fannie mae short sale

A Ditech Short Sale in Elk Grove That Seterus Tried to Hijack

ditech short sale

Green Tree short sales are now Ditech short sales and not any easier.

In case you don’t know, Green Tree short sales are no more, and the company name has changed to Ditech. I predict this is not the last Ditech short sale I will see. Many real estate agents in Sacramento discovered Ditech when their borrowers dumped our local lenders and opted in for a sparkly shiny new mortgage company they found online, which on many occasions could not perform. I personally recall having several transactions held up because the Ditech mortgage guys were not familiar with our local appraisers nor how we do business in Sacramento, and it caused complications. Hopefully they are better now, but I haven’t run into a mortgage through Ditech for years.

This is a story of a short sale in Elk Grove that has so many bizarre twists, I hardly know where to start, so I will start at the beginning. I listed this home in November of 2014 and it took us 4 months to get an offer anywhere near the comparable sales. We received 4 or 5 offers, all around 80% of market value, which banks don’t take. I’ve been selling short sales for 10 years and have closed more short sales than any other agent in a 7-county area of Sacramento. That makes me the top short sale Realtor for Sacramento. I don’t know if it’s the buyer’s agents or the buyers themselves who don’t understand how short sales work, but I’ve been doing it long enough that I know better than to throw lowball offers at the bank and hope they will stick.

One Sacramento agent even admitted that’s his method of operation. Throwing crap at the wall to see if it sticks. He says he always takes the first lowball and sends it to the bank and then when it’s rejected, he know how much the bank wants, so he changes the price and puts the home back on the market. That seems so defeatist to me. Why not do your homework that you’re trained and paid to do, figure out market value (based on condition) and sell the home ONCE? That makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it?

We sent the offer and HUD to the first lender, which was good old’ Seterus, and the investor was Fannie Mae. In reviewing the file now, I see we received the payoff from Seterus a few days after we received the short sale approval letter, although the payoff was dated the day prior to the approval letter. This tells me that Seterus knew how much it was owed. Instead, it sent a short sale approval letter for $100,000 more than its payoff. Seriously. If it was owed $155,000, for example, it approved the short sale by accepting $255,000. If this makes your head hurt, it’s because the first mortgage was NOT short. I guess Seterus just found a way to collect an additional $100K or they can’t read, and I’d hate to think they can’t read their own payoff statements.

The seller had owned this property for more than 15 years. There were many refinances and a subordination refinance in the public records. The seller hadn’t made a payment in so long that we had no mortgage statements, and although requested from Seterus, we did not receive the payoff until after the short sale approval was issued. There was no way we could have accurately predicted the payoff was so low as to not make this a short sale unless we prematurely paid for a prelim, which we don’t do, and even then, we still need the beneficiary statement.

We told Seterus no thank you to the short sale and proceeded with Green Tree, which held the second loan. It took Green Tree from February to the end of July to issue the approval letter and it bumped up the price by $10,000, during which time the company morphed into Ditech and this became a Ditech short sale. Then, the buyer’s appraisal came in $10,000 less, right where the price should have been in the first place, which was the price we had originally submitted. We spent another month obtaining a revised approval from Ditech.

The Elk Grove short sale closed this week. This has been almost a year of hell for the seller but we got it done. The buyer waited almost 9 months to buy this Elk Grove short sale. They could have had a baby in that time. This is another reason to only sell the home once and to sell it to a committed buyer, if at all possible. And a listing agent’s odds and seller’s odds are increased if the buyer is willing to pay market value.

In closing, it’s interesting to note that Green Tree was fined $63 million for abusing customers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the FTC went after Green Tree for its deceptive business practices and harassment of borrowers. No joke, some of those negotiators at Green Tree would scream at us over the phone and threaten to cancel the short sale if we didn’t drop what we were doing and send in documents. My clients hated Green Tree with a passion. And now, they are Ditech.


A Short Sale Home in Fair Oaks with Two Loans Closed Fast

wild chickens in sacramento and molokaiAs I drove away from my closed listing of a short sale home in Fair Oaks yesterday, I wondered why I picked up the Supra lockbox. It’s not like I can use the lockbox for anything ever again now that MetroList has rescinded its agreement to allow us to continue using our Supra lockboxes until they die. I had more than 70 lockboxes and did not exchange them all in the rip-off 2 for 1 Supra lockbox exchange because MetroList promised we could keep them. Which means now I have about 40 lockboxes rolling around in my trunk that are useless because MetroList backpedaled.

Well, I do know why I picked it up. I retrieved my lockbox because I owed it to the new buyer of that home in Fair Oaks to retrieve. Because I have a responsibility to my profession. We, Fair Oaks Realtors don’t go around leaving our personal property attached to homes in Fair Oaks, even if it’s useless to us. I wonder, though, how many agents will just leave their lockboxes? You know how some agents are.

Homeowners can thank MetroList for all those abandoned lockboxes that I predict will be happening throughout Sacramento.

The home in Fair Oaks that just closed was a short sale I had listed in MLS on May 15th. It was a Fannie Mae short sale; Seterus was the servicer for Fannie Mae, and I’ve closed hundreds of short sales since 2006, which means I have knowledge other agents do not. One of the things I know about Fannie Mae is it does not want to see any offer prior to 5 days on the market, with at least 2 of those days the weekend. Makes sense, Fannie Mae expects decent exposure on the market, no side deals. I also have an account at Fannie Mae’s portal that keeps me up-to-date on new rules and where I expedite my short sales.

We had multiple offers, too, and chose the buyer most likely to wait for approval, which is the buyer whose agent is cooperative and submits the offer the way we need it submitted for approval. You’d be amazed how many agents contest what is actually in their best interest and their client’s best interest, but what can I say?

Come August 15th, 3 months later, we had closed escrow, and there were two loans on this short sale. I also hear agents say they don’t want to deal with two loans on a short sale, probably because they’ve had bad experiences. They haven’t worked with me. I do many short sales with two loans. It’s really no big deal.

I’d say 90 days from listing to moving out of the short sale home in Fair Oaks is a fairly decent approval process. I didn’t see the buyer yesterday or I would have thanked him personally for going into escrow with us. My seller is thrilled beyond being thrilled, and extremely relieved, and that’s the most important thing to me.

P.S. Look out for those chickens in Fair Oaks.

When a Short Sale Buyer Blows Off a Nationstar Auction . . .

participate in nationstar auction

There are benefits to registering for a Nationstar short sale auction.

This is a story of a Nationstar short sale for which the buyer did not register during the online auction and, as a result, did not participate in the online Nationstar auction. I always advise in-contract buyers to register for the online auction and to place a bid, even if it’s the identical amount that they’ve already offered, during the last few minutes of the auction. There are advantages. First, no 5% premium applies to a buyer who is in contract with a seller to buy a short sale. Second, upon winning the bid process, Nationstar promptly issues an approval letter within the week — OK, maybe another week or so when the investor is Fannie Mae, but still.

These particular buyers did not want to participate in the online auction. OK, they don’t have to. Nationstar doesn’t force them to register nor to bid. But the consequences that happen when they don’t is the approval process starts over and can take another 3 months to obtain the approval letter.

My experience has shown that a Nationstar auction typically doesn’t get a lot of action, especially when the reserve price is set so much higher than the initial starting point. I heard that N.A.R. has stopped shill bids from Nationstar now, so that helps as well. Plus, when you have Fannie Mae as the investor, you can be fairly well assured that Fannie Mae will set a reserve price on the high side of market. But buyers don’t always listen to the listing agent’s advice.

We had already lost one buyer in September who had made an offer and then immediately reneged. Some lame excuse about his parents not wanting him to buy a home. When my seller finally entered into a purchase contract with our new buyers, it was October of last year, a few weeks before Halloween. The Nationstar auction process did not take place until the last few days of December, that quiet time between Christmas and New Years when I flew off to Vanuatu, probably the very worst time of the year for an auction. But like I mentioned, the buyer did not register for the auction.

Green Tree was the second lender, the collection agency that has made enormous profits buying bad paper. Green Tree had previously issued approval, but since Nationstar had dragged its feet on the process, that loan went to charge-off status. Now, Green Tree wanted more money. On top of this, Nationstar came back to say Fannie Mae would not approve the buyer’s closing cost credit, and raised the sales price.

All of this happened because the buyer did not bid at the auction. Good thing the buyer still wanted the property from my seller. Six months from the date of the purchase contract we closed, and the buyer had to pay a higher price, plus wrap the closing costs into the loan. The moral of this story is if you’re trying to buy a short sale and are faced with an online auction from Nationstar, you may want to register and participate. You have nothing to lose but time. And quite possibly, money.

Closing a Bank of America Short Sale After Two Years

Bank-of-America short saleIt’s not really fair to call this a Bank of America short sale when in reality it is actually a Bank of America short sale with Fannie Mae as the investor, which is a different kind of animal from other types of Bank of America short sales. When Bank of America is merely the servicer, it means Fannie Mae short sales are handled differently. In fact, Fannie Mae now has its own website for submitting short sales, which tremendously expedites the process.

But the procedure and short sale process still needs to follow Fannie Mae guidelines, which at times, I realize, can be difficult for sellers and buyers to wrap their heads around. The valuation placed on some Fannie Mae properties astounds other real estate agents. I suspect it’s because we work under the premise that valuation means market value, like an appraiser would do it, but that’s not how Fannie Mae seems to work. Its valuation, I suspect, has more to do with whether it is more economically feasible to sell at its suggested valuation over being paid to do a foreclosure and, yes, banks make money on foreclosures.

This supposed simple short sale began life as a Cooperative Short Sale. I met with the sellers in August of 2012. We listed the home and signed the paperwork for the Bank of America short sale to proceed as a cooperative, with no financials, sort of a short path to a preapproval. REDC was involved as the third-party vendor, which added a bit of red tape, and what usually would take Bank of America 10 days ended up taking 45 days, but we eventually received a pre-approved price for a Cooperative Short Sale that was $80,000 over the comparable sales. Not yay for us.

That Fall 2012 Sacramento real estate market was one of the hottest markets I had seen for 7 years. We held numerous open houses that should have resulted in a half dozen offers and nothing. No nibbles. No offers. We finally accepted an offer we believed to be reasonable and submitted. It was rejected. Over the next two years, we submitted a total of 5 offers, each a little bit closer to the price Fannie Mae expected. At one point, on Thanksgiving Day, I kid you not, a guy from REDC called the sellers and threatened to close the file if the sellers didn’t immediately submit a document he suddenly wanted.

The home needed work. On top of this, the roof was shot and at end of life. This meant either we needed a buyer who would pay cash or a buyer able to obtain an FHA 203K loan. Investors called and begged us to take their offer. These buyers felt we were being obtuse and cruel but in reality, after 4 rejections from Fannie Mae, it became pretty clear even to the most dense of us that we had better the submit the offer Fannie Mae expected if we wanted to receive short sale approval.

At another point in this short sale, I made a deal with the third-party vendor hired for this Bank of America short sale and obtained verbal approval for a lower price from Fannie Mae. We submitted an offer at the slightly slower price, and Fannie Mae then promptly demanded another $5,000 on top of it. The investor walked. Over $5,000. I couldn’t believe it. This is a fabulous neighborhood in Carmichael, and many of the homes around this particular home are much larger and in better condition.

It was a little disheartening, listening to buyers after buyers yelling and screaming at me on the phone about why we refused to accept their offer. They called me names. They swore at me. They wrote mean emails about me. They insisted I was prejudiced against investors. They just could not understand that this was not my call nor my decision. They felt they knew better how short sales operate, even though they may have never dealt with a Bank of America short sale through Fannie Mae, and this Sacramento short sale agent has worked on Fannie Mae short sales for years.

We finally got to the point this summer when market value had moved up enough, even with the mounting repairs and required new roof, that a buyer who wanted to live in the home decided to make an offer. At list price. A foreclosure notice had already been filed and we were in the final 21-day countdown to a trustee’s auction. I cried, I pleaded. We then received approval from Fannie Mae on this Bank of America short sale in 18 days. It was a miracle.

And you know what’s really odd about this? This was the first time ever in which we were able to stop a trustee’s auction due to short sale approval. We were literally days from foreclosure, but once we received that short sale approval letter, all foreclosure proceedings had to cease due to the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. We were saved in the nick of time. I’ve always felt that the dual tracking portion of the law passed in 2013 was pretty useless about stopping foreclosure during a short sale because it doesn’t apply to short sales until January of 2018 (when we probably won’t need the law) unless we get short sale approval. Generally, by the time we get approval, we still have plenty of time to avoid the foreclosure, so it doesn’t matter.

But in this case, our California short sale law made all the difference in the world.

We closed today, 30 days later. See, this Sacramento real estate agent does not give up, regardless of what I have to go through to close a short sale, I hang in there and make it work for the seller. But no short sale should have to drag on for more than two years like this Fannie Mae / Bank of America short sale in Carmichael.

Closing a Short Sale with USAA

Short Sale Sign in SacramentoClosing a short sale with USAA when the loan is in second position and a hard-money loan is a lot different than closing a short sale with USAA when the loan is a first mortgage with this lender. If you don’t care about reading the particulars, then you might want to click the back arrow on my blog to read a more amusing piece because this one will give you nightmares.

I met with the sellers in February at their beautiful home in Natomas. They were the last holdouts of that community. Everybody else who bought when they did has since sold that underwater home and moved away. The neighbors who paid half a million are gone and replaced by college kids who party on rent free in the rentals recently purchased by their parents for about half that price. The demographics are remarkably changed.

They recalled our conversation later, the images and words still vivid in their minds. This would not be an easy short sale. It would involve stress. It might be tough. I gave it to them straight. But I believed it would close. I have not lost a short sale for a long, long time. It’s why people know me as the best Sacramento short sale agent in town.

The first lender was Green Tree and the investor Fannie Mae, easy to work with for a first mortgage. But the second lender, USAA, was much more difficult. I am used to the way lenders submit demand letters for much more than they are willing settle for, as that’s often a normal method of operandi. We negotiate a bit and they settle. But not USAA. They asked for an astounding amount of money, and issued an approval letter based on that amount, which is basically worthless.

Because the investor was Fannie Mae, the maximum they could receive was $6,000. California Civil Code 580e prevents the sellers from making a contribution or being required to pay anything extra above the proceeds of sale for the short sale. We argued. Eventually, we had received what amounted to as 4 rejections from USAA, each asking for a ridiculous amount of money to settle.

By that point, even my faith was beginning to tremble. I had to wrestle with do I tell the sellers or don’t I? I finally concluded they should know that we had a good chance it might not close. That was not a piece of information I should shelter them from because it was not my place to withhold those pertinent facts. It didn’t mean I was giving up by any stretch, but they needed to be prepared, just in case. They deserved to know my thoughts. Everything I had read about USAA indicated that USAA would not bend, but you can’t always believe online crap, especially from agents who don’t close very many short sales.

I pushed forward though. I sent a 5th request for short sale approval and explained all of the reasons why. Then, it was like an awakening in the Biblical sense. Trumpets playing. Clouds parted. And angels appeared. OK, I overslept. But the fact remains that USAA approved the short sale and accepted the $6,000 payoff. They just needed to deny it 4 times first, most likely in accordance with guidelines. We closed last week.


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