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Banks express hope for fed short-sale effort

WASHINGTON – Aug. 7, 2009 – The federal government is launching a program to simplify and speed up the short-sale process (about time) by providing standardized documentation, cash incentives to lenders, and a $1,500 moving allowance to borrowers. Holders of second liens will get up to $1,000 to relinquish their claims.

Banks say the short-sale process has been taking so long because both their employees and real estate practitioners are learning as they go. (you would think that after 2 full years of learning the banks would know what they are doing!!! I’ve have been working short sales for 2 years, it only took me 1 deal to know what needed to be done)

David Sunlin, vice president in charge of short sales at Bank of America, says he hopes the new government plan will help. “About half of short sales never close. We see it as a big lost opportunity, and we need to improve the rate we close them,” he says. (This is great, I wonder when BofA is going to put more staff on the job to improve this process, I was on hold at BofA for 40 minutes today and had to listen to “Press 5 to leave a message for a return call in 5 business days” In the end I gave up and sent a fax, who knows if I’ll hear back from them)

Wells Fargo says it has cut its short sale average turnaround time from 90 days to 30 days by preparing a guide from real estate practitioners and putting in place procedures to handle short-sale requests.

The federal government first announced its short sales initiative in May at the annual Washington meetings of the National Association of Realtors®.

There is a pilot program that has been running in Orlando for the past 3 months, they have been able to shorten the short sale process to 7 days! I don’t know why this program can’t be implemented by all banks. My only guess is waiting until it gets so bad that the Fed have to step in and pay the banks to fix the issue. Boy wouldn’t you like to own a bank…

I know with the 20+ short sale deals I’ve done in the past 2 years I could have generated more cash for the bank if they would have been able to approve the sale within 30-45 days. But because of the 3-5 months of waiting the buyers walked and we had to lower the price to find another buyer…

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