Countrywide - Bank Of America/short Sale / Incompetent Department and Service
Six months ago, at the end of January, my husband and I put an offer down on a house in Monroe, CT. We found out after negotiating a sale price with the sellers, the house would be going into short sale. We agreed to move forward with the sale and went to contract on February 20, 2009, putting down an additional 1.5% (as requested by their attorney). As of this date, the seller’s attorney has a total of $9, 550 in escrow ($3, 830 as initial deposit, $5, 720 at contract) toward the sale of this property in which we are not obtaining interest on. In addition, Countrywide (now Bank of America), has been giving us the run-around and has not been able to get anything completed on the sale of this home (see timeline below). Our whole team, including both our attorney and theirs, both sets of real estate agents, and both the seller’s and us, have invested so much time to help move things along with the bank but to no avail.
Every representative we speak with at the bank does nothing but add notes to our file based upon our conversations and we continue to receive false deadlines that are never adhered to by the bank. On top of this, we seem to be encountering a red tape nightmare. As you will see in the timeline below, we have completed all requests made by the bank in a most timely manner, and have been calling Bank of America almost daily to check on the status of things, and yet they still had a reason to move our file to the bottom of their endless pile due to an extremely unrealistic and unobtainable procedure on their end (see timeline beginning May 8, 2009). My husband and I feel hopeless and are trying everything possible to get some help to get this deal done. The seller’s have not been paying their mortgage on this house now for some time, so should we back out, the house will go into foreclosure. This obviously is a bad situation for all involved, especially Bank of America who has a solid, fair market offer (that is almost dead on with the appraisal) on the table for proposed sale of the property.
Listed below is a timeline of the events that have occurred thus far and have not amounted to any progress. We are concerned about missing out on the $8, 000 first time buyer tax credit that had given us incentive to buy in the first place, and about the now climbing interest rates. Being that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, we cannot lock in at a rate. We are becoming desperate…we love the property and would hate to have to walk away due to an inadequate, failing system that Bank of America appears to have functioning (or not functioning for that matter).
January 29: Offer accepted by seller
February 20: My husband and I go to contract for the purchase of the property with a sale price of $382, 000 (appraisal came in at $385, 000). Additional 1.5% deposit submitted (for a total of $9, 550) at signing. Contract is sent over to seller’s attorney, who sends along short sale package to Countrywide/Bank of America for approval.
March 3, 2009: Seller's Attorney indicates he was finally able to speak to someone at Countrywide/Bank of America in regards to the approval for the short sale. Unfortunately, he was told that they would not be able to give him an answer until March 19, 2009.
March 23, 2009: Seller's Attorney follows up with Countrywide. They have nothing to report other than that the file was assigned to someone in the short sale department on March 9, 2009, and that they have to give that person 30 days to review the file before we can contact them.
April 9, 2009: 30 day mark for Countrywide’s review process. Seller's Attorney speaks with Countrywide who informs him that we should have some response or information in the next day or two. They asked that he call back again tomorrow.
April 10, 2009: Seller's Attorney contacts Countrywide again and speaks with someone who informs him that they are expediting the matter and bringing it to the attention of a manager because of the length of time it has been in their system. They ask that he call back on Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week, at which time they hope to have assigned a negotiator to discuss the file with him.
April 16, 2009: Seller's Attorney speaks with Countrywide again today and is told that the BPOs have been submitted (they were actually submitted in March) and the next step is to be assigned to a negotiator. Three times in the past 6 days, the 10th, the 14th and the 16th, Countrywide has told the Seller's Attorney that they were "escalating" the matter to get a supervisor to look over the file and make sure a negotiator is assigned and nothing has been done.
April 22, 2009: Seller's Attorney receives call back from Countrywide who informs him they are moving the file along through their system but do not have more to report. They claim to be doing all they can.
May 1, 2009: A negotiator has finally been appointed and the Seller's Attorney was provided with a name and an email address. Countrywide instructed the Attorney that he is not to contact the negotiator for ten (10) business days.
May 5, 2009: Countrywide requests updated documents from Seller's Attorney including a HUD-1 form, latest listing agreement, and seller's expenses from their agent. Deadline given by Countrywide for this updated information is May 13, 2009.
May 8, 2009: Attorney faxes over updated documents (requested on May 5, 2009) to Countrywide, following procedure as they had dictated to him.
May 9, 2009: Countrywide called seller's agent, to arrange the BPO and have house inspected that same day. Two agents came to the property to complete the BPO the following Tuesday (May 12).
May 22, 2009: Seller's Attorney informs us that he spoke with Countrywide and they have declined the short sale and closed out the case because they did not receive the updated documents they requested by deadline. According to Countrywide, they need 7-10 business days to scan the documents into their system (after receiving the fax) and therefore, do not recognize the documents as received until May 18th, even with them having been sent over only 3 days after their initial request, on May 8, 2009. Attorney fights this (being that this procedure was never communicated nor would it have been possible to get them the information on time even if they had provided them the documents on the same day they requested) and they agree to reopen the case and assign us back to the prior negotiator. We cannot call the negotiator for 3-5 business days.
May 29, 2009: Seller's Attorney calls Countrywide (now transitioning over to Bank of America) to follow up with the negotiator in which he is now told that they are assigning the case to a different negotiator and that he cannot call him until Friday, June 5, at the earliest. Countrywide informs him that our file went back to the end of the line and it would be 15 business days since we got back in the line last week. Bank does acknowledge that they have all the appraisals they need and for the first time they asked for the price of the sale and the identity of the buyer.
June 3: Seller's Agent begins calling every day (taking over due to Attorney's frustration with the inadequate service). She is told today at 2pm that the computers are down and they instruct her to call back later. She calls again at 5pm and 7pm and computers are still down.
June 4: Agent calls Bank of America at 9am and computers are still down. She procedds to call every 2 hours throughout the day and they remain down.
June 10: Agent connects with Bank of America and is informed that they have all of the paperwork but they need the sellers to call the home retention representative to give an updated financial statement and fax over their May pay stubs. Once that is done, the file will advance to Phase 2, in which they will process all of the information that they already have (and have requested over the past 5 months). Per Bank of America, the appraisal was already done and came in good. Also per Bank of America, if we continue to call daily, there is a possibility we can get the deal done in a month.
June 11: The Sellers speak to the home retention representative as Bank of America instructed and completed the verbal financial statement with them. May pay stubs were faxed to a woman named Kathy's attention. Kathy confirms receipt.
June 16: Agent speaks with the Bank of America who informs her that they had not yet gotten the May check stubs in the system which were faxed over last week…said it usually takes 7-10 days before its in the system and asked them to fax Junes statement just in case, this way it won't hold up anything else from moving forward (which we did). Bank of America says they are sending the file to the escalator.
June 19: Agent speaks with a representative at Bank of America who informed her they were reviewing the file and would be making a decision and passing along to a negotiator that day (Friday) or Monday.
June 29: Bank of America called agent to request a revised offer agreement so that the numbers match that which is listed on the HUD form.
June 30: Updated documents requested on the 29th were revised and sent over to the bank.
July 7: Agent speaks with Jocelyn at Bank of America. She checks and confirms that all information was received. Jocelyn apologizes for the file taking so long and says she will put in a request to escalate to the negotiator. Agent continues to call daily. Negotiator that was promised by June 22nd (the latest) has still not been assigned.
July 8: Agent speaks with Christine at Bank of America. Christine says there is a new way to escalate to the negotiator and it will take 2 days…by Friday we will have a negotiator. She instructs agent to call again on Friday.
July 10: We have a negotiator, Robert Smith (that can only be contacted via email). Agent emails him and attached all appropriate documents just in case (contract, HUD form, etc).
July 15: Agent speaks to representative with Bank of America who identifies that the file is with the negotiator in Phase 1 (which means he is reviewing the file to make sure all the paperwork is there) and then it will go to a Phase 2 negotiator who does the final approvals. We are informed that the Phase 1 process can take up to 30 business days until it goes to Phase 2 negotiator.
As you can see, we appear to be getting the run-around with Bank of America and are extremely frustrated with the lack of progress this file has made since the signing of the contract back in February 2009. As referenced, the purchase price on this property is at the appraised value, and all paperwork needed is completed in the file. There seems to be no sense of urgency on the bank’s end especially when our efforts have been tireless. The unoccupied property is now unmaintained and we are about ready to walk away from this deal. We thought we would put one last ditch effort in to see if anyone can help to move this forward. We understand Bank of America is extremely backed up but this business practice is completely unacceptable. Should I provide my clients with this lack of service, I would be out of business and out of a job.
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