I often use ‘dog years’ in reference to the short sale climate, as the SS processes, effectiveness, and headaches have adapted so dramatically in only two years. No more are the days where I must wake up at 2am to successfully send a fax to the bank, expect multiple hang-ups and lost faxes from the lenders, or have to explain what a short sale even is. No, now we are transmitting faxes at 10am on Tuesdays, (some) banks are getting us approvals within 30 days, and those of us that have been doing this for years have actually built friendships with many lender Negotiators!

The Good

To point out the most-extreme change, I’d like to call out Mathew Vernon’s operation at Bank of America. A year ago, ‘BofA’ was a literal and figurative four-letter word. Borrowers, servicers, and professionals cringed at the thought of calling them for their infamous hang-ups, lost faxes, 30 day response times, lack of internal communication, and talking out of both sides of their mouth. Now, BofA deals are the pick of the litter! Since Matt’s hiring as VP of REOs and Short Sales on a few months ago, he has hired a whole slew of employees, has stood square in front of 50,000+ RE professionals to hear their frustrations, and implemented third party management software (Equator) – which makes my life as a Negotiator worth living.

GMAC, Wells Fargo, and OneWest (IndyMac) are not far behind them in their improvements. Smaller banks that have improved dramatically are Aurora, ETrade, First Horizon, HomEq, and Ocwen. Of course, problems are certainly still prevalent, and these ‘improvements’ have brought about some of their own problems. These problems include loooooooong hold times, uneducated negotiators, BPO Agents that submit faulty values, and lenders not understanding how One-Action and Anti-Deficiency Laws protect some of their borrowers in the case of a foreclosure. Also, does anyone really qualify for this HAFA program?? After countless denials, I feel that it would be easier to find a job in this market as an unemployed RE professional.

The Bad

Since I spoke of the good, I feel it’s my obligation as a experienced negotiator to address the bad. Of all the banks still needing to step up their games, J.P. Morgan Chase has to be the worst. My longest-running files are all with them, and their SS efforts and processes are incredibly inefficient and ineffective. Other Inefficient Honorable Mentions include SunTrust, Specialized Loan Servicing, MidCountry, and Homecomings. They need a sip of the Equator Kool-Aid, or just hire me as their Director of Short Sale Operations.

The Ugly

With the improvement of SS process, the market has now become flooded with self-proclaimed ’short sale experts’. Every ex-loan/mod shop is now some sort of short sale operation, in the same way that every American is now an avid soccer fan! My advice: SEEK EXPERIENCE. It doesn’t matter how many designations I have behind my name – nothing is as valuable as dirty fingernails in this ever-changing short sale market. Let us a ShhortSale.com tell about our experience, and share how we can help you.

Enjoy these dog-days of summer, and cheers to progress in the short sale world continuing to adapt at a canine-pace!

Jeff Grant, President, ShhortSale.com