Friday, July 15, 2011

Is B of A Finally "Getting It" on Short Sales?

Yes, it actually DOES look like Bank of America is finally getting their act together in the Las Vegas real estate market on short sales! We have seen a marked improvement in service and approval times over the past six months, and just recently B of A has rolled out two new changes to improve their image.

The first big change is their new Bank of America Cooperative Short Sale program, similar to the government's HAFA program (but hopefully much more effective!) B of A is now allowing sellers to apply for a pre-approved short sale prior to listing their home with a real estate agent and without a purchase contract. The seller must complete all the short sale documents including their hardship letter, and must submit all their current financials to the Bank. Once the bank reviews the seller's package, it is submitted to the investor holding the loan for final approval. If the seller is approved, they are given a guaranteed approved sales price AND they may also receive up to $2500 as a moving incentive, kind of a cash for keys.

Our first two attempts at this process have been resoundingly successful: both sellers were fully approved within three to four weeks of submitting their packages, and the prices were realistic. Both Las Vegas homes were placed on the market and both sold within a couple of weeks. One has already closed and the other is due to close next week.

This is a HUGE win for sellers, buyers, agents, lenders and title companies. As long as the sales contract follows the terms of the bank's approval, there is no more wondering for months on end if you even have a sale! Having guaranteed approvals on short sale will also reduce the number of homes for sale in Las Vegas in the near future. And it's smart on B of A's part, because a pre-approved short sale will garner a higher list price and improve their bottom line.

The second big change is that now Bank of America will allow back up offers to be submitted, so that if the first buyer walks or fails to qualify during the escrow, the second buyer's contract may be substituted without starting the approval process all over again. The listing agent can continue with the original transaction in Equator and still work with the same short sale specialist. This change will save several weeks of time by not having to repeat a number of the short sale process steps.

Since over half of Las Vegas short sales are being processed by Bank of America, this is GREAT news. Hopefully some of the other big banks will follow B of A's lead since the current government has already proven hopelessly inadequate for the task. Kudos to B of A for thinking outside of the box and keep it up.

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