clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ask Curbed: I Need Short Sale Help!

New, 12 comments

This reader seeks advice, and comfort, from the Curbed community. Is he asking for too much? Drawn into a lengthy short sale process, he'd like to know if his experience is normal? Whatever normal might be in these turvy-topsy times: "I'm writing to appeal to Curbed and Curbed readers for some tips and advice. I've been trying my hardest to purchase a condo in this lovely Los Angeles housing market for the past six months, and it just isn't happening. I'm a first-time home buyer, with great credit and am able to put down a 30% down payment, but I'm stuck because of a bank's ineptitude. Help! The condo I'm trying to purchase, in North Hollywood, is a short sale. I know, I know, short sales are famously tricky and exhausting, but this one seems ridiculously so, and all because of monumental organizational problems at Countrywide. [Now known as BOA]

I made my offer on the condo at the end of January, 2009. My offer was accepted by the seller and the process of getting Countrywide, the seller's bank, to approve it began. I expected it might take a few months, as short sales often do, and began asking questions about the progress towards the end of April. First, I learned the seller's realtor was having trouble getting documents and paperwork to Countrywide; they told him they ONLY accepted stuff by fax (no emailed PDF files, nothing sent by mail, or delivered via courier), and after faxing dozens of pages (ultimately more than 150), they would lose pages and docs, repeatedly, sometimes the whole file, forcing the realtor to start over, and pushing my property to the back of the queue.

Finally, in May, with a complete file and two appraisals that they performed (the first one expired after they lost my file), my file went to a negotiator, who, after a month of not dealing with it (and doing who-knows-what-else), was fired. My file was reassigned to a second negotiator, so back to square one and the end of the queue. The file was updated, a new appraisal was performed, and, after a month, it was reassigned again, due to the 2nd negotiator being overwhelmed with files.

I learned today that it will be assigned to a third negotiator. But first, another appraisal (the fourth) will have to happen, as the last one has expired, and I'm looking at least another month before hearing anything.

I understand there's a lot of layers to a short sale, and a lot of patience is required. But this continual process of starting over again and again seems especially unnecessary and is endlessly frustrating. I do feel that my realtor, and the seller's realtor, are on top of things, but I wonder if there's something I can do, or someone at the top I can send a letter to. Or am I wrong? Is my experience standard operating procedure?"
· Ask Curbed; Fumigation Irritation & Compensation? [Curbed LA]