How to Submit a Short Sale Package to the Bank

Tips for Putting Together Your Short Sale Package

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Back in the old days -- like early 2006 -- short sale sellers and their agents were delivering a short sale package to the bank via FedEx or some other overnight express service. That's because banks would routinely lose or accidentally shred a faxed short sale package. Some banks outsourced this part of the short sale to foreign contract labor overseas. It was a nightmare, to say the least.

As a result, some banks turned to online software management. In a Bank of America short sale, for example, among others, all offers are uploaded online, with the exception of certain types of HAFA short sales. Bank of America was a pioneer. But many banks still prefer to receive documents the old-fashioned way, via a fax machine. It's best just to ask before submitting your short sale package.

Documents Required for a Short Sale Package

A few banks have streamlined the process for submitting a short sale package. These banks might send you their own documents with a bank logo, but it's not always necessary to complete them, so verify. Following is a list of documents that are generally required by all the banks for short sale submission:

  • An Executed Listing AgreementThe bank wants to see when the property came on the market, the name of the brokerage that listed it, the term of the listing and the amount of the commission. It is generally not a good idea to send an offer that is considerably lower than the list price if the home has been the market for only a few days. Banks are not stupid.
  • Fully Executed Purchase ContractNot every bank will accept a purchase contract that has been signed electronically. You might need "wet" signatures on the contract. An incomplete contract can cause delays. Make sure the property address is noted in its entirety, every spot to initial is initialed, and the contract is dated and signed by all parties, including, if necessary, by the real estate agents.
  • Seller's Hardship LetterThe hardship letter is perhaps the most important part of the short sale package. It needs to tell the story about how the sellers got into their present situation, what they have done to find a solution and why there are no solutions apart from a short sale presently available. It must contain the loan number, and be signed and dated.
  • Authorization LetterSome agents send the authorization letter with the short sale package and some prefer to submit the letter upon listing inception. This letter is signed by the sellers and authorizes the bank to speak with the listing agent. Without an authorization letter, the real estate agent cannot negotiate a short sale.
  • Last 2 Bank StatementsAll bank statements, for every bank account are required for submission. Front and back. If there are large deposits or withdrawals on those statements, you may want to include a separate explanation because the processor will most likely wonder about it. Answer the question before it is asked.
  • Last 2 Tax ReturnsSubmit as part of your short sale package, your federal tax returns for the last 2 years, signed and dated, every schedule and every single page. If you have not filed your tax returns for the past 2 years, you will need to include a letter of explanation and extensions.
  • Last 2 W2'sYour last two years' of W2s will disclose your salary as reported by your employer to the IRS. If you are self employed, you will probably need to send 1099s and a profit and loss statement.
  • Last two payroll stubsRegardless of how you are paid, whether it is monthly, weekly or bi-monthly, submit your last two payroll stubs. If you received a bonus or any other unusual increase of salary, you may want to include a note that explains this sudden increase.
  • An Estimated HUD-1The HUD-1 is an estimated closing statement that is generally prepared by a closer or an escrow officer. It contains the property address, sellers' names, buyers' names and estimated closing date. I use a closing date that is at least 3 months away. Each cost of sale is a separate line item on the HUD. Because the HUD was revamped in 2011, some closers send a worksheet so the bank can understand the HUD. A HUD is not a simple document.

    Additional Documents for Your Short Sale Package

    If you have reason to believe the sales price might be rejected or countered by the bank, you may want to ask your real estate agent to include a comparable market analysis or CMA with your short sale package. The CMA should justify the sales price.

    If the home needs repair, include a minimum of 3 repair estimates. Realize, of course, that the bank will choose the lowest repair estimate.