How to Do a Bank of America Short Sale

Bank of America Streamlines the Short Sale Process

Bank of America
A Bank of America short sale is a rare thing. © Big Stock Photo

It is rare today to do a Bank of America short sale. Bank of America short sales earned well deserved black marks, say many short sale agents, beginning in 2005 and lasting well into 2009. Bank of America's reputation was so bad that some real estate agents refused to list a short sale if Bank of America was involved. Buyer's agents refused to write offers on those listings. Those agents would rather poke out their eyes than touch a former Countrywide loan, much less an original Bank of America loan that is sinking underwater.

Over and over agents reported horror stories to media about Bank of America short sales. The bank lost documents, abruptly closed files for no reason or simply refused to respond to repeated requests for updates for months on end. Some files dragged out for years. But much of that changed at the end of 2009 when Bank of America turned to Equator.com to process its short sales.

I sell a lot of Bank of America short sales in Sacramento and am personally very pleased that Bank of America has turned its reputation around. After Equator stepped in, most agents are happy to list any Bank of America short sale because approval time is 30 to 60 days, on average, which is a far cry from the old days.

The trouble today is finding a property that still has a Bank of America loan that is underwater. Not only did Bank of America step up to the plate and approve many short sales, but they took steps to eliminate underwater homes from its portfolio.

They sold the loan or transferred the servicing. However, if you should find that rare animal still in existence, here is what you do.

Seller Documents Required for a Bank of America Short Sale

Provided the existing loan is not an FHA loan or a VA loan, and the seller does not qualify for the HAFA short sale program, among a few other disqualifications, Bank of America short sales are pretty simple.

Here are the documents the bank will need from the seller:

  • Bank of America short sale package (RMA and Dodd Frank)
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • W2s
  • Payroll stubs
  • Third party authorization
  • Hardship letter

Agent Duties for Bank of America Short Sales

The agent is critical to the short sale process. All communication is generally handled between Bank of America through Equator and the short sale listing agent. Here are the listing agent's duties:

  • List the short sale in MLS
  • Advise the seller and help to negotiate with the buyer or buyer's agent
  • Qualify the buyer by obtaining a preapproval letter
  • Put the short sale into contract
  • Open an account at Equator.com
  • Upload offer and documentation such as the listing agreement and estimated HUD
  • Complete Equator tasks
  • Submit final HUD prior to closing

Excluded Short Sale Fees for Bank of America

Each investor may have different guidelines, but for the most part, Bank of America generally does not pay for home warranties, delinquent utilities or past due HOA fees, and pest work or repairs. Below are the customary fees that are often countered out from the HUD:

  • Excess settlement fees, per investor guidelines
  • Notary fee
  • Doc preparation
  • Recording
  • Courier

Seller's Duties for Bank of America Short Sales

The seller uses a different website to upload information.

That website is the Bank of America homeowner portal.

  • Create an account
  • Upload documents as requested
  • Supply hardship reasons
  • Submit financial information

Bank of America's Short Sale Process

Bank of America will collect all of the information it needs from the listing agent and the seller. It will assign a negotiator and complete the process as follows:

  • Contact an agent to complete a BPO.
  • Review the documentation and request missing pieces of information
  • Order internal payoff numbers
  • Issue a counter offer
  • Send the file to MI and / or the investor
  • Accept, counter or reject the short sale
  • Notify the agent of the outcome

Warning: if you begin the negotiation for a Bank of America short sale and discover the bank has sold the loan to another investor, you will probably need to restart the process with the new lender.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

Disclosure: Weintraub's investment portfolio contains shares of BAC stock.