. Or perhaps the listing agent may be more successful with reaching the title officer.

Giovanny October 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Hi Alicia, I just want to share the good news that we finally got the approval letter from BoA. Today, our lender started to put the package together for the closing day. I started to read online about the big day but it seems to be that it could be more difficult than the entire process. We hired an attorney just to make sure everything is correct and there is no “errors” since our broker seems to let the sellers broker control everything. My question is: what should we do to be ready for this date and not make any mistakes that could cost us thousand of dollars ? Is there any good and reliable websites with recent tips and info??
Thank you so much for all your help during this long process.

Alicia Mendoza November 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Hi Giovanny, Congratulations on getting that written approval letter! As for preparing for your “big day” of closing, I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to in terms of it being more difficult than the entire short sale process. Since you are the buyer, you’re not going to be subject to any of the income tax and legal repercussions that arise for the seller as part of the short sale. Have you talked to your broker about your concerns? I would start with him/her first. When it came to the short sale approval process, your broker had to rely on other people who represented the seller to handle the short sale negotiations with the bank because your broker isn’t authorized to interact with the bank (the seller would have to approve it, which he/she would likely never do). But now that you have the written approval, you can proceed with the process like a regular sale just about, which is something that your broker should have great knowledge of. Good luck and I hope this escrow runs quickly and smoothly for you.

SRN October 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

Hi Alicia,

My husband and I made an offer on a short sale home back in June. We loved the house so much that we offered the asking price of $215K with closing costs. The offer was accepted. Two months later, we got a call from our realtor saying BOA had approved the short sale at $215K but after the appraisal, they lowered the price to $195,700. We were told it would take another couple of weeks to get the approval letter. It is now the end of October, my lease is due to expire 10/31/11 and my realtor just told me on 10/24 that the short sale was just assigned to a negotiator. I am beyond frustrated. I have already secured financing from 2 different lenders. I want to walk away but now I feel I’m close to the end but am still skepitcal about how much longer it will really take. What should I expect in the next couple of weeks? We were hoping to move by Thanksgiving but I’m not even sure if that’s going to happen at this point. I’ve already extended my lease for another 30 days at a cost of an additional $400 per month (market rate for the apt. when going on a month-to-month basis as opposed to renewing my lease).



Alicia Mendoza October 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Hi SRN, I actually just replied to you via email. Thank you for your inquiry!

Giovanny October 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Hi, we found this house which is a short sale. We sent the offer and was accepted by the seller. Bank of America gave us the verbal approval almost 2 months ago. At the beginning of this month, the tittle company got the letter but the price had an extra cero at the end of the amount. Bank of America said they were going to fixed it right away but now it has been three weeks and still no word from them. The tittle company which has direct access with them says the letter should be here any day not even another month but it has been almost three weeks. Do you think is going to take for the letter to arrive another 2 or 3 months?? Everyone knows including Bank of America that we are ready to close now and we are waiting on the approval letter only. I hope you can tell me what to do besides to be patience.
Thank you so much!!

Alicia Mendoza October 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Hi Giovanny, thanks for sharing your situation. Yes, patience is one thing. But another thing that you can do is to find out who from the title company is making contact with the bank, who at the bank is being contacted, and find out if your file has been escalated to someone else at the bank who can actually get the job done. Sometimes the file can just be sitting on someone’s desk under a pile of other files, sometimes there are other issues involved that you may not be aware of. It’s hard on your end to find this stuff out because you have to rely on others to contact the bank, but I think pushing for some answers, clarity, escalation, and action from the people that are trying to reach the bank will give you some satisfaction that at least you are doing everything that YOU can do to make this happen. It’s one thing for someone to keep calling the bank and leaving messages; it’s another thing for someone to track down the right person at the bank who can provide answers and get your file addressed. Unfortunately that’s all that I think you can do, just be vocal and find out exactly what is being done. Good luck and I hope everything works out very soon for you…you seem very close to getting that approval!

Giovanny October 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Thank so much for your quick response. The person at the title company who is in contact with the bank is the owner of the company. I have been talking to him and he is in touch with the negotiator at the bank (which I think is the one who can make the letter again but I can be wrong). The tittle company said to me this week that due to their mistake they escalate our file and management is aware of the situation. They also mentioned that they made our file priority but that was 3 weeks ago. Do you really think is now going to be soon or another 3 months.
Thank you so much!

Alicia Mendoza October 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Hi Giovanny, thanks for the update. It sounds like the title company rep is keeping a close eye on things. I don’t think it’ll take another 3 months, but it could be another couple of weeks, in my opinion. As long as the file continues to be in front of someone to review and doesn’t get buried under other files, then things should happen hopefully soon for you. It could be that the group that handles escalations is bombarded with everyone else’s files that have been “escalated.” Perhaps ask the title rep to find out why it’s taken 3 weeks for the file to be addressed after being escalated; maybe the file needs to be escalated to a different group or person.

Lana October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

Hi Alicia, this is Lana again. I am getting nervous because I am waiting for the final approval letter from bank of america and it has been two weeks – today. I recently saw a notice on the door from “BAC field services” and saw people mowing the lawn last weekend. The listing agent said its for the bank to protect and secure the property and the house has not even got a notice of default yet. (I dont really trust this listing agent ive heard bad rumors about her, but i have my own agent representing me) which is the reason I am seeking your advice. My brother who owns a locksmith business usually works with REO agents and he rekeys houses after Bac field services have been there already to maintain and protect the house.

Is this normal protocol for BAC to come out and do this on a short sale. The notice was posted on the outside which I am assuming they have not changed the locks. Do I still have a good chance of getting that final approval letter from B of A if its already been two weeks today?
Patiently waiting (and stressing because my lease will end soon),

Alicia Mendoza October 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Hi Lana, perhaps ask your agent to confirm whether or not the house has actually been foreclosed upon. If so, it would be recorded with the county and be public record for your agent to see. If the property no longer belongs to the seller, then your short sale no longer is valid. Hopefully that’s not the case, but something doesn’t seem right to have BAC Field Services out to a short sale property…

Jacqueline October 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Ok I’m so glad I found u!!! We found a preapproved price short sale. Preapproved price was 72000, we asked 70000 and it was approved. We asked to close on OCT 13 and they countered with the 15th. Because this has ended up to be a 203k loan we needed more time. Asked for an extension of OCT 31, which they came back today with an exceptance of OCT 28. We won’t be able to close that day though. Am I going to loose this house by asking for another extension?? We r right there but those 3 days won’t be possible. Let me say the roof is bad and the longer they hold on to it the more damage there is. I’m so afraid of loosing it. Thank u!!!

Alicia Mendoza October 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Hi Jacqueline, I would definitely try to re-negotiate the closing date and explain the situation again. I would urge the listing agent to escalate the issue if the extension is rejected again. You won’t lose the property by asking for the extension, but it’s important that everyone fight for you so that you can get those extra few days. Good luck!

Dan October 17, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Our realtor told us.about a short sale that fell thru original has the home for $116,000 already got bank approval and last minute fell thru. Relisted next at $122,000 we loved the home offered $125,000 just to get a edge seller agreed. Now awaiting bank approval, we were told we would on a “fast track” since original buyer was approved. So I guess were waiting for BOA approval. And investor approval? Not sure what that means? Is is realistic to close in 30-45 days as our realtor says? Now I just found out they put a request to postpone foreclosure, so I’m little confused where we stand. Or realtor is out of town for his sons wedding I didn’t want to interupt giving the occasion.

Your blog is so informative thought I give you our situation and ask for your opinion.

Alicia Mendoza October 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hi Dan, congratulations on getting your offer accepted by the seller! It sounds like your offer is currently being reviewed by the negotiator at BofA. Once it gets through their specific guidelines, they may counter offer back to you if they need to meet certain other guidelines before they send it off to the “investor” for approval. In this case, BofA is just servicing your loan; your loan is really owned by another party “behind the scenes.” Given that approval was granted before, I think 30-45 days is realistic. As for postponing foreclosure, that is going on the background as well – even though the seller is trying to do this short sale, BofA is continuing with the foreclosure process regardless. But if an active short sale is in motion, they will usually postpone the foreclosure date for another month or two. This is nothing unusual, so I wouldn’t worry unless you find out that the foreclosure date was NOT postponed despite efforts to do so by the listing agent. Good luck and hope it all works out for you quickly!

Dan October 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Unfortunately they foreclosed on the property, what would be the best way to keep track of the property, when it gets listed as a REO we want to take a stab at it.

Alicia Mendoza October 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Hi Dan, I’m so sorry that the short sale didn’t pan out for you. I would ask your real estate agent to set you up on some type of email alert system where you get notified the moment this property address is back on the market per your local MLS. You never know — as an REO property, the bank may offer it at a lower price and/or actually do some upgrades or renovations. Thanks again for sharing your story with us.

Ane October 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I just put in an offer on a BofA short sale. I found out that we are the back up offer. We then spoke to our lawyer and we are waiting to see if the 1st offer backs out. We are cash buyers. One the first offer is off the table… how long does it take for bank approval? This house has already had all the assessments, appraisals are done and it is at the loss mitigation level. So how long is our wait? the house is on the market for $199K it was assessed at $100550 and we offered $159500. What do you think we will be countered at? We live in Illinois if that helps. PLEASE HELP! I HAVE NOT SLEPT IN 3 DAYS!

Alicia Mendoza October 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Hi Ane, Thank you for your inquiry. Try to breathe! As a buyer of a short sale property, there really isn’t too much “control” that you have over things – I know that can be particularly frustrating, but once you take that to heart, your stress level will hopefully go down a little (if not a lot). If/when the first offer is off the table, it should probably take a couple of weeks from the time that your offer is resubmitted to the bank before a response is given, though it will largely depend on the investor’s guidelines. Because I haven’t seen this property and have am not familiar with your area, I really don’t have an idea of what you’ll be countered at. Did the listing agent tell you up front that this first buyer will likely back out? If not, then be careful about spending so much of your energy on this particular property right now. You’re not the selected buyer at this time, so there’s a lot more uncertainty surrounding this property for you than just the short sale process alone. I hope everything works out for you, whether with this property or another that you may find later on. Good luck!

Ane October 12, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Thank you for your response. The 1st offer did back out. We are the only offer on the table now. We submitted our offer last Friday to BofA. We set our offer at $159500. It waslisted at $199. We found out that it was purchased 5 years ago at $352K and the owner still owes $252. There is also a SSA on the house. We are just waiting for an answer from the bank. Not much in the area is selling at all. We are just nervous for our kids to have a home. I hope we hear something soon. I wish we had an idea of what the counter may be as well!! UGH!!!

Lana October 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hi, thank you for making this blog. I am a little stressed myself right now. Heres my story. SS experience 1 – The first property I chose to offer on was on a short sale condo at the end of March. The condo got accepted and BofA countered offered at the end of April, and the counter went around twice till we agreed on a 120k purchase price. At the end of May we were waiting for the approval letter. The listing agent asked for an extension because the condo was set to foreclose end of June. BofA completed ignored all her calls and emails. Turns out they foreclosed the condo and a month later I see it on the market for sale as an REO for 150k.
So after that bad experience I tried to purchase a bank owned home and kept losing to higher bidders. So now I went back to a short sale.
SS experience 2: Currently I just offered on a short sale and it was submitted on September 9, two weeks later we got a message from the BofA system that it was approved and is moving on to negotiate the price. Yesterday, BofA countered the offer and I accepted/seller accepted and the offer was turned in today on the Oct 5 (it had a deadline of Oct 6 to turn it in or the offer would be void) The listing agent turned in the counter today, and now the agent changed the property on MLS to say “Short Sale Contingency.” So now I am waiting for the final approval letter from BofA so my lender can process and close my loan. I want to get excited about getting the house but I dont want to put myself in the same hopes I was in for the condo.

Should I get excited, and are of these good signs of a short sale since the 2nd one was quicker ?

Alicia Mendoza October 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Hi Lana, Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like you are VERY close! I will say that it seems to be taking BofA a bit longer than the normal “couple of business days” that it used to take to get the written short sale approval letter, but you basically have a “verbal” approval and therefore just need to wait patiently to get that approval letter in hand. It may get frustrating for you right now because it could take well over a week or so to get it, but just continue to hang in there and hopefully the listing agent will keep following up with the bank so that you can proceed with this purchase. Good luck and I will keep my fingers crossed for you!

kim September 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

We are considering pursuing a short sale on our home and have several questions. We send our payments to Chase Bank but I have been told the loan is actually owned by BofA. Will we be working with Chase or with BofA if we go for a short sale? We have been told to place our home on the market at market value for 6 months and then if it dies not sell, pursue the short sale. Should we wait for the whole 6 mos period to pass before contacting the bank? If we cannot prove hardship, will the process be much more difficult?

Alicia Mendoza October 11, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hi Kim, Thank you for your inquiry. If you send your payments to Chase, then it sounds like Chase is the servicer and therefore you will be working with Chase directly in trying to execute short sale of your property. If you price your home correctly when you put it on the market, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting an offer from an able and willing buyer. When it comes to proving hardship, that is definitely a requirement for the bank in order to do a short sale; if you don’t have a financial hardship of some sort, then they may not allow for you to do a short sale. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.

JP September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

My Short Sale experience:
I made an offer of $182,000 in October, 2010. The offer was accepted and I got an inspection and signed the purchase and sale. Then, it went to the bank for approval. The bank counter offered in April, 2011 for $200,000. I agreed to pay that amount. The seller’s lawyer told me we would set a closing date of May 31st, 2011 as soon as the bank gave us the approval paperwork. never got paperwork. July, 2011 – The seller refused to sign off on the deficiency judgment. At this point the offer has been extended multiple times. The seller’s lawyer said that if we submit a “fresh” offer, it will be good to go in a month. August 15th, we resubmitted the offer of $200,000. Today, I went to look at places to rent until this goes through, no places will allow for a sublet. I am officially in limbo.

Alicia Mendoza September 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Hi JP, Thanks for sharing your story. Are you working with your own real estate agent? I think it’s worth the discussion to determine whether it’s worth it for you to be in “limbo” for this property or to just move on. Your experience has clearly shown that just because the seller’s lawyer says that you’ll be “good to go” in a month, there’s always a possibility that it WON’T happen either. It could get dragged out longer. I assure you that not all short sales are like this; it’s just unfortunate that the property that you like and want is creating all this trouble and stress for you. I wish you the best of luck. I hope everything works out for you.

JP September 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

I appreciate your response. I was looking for condos in the same area. I found one with no address on the same street as the one I’m trying to buy. It says foreclosure (lis pendens). It is $99,000 more with the same square footage and built in the same year as the short sale. When I mapped it, it appears to be the exact same place. Wow

John Ellison September 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

It has been almost 4 months since submitted for HAFA approval with offer(RASS) and last update is they are reviewing property taxes.Any idea how long would it take to get the approval with BOA?

Alicia Mendoza September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Hi John, Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately when it comes to HAFA short sales with Bank of America, you have to deal with not just BofA, but also their 3rd party service provider that handles HAFA files on BofA’s behalf. Chances are, this 3rd party service provider hasn’t been staying on top of all the files coming across their desk. Has the listing agent indicated that he/she has been trying to escalate this file in order to get it looked at? 4 months is a long time…have they even done a valuation of the property yet? Unfortunately I’m not surprised that it’s taking so long, and I also can’t give you an idea of how much longer it will take because a lot of that will depend on how diligent the listing agent is with trying to push your file through to the top of the bank’s pile to review. Perhaps ask your agent to get a thorough update from the listing agent on where exactly they are in the process, what other steps must be taken before an approval is granted, and what steps has the listing agent taken to escalate the file up to this point. Good luck! I hope this moves a lot quicker for you very soon.

Mary September 14, 2011 at 6:13 am

We have been waiting for approval since April 21st of this year. Our realtor had told us that she had a hard acceptance from all parties on August 8th and so the appraisal had been ordered and there are a few things that needed to be fixed that we were going to do ONLY to find out that NO that BOA had NOT accepted the offer as of yet. They told the sellers realtor oh we will have something right after Labor day well that came and went they said that they would definitely have an answer for us yesterday the 13th by the end of the day..that has come and went. We have been working on this for over 5 months now I don’t understand! They cry that things are bad and there are people out there willing to buy and stir the economy but nothing is happening for us! What do we do NOT to mention that if this falls through we are out almost $500 for an appraisal that should NOT have been even ordered yet and our loan expires Oct. 11th so after the 10 day grace period we will have to pay over $190 every 10 days to keep this loan going when it should have been done already! Does anyone have any suggestions PLEASE!!

Alicia Mendoza September 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

Hi Mary, Thank you for sharing your situation with me. Because you don’t have a written approval in place just yet, this short sale unfortunately is not going to be completed until then. Assuming that it was a “verbal” approval from the bank’s negotiator (not just a hunch that came from the listing agent) back on August 8th, then I would really put the pressure on the listing agent to clearly explain what steps he/she has taken to escalate this issue at the bank, as well as to describe the conversations and responses that have occurred between the listing agent and the bank. If all that is happening is just “waiting for the bank to get around to your file” to get that written approval out, then chances are this short sale file is stuck on someone’s desk and lost in the shuffle, as it has been over a month since you were informed that this short sale was good to go. I think to keep you from losing more money and to keep your stress level to a minimum, you are going to have to make a decision as to how much longer you are going to wait on this short sale and ultimately accept that perhaps the money you have already spent on this purchase is just part of this less-than-perfect homebuying experience. Please do discuss this with your agent of course, and together you can decide on how best to proceed. Good luck.

Diana September 12, 2011 at 7:52 am

I am in the process of buying a short sale. We made an offer on July 8th and on August 19 we received a counter offer and by the 23rd we accepted the counter offered and sign the amendment. We are now waiting on the approval letter from BOA to start the closing process. Does anybody know up to how they can take to issue an approval letter. It is quite frustrating because my lease expired and I have been 2 month over a friend’s house. Thank you

Alicia Mendoza September 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Hi Diana, Thank you for your inquiry. I’m not sure what’s going on with Bank of America lately, but it seems to be taking a lot longer to go from the counter offer phase to getting the written approval letter. Earlier this year I could get it within a day or so. Right now I’m representing buyers where we’ve been waiting now for almost 2 weeks! It also depends on whether it’s a HAFA short sale or traditional short sale, as well as who the investor is, who the negotiator is that is assigned to your file, and whether the listing agent is staying on top of the file to escalate it as necessary. One of my clients is literally sleeping in a tent in the back patio of a friend’s little condo due to a similar situation as you with the lease expiring. Perhaps ask your agent to find out what the listing agent is doing to escalate the issue and determine what is causing the delay. If the matter hasn’t been escalated, ask your agent to encourage the listing agent to do so now. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you.

Diana September 30, 2011 at 7:22 am


Thank you for your response. So I got the approval letter on tuesday! yey. Now how long does it take until I can close and move to the new house. Is there any problems I might face from now?

Alicia Mendoza October 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Hi Diana, Congratulations on getting your approval letter! The timing from that point until closing escrow should then be very similar to the process as if it were a regular sale — basically the bank gave the green light to the owner to sell the house to you, so now you just need to do all your due diligence as you normally would in purchasing a home. Good luck and congratulations again!

Brad Sanders August 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I’m actually shocked that many of you have already heard something or closed within 5 months! I understand these things can take 4-9 months on average at this point in time. Mine has been under contract since February 5, 2011 and still no approval, and that was for a “Pre-Approved” short sale with one lender (BOA) where they had supposedly already approved the price that I offered and the sellers accepted. Coming up on 7 months I’m finally running out of patience, all I hear is “they requested another HUD-1″ or “it’s in underwriting” which could take another “15-30 days” which was about 2 months ago. Would you recommend trying to obtain sellers consent to contact BOA directly so I can try nagging them to death?

Alicia Mendoza August 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Hi Brad, thank you for sharing your situation. It sounds like there is something going on behind the scenes that the listing agent may not be sharing with you or doesn’t know about. In my opinion, a strong listing agent would work with the bank to try to find out WHY another HUD-1 would be requested and/or escalate this file to upper management or others who can actually get you all some answers in a timely manner. I suggest that you ask your agent to dig into this more deeply and put more pressure on the listing agent to get some answers for you and get this file back on track. I’m sorry that you have to go through this. It’s not uncommon for these files to fall through the cracks, which is why it’s so important that the listing agent be very good at staying on top of things. Good luck to you.

E. Hay August 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Alicia, I am so glad you had a pleasant experience with BOA on a short sale. Our personal experience as a seller has NOT been pleasant. We have no option to stay in our home due a job loss and subsequent relocation for a new job. We have been waiting to have a negotiator assigned to our short sale since mid-June. We have sent paperwork on multiple occasions, kept bank statements and pay stubs up to date, called regularly (at least once per week) to be told that yet another piece of paper is missing, or that we have not given them the full “7 business days” to get a negotiator assigned. That “7 business days” is now past the 2 month mark. Our listing agent calls them once a week, also. We could NOT be in any more regular contact with them unless we call every day. During today’s phone call to them we requested to speak with a supervisor and were put on hold to have the same agent deliver a message from her supervisor that was simply the same we have been hearing all along.

Needless to say we are completely frustrated, living in cramped quarters in our new city, and having to put family members into the work force (that were not supposed to be working) just to be able to pay the mortgage in one state and rent in our current state of residence.

If you have any helpful hints to the rest of us waiting patiently-impatiently, please share. I am marking time until our apartment lease is up and contemplating a strategic foreclosure.

Alicia Mendoza August 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Hi E. Hay, thanks for your comment. Are you utilizing Equator (online portal) in order to submit these documents? Or are you giving these documents to your listing agent to submit to BofA? Perhaps check with your listing agent on exact dates that paperwork was submitted and then confirmed to be received by BofA. Even though this process started in mid-June for you, the delays with providing all the extra documents thereafter probably didn’t help things along. Do you already have a buyer in place? If so, there is additional info needed from the buyer as well in order to get things moving forward. If you and your listing agent believe that BofA has had everything they needed for the past week or two, then I would start calling in more frequently to find out what the status is in the system from BofA’s point of view. You may have been put off by this last customer care representative, but sometimes if you call in again immediately thereafter even, you may get to another person who is more helpful. Hopefully your listing agent can help you out some more on this. Good luck and please take care.

Victor August 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

Hi Alicia, Do you know if one should try to make payments between the issuance of the approval letter and closing? Is payments no longer expected after the approval letter is issued. They must have figured this into their estimated closing costs. Currently about 60 days late. Thanks V.

Alicia Mendoza August 16, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hi Victor, I cannot advise you regarding making your payments. With a short sale, you are settling on an amount that is less than the loan balance. Unless you have some type of variable loan structure of some sort, your loan balance probably hasn’t changed since you started missing payments. Good luck and thank you for your inquiry!

Barbara Miller August 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

BOA….vultures, that’s what they are. I’ve been thru the ringer with them and their affiliates at AMS. Lost my job in August 2009. Immediately contacted BOA to see what my options were (I’m a single mom and the only source of income for my home). Sorry…nothing we can do for you. Months later, discovered HAMP….applied and after having to submit my paperwork for approval several times because they kept “showing no record” even though I have Fedex confirmation of delivery…was finally approved for modification. (This process took about 5-6 months). The modification = over $300 more than my current payment. Really? So the next step, apply for HAFA to short sell my home. Again after submitting paperwork a few times because they couldn’t seem to send me a list of everything I needed to submit, I was finally approved for a short sale. Listed the house for the amount they advised and within a week had an offer. Yeah….so I think, NOT! Now, four months, dozens of phone calls later by myself and the law firm handling my negotiations, 2 demands for more money from the buyers by BOA…which the buyers agreed to, complete incompetency by the agents at AMS, no approval or refusal of the sale….BOA sends me a letter this weekend stating that I am no longer eligible for participation in HAFA because my agreement has expired. I am also no longer eligible for the deed in lieu option under HAFA either. The moral of the story…BOA will delay as long as possible so they can look like they are a willing participant in this program, but they really aren’t. I guess they want another empty house on the market in Michigan….I just don’t get it.

Alicia Mendoza August 16, 2011 at 9:04 am

Hi Barbara, I’m so sorry that your experience has been so negative with Bank of America. I assure you that my experience as a real estate agent working with these banks hasn’t been all hearts and flowers either. The bank is a business, and so their dealings with you have to make financial and business sense for them. I don’t know what we going on behind the scenes when it came to your loan and property, but it sounds like a lot of things fell through the cracks. Perhaps call into BofA one more time and explain the situation to the customer care person (or if you already have a negotiator involved, contact that person and/or his/her supervisors). Explain your situation (try to stay cool throughout it all, or have your attorney contact the bank instead), and try to get HAFA reinstated for you. If not, then you may have the option to do a traditional short sale. For a traditional short sale, you won’t have to deal with AMS Servicing, which may reduce all the finger-pointing that may be going on between BofA and AMS Servicing when it comes to your file. Good luck, Barbara!

Holly August 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

Hi Alicia. It sounds like you have quite a bit of experience with these sorts of sales, unfortunately in our case it feels like no one knows what they are doing… My husband and I have had a contract on a home since May, and we still have not closed. We have been told that the offer was accepted in Experian and that it would take about 2 weeks to get the final approval letter. Two weeks past and just today we got an email that the documents were sent for upper management signatures, and it was sent back because within this 2 week period, there was a foreclosure auction scheduled (Aug 5th). The auction did not happen, but apparently there is a waiting period after any scheduled foreclosure auction, so they were unable to sign the approval letter. Have you heard about this sort of thing? No one seems to know what this waiting period is, they say “in about 5 days” we can submit again for signatures. Then it goes to their closing dept to coordinate closing? Any idea how long we might be waiting on this house? We are worn out, tired of living out of suitcases with our family, and just ready to get settled.

Alicia Mendoza August 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hi Holly, Thank you for sharing your situation and for your inquiry. Unfortunately waiting 3 months (since May) is not unusual when it comes to getting approval on short sales in general. While BofA may have improved some of their processes over the past few years, it certainly is not a well-oiled machine, and a lot of files do end up “falling through the cracks.” When it comes to these 2 week “deadlines” that you’re being told, most likely they are just estimates from the listing agent/negotiator who’s basing that timeline on previous experience. Regarding this 5 day waiting period, I’m not familiar with that guideline, at least as it pertains to properties in California. It could be that it pertains to a guideline provided by the investor, not BofA. Either way, it sounds like the people who are working the short sale on behalf of the seller are continuing to do what they can to push this forward, so that’s hopefully a bit of good news for you. I realize how frustrating it is to live out of your suitcase and not have your own home yet. I would be more conservative with your expectations and probably project that you’ll get a response (hopefully an approval!) by end of this month or early September, and, if approved, probably close escrow in early to mid-October. If you’re thinking about fixing up the house after you close escrow, you’ll want to budget some extra time for that as well (and renovations tend to take longer than the amount of time that your contractors tell you). I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but you may want to consider alternative living arrangements to last you through November. It could certainly be much shorter, but I think you’ll reduce your stress levels a bit by being open to accepting a potential November move-in. If you end up moving by October, even better. But hang in there — the property wasn’t auctioned off, so that’s great news, and it shouldn’t be long now before the bank provides you with a response. Ask your real estate agent to keep you updated often too; I’ve been told by some buyers that their agents hardly communicate with them during this waiting process, and to me that just makes it so much more stressful for you as the buyer. Good luck and I hope to hear back from you with good news soon!

Bruno July 26, 2011 at 7:36 am

Reading your story about your experience brings me some hope. I made an offer on a BOA owned house on april 27th, they said it would take around 2 weeks to look into the offer, finally by may 25th my realtor received an e-mail from BOA that the offer has being approved and the closing date should be before june 30th. Today is already july 26th and we still havent received a approval letter from BOA. My mortgage is ready and only waiting for this letter and it seems that no one can reach BOA customer service centers and speak with a person. I wonder if there are many cases like this out there. I already spent about 1000 dollar on appraisal, building inspection and city COs and it seems that this will never finish. Any thoughts? By the way, I hear that the HAFA package on the house will expire on august 3rd.

Alicia Mendoza July 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Bruno, Thank you for sharing your situation. If this is a HAFA short sale through Bank of America, it is probably being handled by a 3rd party service that BofA works with for handling HAFA short sales (vs. traditional short sales). Part of the issue may be that there is a disconnect between BofA and that 3rd party service that is truly handling the short sale. That happened with me with my last HAFA short sale listing. Approved HAFA short sales can be extended beyond the 120-day marketing period, but that again will need to be worked on by the listing agent. Perhaps have your agent ask the listing agent specifically about these items and the course of action that the listing agent is currently taking to get this short sale closed. It sounds like you’re almost there. Good luck!

KC July 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hi! We found out it was a HAFA short sale. How does that affect the process!

Also we found out 3 days ago that BofA countered our offer. The did not counter our price, but some fees. We are not sure what fees, but that is what the listing agent said. He aside they need to verify what they will and will not pay for. What does that usually mean? Is this a good sign? How much longer do you think will we have to wait to hear a response? Also, how long does it typically take to get written approval? We are trying to be patient. Thanks so much for your help. The information is great.

Stephanee July 19, 2011 at 6:46 am

We put an offer on a short sale end of April. B of A approved our offer, and the short sale, about 2 weeks ago. We are just waiting for the closing docs so we can start escrow. How long, typically, does it take to receive the closing docs after B of A approves the SS? This is a cash deal, if that makes a difference. Thanks

Alicia Mendoza July 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hi Stephanee, Thank you for your inquiry. Congratulations on getting the short sale approved! As for the closing docs, that would be all part of the escrow process, which BofA would not be involved with. I would check with your agent to find out what’s going on with escrow. Good luck!

Delia July 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I’am so happy for you!!! because for me still a nightmare…a short sale with Bank of America…two months and I didn’t receive nothing for this people…so FRUSTRATED because my lease almost done…I need to move… I think this process is not good!!!! They need to do something better!!!

Alicia Mendoza July 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

Hi Delia, I would check with your real estate agent to find out what the hold up is. There are so many people involved in a short sale that sometimes you as the buyer may not get the full story because there are 5 other people that the news had to go through beforehand. Good luck!

Greg Worley June 28, 2011 at 11:25 am

I just don’t get BOA. We accepted their counter over 2 months ago after 4 BPO’s and providing supporting sale document from across the street. 2nd has been cleared. We were told we would have decision in writing…6/1…….still no decision but we got an addendum to sign last Friday. When can we expect this to close?

Alicia Mendoza July 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Hi Greg, thank you for sharing your situation. Gosh, what a long process for you! Do you know who told you that you’d have a decision by 6/1 – was it your agent? Was it the listing agent? If this is a traditional short sale, that date might have just been an assumption from either your agent or the listing agent. I haven’t experienced BofA giving me any definite deadlines throughout a traditional short sale while in negotiation; only once we had an approval letter was there a definite deadline to close escrow. If it’s a HAFA short sale, that’s a different story because there are distinct deadlines defined within that program. Unfortunately I can’t even guess for you when you’ll close escrow because of all the back and forth that has been going on with this short sale. It seems that there was something going on behind the scenes — either a negotiator was switched mid-way through the process, or the home was up for foreclosure and the foreclosure date had to be postponed in the meantime, or perhaps this investor is difficult to reach in order to make a decision, or it could be something else that has been causing the delay. There seems to be more to the story here that hasn’t been communicated to you. Perhaps ask your agent what’s been going on and see if he/she can at least provide you with an explanation. There are a lot of parties in between you and the bank, so somewhere along the way there seems to be a disconnect. I think as a buyer and consumer, you should at least know where you stand, even if you just find out that the file is currently in review by the investor, who is taking a long time to review it. That’s better info than being left completely in the dark. Good luck to you on this one — you have incredible patience, but it will hopefully pay off soon.

KC June 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Hi! We are in the process of trying to buy a home through a short sale. We submitted our offer 43 days ago. We just got word today that B of A completed the valuation and it is awaiting analysis. How long does it usually take after that??????

Also, we offered over the listing price and it is the highest that we will go. You mentioned B of A usually counters. What happens if we are not willing to go any higher??

Alicia Mendoza July 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Hi KC, Thank you for sharing your story and for your inquiry. If this is a “traditional” short sale with BofA (e.g., not a HAFA short sale), I would expect another 2-3 weeks for a response from BofA now that the valuation (aka Broker Price Opinion, or BPO) has been completed. It could be longer, depending on whether there is more than one lienholder involved and who the investor is behind the note. As for a counter offer from BofA, it may come in the form of a price change, a change in broker commissions, a change in fees that BofA will pay for, etc. BofA may not counter the price but may counter some of these other items, so it may not be an issue for you. But if BofA does come back to you wanting a higher price, you should work with your real estate agent to convey to the listing agent what your financial limits are. If BofA won’t take anything less after the listing agent goes back to the bank with your response, then you’ll have to decide whether to stick with it and find a way to make it work, or you walk away. It’s still a negotiation like any other sale, it’s just that BofA is the one you’ll have to answer to now, instead of a regular seller. And the listing agent is the one who holds the “key” to your success, since they are the ones negotiating with BofA for everyone (or they have hired a separate negotiator to deal with BofA). I must reiterate that this info is based on my experience with short sales in the past few years. Good luck to you! I hope it all works out.

Emily June 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Just curious, did the seller have any documents supporting the fact they would not be persued for the deficiency? Were your clients enrolled in the Cooperative Short Sale program with BOA? Right now I am a seller with a realtor who has never heard of this “Cooperative Short Sale ” program through BOA, and I am a little weary of the claim that they will not peruse any deficiency as I have just had a cash offer. If they were “enrolled” would you please give me a little bit of detail as to the documents BOA provided. To date I have only signed an Acknowlegement of Interest and have obeyed the terms there in, however I have not received any other documentation supporting this claim. I would really appreciate any and all advice! Thanks

Alicia Mendoza June 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Hi Emily, Thanks for your comment. For the short sale I wrote about in this blog post, it was not the Coop Short Sale program with BofA. When it came to having BofA and investor waive the right to pursue a deficiency judgment, since this was just a traditional short sale, that determination wasn’t provided in writing until we actually received written approval. And even once we got written approval, I had to fight for the deficiency judgment waiver and have that approval updated in writing before we agreed to continue with the short sale. Keep in mind that, if you’re not doing a short sale under a program like HAFA or some other program that requires for BofA to waive their right to a deficiency judgment, there’s no guarantee that it will happen. Perhaps discuss this further with your real estate agent again, or maybe you can contact BofA yourself to find out what programs are available to homeowners nowadays. Good luck!

Marie June 7, 2011 at 12:07 am

Just curious if Bank of America requested the Sellers to come up with some additional $$ for the second lien?? We are in the final stages of a Short Sale, both liens are with B of A. Buyer offered $430K for home, Property Taxes value the home at $405K, Zillow zestimates it at $404K…. Now B of A is now asking $11K from the Seller, who has no $$.

Alicia Mendoza June 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hi Marie, Regarding the short sale referred to in this post, BofA did not request for the sellers to contribute to the 2nd. It depends on who the investor is for the 2nd loan. Just try to dispute this as best you can with the negotiator. The truth is, this short sale won’t work for anyone if the seller has to contribute. I try to be as concise with my questions and requests as possible, often asking open ended questions so that I don’t just get a “yes” or “no” answer. Good luck!

Steve Houston May 9, 2011 at 6:57 am

Well, here’s our experience. During the first week in December, 2010, we made a short sale offer on a property with two B of A mortgages. All cash, 10% cash deposit. The only contingencies were an inspection, review of CC&R’s and HOA documents, etc.

We finally closed a bit over a week ago, so almost exactly five months. We were dealing through a realtor, who had to deal through two selilng realtors, one each for the seller and the bank, and worse yet, the bank’s realtor had to deal with a “negotiator.” We had to do numerous extensions, supply bank and brokerage statements at least twice to prove we had the cash, and in the end the bank’s realtor told me it took 4 or 5 signatures to approve what we believe to be about a $700M loss.

I would rather walk over broken glass than ever go through this again. What’s funny is in the end, the bank finally approved exactly the price we offered 5 months ago. So, in other words, the bank could have had their money by say the first week in January.

I’d rather walk over broken glass than ever go through this again.

Side note. For a bank the size of B of A, with the mortgage problems they have, there should be officers with authority to approve short sale losses of this amount with only one, or at worst, two signatures.

Alicia Mendoza June 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Hi Steve, Thank you for sharing your short sale experience with BofA. Indeed, the road is never easy for anyone involved in the short sale. I just hope that you’re happy in your new home. Congratulations on that!

Alicia Mendoza November 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Hi Barbara, I don’t think there is any major significance for the bank wanting the listing agreement again…unless there were terms that had to be changed as part of the listing agreement that you as the buyer aren’t subject to knowing at this point. Either way, you seem so incredibly close! It took about a month for the approval letters to be issued after agreeing upon terms for the last 2 BofA short sales that I was involved in (representing the buyers). Not unusual right now (unfortunately). Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving too and best wishes to you!

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