I am a girl who grew up in a Real Estate driven family. My grandfather, John who was a Real Estate Broker in San Mateo, Ca used to tell me as a young girl that Real Estate can be summed up to Chicken. I never quite understood this statement, but I do now and feel compelled to share it with you, this was my grandfather's favorite statement about Real Estate, and I must say, I tend to agree: "Real Estate is all about Chicken. It's one week chicken and three weeks feathers." The story below will explain why this statement is so true!
Last week I went on my once a year vacation for a week, I am back and have already managed to get caught up, but of course there are a few files that encountered some new issues while I was away, worst of all, the problems all hit files that were short sale approved and due to close escrow, hence the reason I dubbed Short Sales as a roller coaster in my last entry. Here are the problems of the week I am working on ...
Let's see, one of my homes in Rocklin that is in escrow fell out yesterday because the buyer did not qualify for the loan, this is such sad news when something like this happens since the sellers have already moved out, our closing date was in sight and so much work has been put into the transaction so far. Fortunately, my buyer's agent, Agnes Worley had a back up buyer approved and ready to move into first place. She showed them the home again last night and this morning I have a new offer in hands to submit to the bank, we should be back to "smooth sailing" within another week. Having a strong team is the biggest blessing during situations like this one!
On another one of my approved escrows due to close on 8/15 in Roseville, Ca we found out while I was away that the HVAC system is shot and needs to be replaced, even though a few months ago we did an inspection on it and was told with some repairs it would work fine, my challenge now is to beg Bank of America to reduce the purchase price to cover this newest hurdle and allow us to close escrow. This particular short sale is a "dinosaur file", I started working on it last April and it has gone through the seller's bankruptcy, probably 8 different buyers (thanks to BofA's old policy of starting all over each time a buyer withdraws an offer, thank goodness that has changed now!) and the 2nd loan being charged off. It's going to take some serious skill to get the credit for HVAC approved, but I am up for the challenge.
Yet another one of my approved short sales with Bank of America has been placed on hold. I got word yesterday that we no longer have the OK to close escrow, the reason I was given by my closer was that the Bankruptcy the seller filed was not discharged, but it WAS discharged, months ago. I know this will be a fairly fast fix and everything will be resolved and back on track soon enough, but gosh Bank of America is not my favorite bank this week! I wish I could see the way they conduct business over there, there has GOT to be an easier way!!!
Oh the challenges I face as a short sale expert....it's enough to make a true pessimist out of anyone!
Now for the happy stories of the week!
*I just listed another home in Rocklin on Cameo Drive, and within 4 days from date of listing the home, we have 3 offers, to view this home and others go to my website and click the featured listings tab!
*A Bank of America HAFA short sale that I initiated about 3 weeks ago has already been approved for HAFA, so this may be a great sign that BofA may actually be catching up with Chase and Wells Fargo and getting a system lined up for the Hafa program that works! (I will not open the champagne yet until approval letter is in hand, of course!)
* My real estate team is continuing to grow! I have just added a new agent to my team and also just hired a new assistant who starts on Friday!
And this my friends will conclude my latest entry in my Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional. Remember, Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere! (916) 716-6512
If Real Estate was an amusement park, Short Sales would be the equivalent to the wildest roller coaster ride in the park. I have a transaction right now with a Bank of America 1st and a HSBC 2nd. I had an approval on this property about 2 months ago, for the same buyer, and when we got approval from the 1st they were only offering 6,000 to the 2nd, an amount that HSBC will not settle for, so we went back to Bank of America asking for additional funds to pay off the 2nd and were turned down, they told us they didn't care if the buyers, sellers or agents contributed the money, just that they simply would not, so I went into "negotiations" with the buyers agent, buyer and seller, and after scrambling for 60 days going back and forth from 1st lender to 2nd lender, buyer, seller and agent, the file was finally declined by Bank of America since we had not closed escrow on time, so we went back to the drawing board and everyone in the transaction came together and each contributed funds to HSBC to allow them to approve the file. Now, we have approval on both sides, the 1st and the 2nd only the taxes on the property were not covered by Bank of America. I brought this to my negotiator's attention today, and no joke, his email stated that he will decline the file because the 2nd is getting a cash contribution from the seller and Bank of America will not allow it. So now, after months of being told by Bank of America that they do not care how the 2nd gets the amount they want, just that they will not approve more than $6000 from their net, now I'm being told by this latest negotiator no?? Sometimes, it is just crazy the ways that the banks can be so greedy and spiteful that they hurt themselves along the way.
Now that I am done complaining about Bank of America, I will give them a little props. They just recently removed their policy of making you start the process over from day one when ever a buyer backs out on your listing. In the past, if you had a Bank of America short sale and your buyer walked on you, you would have to start from the very first step again (getting authorized) even if you were fully approved and in escrow. Effective a couple of weeks ago, they have finally set up a way that you can immediately submit a new offer to your negotiator when a buyer walks and not "lose your place in line" and have to start all over again. Let's give them some props! After all, It only took them 4 years to figure out what all the other banks have been doing!
Well, that concludes the latest entry in The Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional. Remember, Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere!
So, I have decided to turn my Blog into my own personal "Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional". I specialize in short sales, negotiate all my own deals as well as those for other agents so I see alot. My new goal will be to write a new adventure down at least every 2 days, hopefully every day.
Working as a Realtor in this market is a pretty bumpy ride, but I love it and am very proud to say that I have done more than survive in this down market.
On Monday, I received 4 short sale approval letters equaling over 1 million in property values, 2 of them were hafa approved short sales so my sellers will be collecting $3000 for their cooperation in a short sale upon the close of escrow.
Many people think the hardest part of a short sale is getting an approval, but in my opinion it's just as challenging to keep your buyer engaged through the multiple weeks of negotiating with the banks and then once you get approval, the roller coaster ride really begins. Things go through your mind constantly like "does this buyer truly qualify for their loan?" "Is the home going to appraise at the approved price or will I be back at the drawing board next week fighting with the bank to reduce the purchase price to match the appraisal?" and best of all, "Was the buyer's agent honest each week when they confirmed their buyer was still interested, or is this buyer going to cancel and try to purchase the bank owned property across the street?" I am an expert who has truly seen it all and I have to say it's very frustrating to have a buyer cancel after months of work to get their offer approved. So, what can I do about it? I have recently started requiring that all the buyers on my short sale listings be pre-approved by my loan officer, Beth Bloom of Academy Mortgage since so many loan officers are way to fast in issuing an approval letter. This way, I know before I spend any time pushing the banks to approve this offer that my buyer can actually close the deal. A loan officer who tells you what you want to hear is not a value to your team or business and this is why I require my pre approvals with Beth, she will tell it how it is so at least you know the reality of the buyer you are working with. Please understand this requirement does not mean the buyers have to finance with Beth, only that they need to be pre approved by her in order to submit an offer, it is completely their choice on which lender to use. This has helped me ensure that once we have an approval, I know the buyer is qualified and the escrow phase will not be as bumpy. Sure, it's a little more work on the buyer's agent and buyer's side to get the offer submitted but we're all in this for the same end result, right? The transfer of keys from my sellers to your buyers. Agents: If you will be using this technique, chose your loan officer wisely. Don't chose the one who controls your pre-approvals based on "Freebies" but based on experience, chose someone you have worked with in the past who kept you updated and got the loan closed, on time and someone who has declined a potential lead because let's face it, not all buyer leads are gold so if your LO is telling you every single lead is a "slam dunk" you may be setting yourself up for a disaster down the road and countless wasted hours. (Just some advice from a girl who has tried it all in the last 5 years in this short sale market)
Curious about HAFA? This program is great for the seller in most situations, although some banks are still not cooperating in the program and give you little explanation to go back and share with your seller as to why. I have also noticed the procedure and time involved is a huge difference from bank to bank, even though it's all the same program, which is frustrating. For example, I just got a Hafa approved short sale from Wells Fargo in about 45 days, start to finish. Chase is usually about a 45-90 day approval process depending on who you get assigned to in the set up phase. Chase assigns a "set up" person to review the docs and make sure the file is complete before assigning it to a negotiator, the true "review" of the offer actually starts when the negotiator is assigned, so my best advice is send the best package in that you can. Bank of America's Hafa program is by far the worst I have encountered. While their traditional short sales (non-hafa) go through a fast and fairly painless review process and tend to be approved in about 45 days when running through Equator, their hafa program can drag on for months. I have one now I have been working since March and we're still barely getting updates. Opposite of Chase or Wells where you get the updates from the same person throughout the process, with Bank of America when you call in, they tell you that updates come from their HAFA dept, most commonly called LRC or UTLS. This "other dept" has long hold times, opposite updates from BofA and in general very frustrating updates. Example: This week I called BofA for an update on my hafa short sale and I was given a 866# with an extension to my "Hafa Negotiator" only to find out when I called that Bank of America's system was incorrect and I was assigned to a completely different person. I have also noticed multiple appraisals being done on the home because Hafa keeps requesting an appraisal or BPO, when BofA already has it completed and just have not updated that department. It's very frustrating as an agent to relay this kind of information to a seller in distress because sometimes it can easily appear that YOU are the one who is confused and making mistakes when really it's all just a case of "Too many Chefs in the Kitchen". I'm not saying it is impossible to get a hafa short sale approved with BofA, but I will say it is like comparing a Mole Removal Surgery to Open Heart Surgery. I truly wish they would get things together and find a way to incorporate their hafa updates through Equator.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed my first entry in my new Diary of a Busy Real Estate Professional. More updates to come soon! Remember, Friends don't let Friends go to Foreclosure, they refer them to Megan Laherrere!
Hurry While You Can!
2 New Homes Available for Buyers!
1. 7130 Carriage Drive, Citrus Heights, CA
Listing Price: $170,000
Go to Featured Listings Tab for Pictures!
2.4109 Northgreen Court, Carmichael, CA
Listing Price: $264,900
Go to Featured Listings Tab for Pictures!
Both of these homes just fell out of escrow!
Now is your chance to make an offer!
First Home: 3401 Duckhorn Drive, Sacramento
Second Home: 3105 Leiper Loop, Lincoln
Third Home: 8155 State Highway 193, Newcastle