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.
It's unbelieveable that we're all in the same boat. Here is the update on the above complaint I originally posted...as you can see, we seem to finally be moving somewhere but I have lost all confidence that this deal will actually happen by the deadline we have now set will all parties involved.
July 15 (part 2): My husband and I drafted an email complaint and sent to upper management at Bank of America (including the CEO and head of their Mortgage Division). Of course we did not receive a response, however, one of those that we emailed forwarded our message along to a Cindy Repreza in the BOA Customer Advocacy Group. Cindy emailed my husband the following "Bank of America understands the urgency of each case and it is our intent to provide our customers with the best possible solutions within the most efficient time frame. Please contact me direct at 1.800.669.2443 extension 3542 to discuss your short sale request." The seller's agent then left an extended message on Cindy’s voicemail hoping she would help. Received no response this day.
July 16: Seller's agent calls Cindy Repreza several times today and finally gets a voicemail back - they continue to plan phone tag for the day.
July 17: No response back from Cindy on the last message the seller's agent left. My husband called and left a follow up message for Cindy today as well as did our agent.
July 20: Our agent speaks with a representative at BOA who confirmed it would be 15 business days from July 9th before our file would be moving to the phase 2 negotiator (not 30 as originally stated). Our agent asked if she could speak to the negotiator and was told that he would contact her if he needed additional info (wouldn't transfer over). We have still not heard back from Cindy.
July 22: Buyer's agent emailed Robert (the negotiator) again this morning to get a status update. My husband also followed up with another email to the same upper management folks as well as Cindy to express our frustration with the lack of response from their "customer advocacy group". Cindy finally returns our calls and apologizes for the length of time it has taken her to get back to us. She stated that she has escalated our file to a VIP negotiator that will be assigned by tomorrow morning. If we do not hear from her tomorrow, we should call her back.
July 23: The most recent negotiator assigned to the case, Robert Smith, emailed the buyer's agent to say that the file had been reviewed. They are in need of 2 pdf documents that should be emailed over to him within 7 business days, the listing agreement and the 3rd party authorization. These are both emailed over the same day. We also receive the contact information for our new "VIP" negotiator, Danielle Parker (assigned to us by the Customer Advocacy Group)
July 28: Buyer's agent emails our new negotiator, Danielle Parker. Danielle calls her back but they miss each other.
July 29: No email or call back from Danielle.
July 30: Buyer's agent emails Danielle again and receives an email back at the end of the day to explain that she had "system problems" and would have an update shortly.
August 3: Our agent called both the short sale dept. and Danielle today in hopes of getting an update being that another week has gone by without any progress. I also called and left a plea message for Danielle as did the Buyer's agent who also sent Danielle another email.
August 4: No Update/response
August 5: I emailed Danielle in morning to ask for an update and confirm she received my voicemail on Monday. We did not hear back by COB so I called Cindy Repreza with the Customer Advocacy Group and logged my complaint. She emailed Danielle and asked her to call me. I received a call within 15 minutes of hanging up from Cindy. She expressed to me that she emailed the buyer's agent last week to let her know new BPOs were needed on the house (this email was never received and I communicated that to her. The only update we had from her was on July 30th in which she stated she was having system problems and would be getting back to us shortly). Danielle apologized and put a rush order on the BPOs (now our 3rd set to be completed on this house because the other 2 are outdated). She informed me that after she receives those reports she needs to rework the numbers and send out her recommendation to Fannie Mae who will then have to approve the short sale.
August 6: My husband and I officially set a deadline (Labor Day'09) for approval on the short sale. We are expecting a baby in December and can no longer risk not having a home come late fall. We emailed our deadline to our agent who in turn forwarded to both attorneys, the seller's agent and Danielle Parker at BOA.
August 7: Two agents complete the BPO’s (via Rush order from BOA) today.
August 10: Seller's agent emailed negotiator to confirm she received BPOs and get a status update. Never heard back
August 11: Seller's agent emails negotiator again…never hears back.
August 12: I leave a message for negotiator due to lack of response. Do not hear back.
August 13: Buyer's agent sends an email to negotiator to follow up. Never hears back.
August 14: I emailed negotiator to follow up on my voicemail from Wednesday - do not hear back. Our agent calls the Customer Advocacy Group again and speaks with Cindy who in turn emails the negotiator to give a status update to our team today by COB. No response received from negotiator following this call.
August 17: Negotiator finally calls seller's agent back and indicates she was out of the office sick and in the hospital most of last week. No one can cover her desk while she is out because they are each assigned specific cases. She was submitting our packet today to the mortgage insurance company who then has 4-5 days to review. Once she receives their approval, she will forward along to Fannie Mae. Negotiator asks that we stop bombarding her with calls/emails and that only the seller's agent contact her moving forward since she is the only one authorized on the account (she seemed annoyed that we keep getting their Customer Advocacy Department involved) and said we were just slowing things up.
August 18: Our attorney sends official note to the seller’s attorney requesting that they refund our deposit come September 7th if we do not have an answer.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.