Short Sale Information...Want to Share?

One of my greatest frustrations in working on short sales is the lack of process, and information, available about the transaction. It makes it very difficult to set the expectations for my clients.

It occurred to me today, that we have a huge community here that could share information.  It won't make the process faster, or more efficient, but it might help us all to set accurate expectations about how long it will take to get short sale approval. Since it seems to vary from bank to bank, the more specific you can be the better.

Here is what I have found about working with SUNTRUST (just to clarify, this is only my experience--yours may be quite different).

  1. The contract is submitted to a front-end negotiator who reviews it and assigns it to a processor.
  2. The processor reviews it for completeness and orders an appraisal.
  3. The contract will remain with the processor for between 60 and 90 days. He/She has an enormous caseload.
  4. Once the processor 'approves' the file, it is passed on to a back-end negotiator. My understanding is that this person is the final review. We are still not at this point in the contract I am currently working on.
  5. Once the back-end negotiator approves the contract, it is considered 'ratified' and the regular contract contingencies can begin (loan approval, appraisal, home inspection, POA docs).

It has taken me 2 months to figure out this one seems to be in charge of explaining it up front. As you can see, it is not that complex, just time consuming.

I hope that this information can help you to educate your clients if you are working on a Suntrust short sale.

If you have experience with another lender that you think would be helpful, please share it.  I think it can really help all of us in this challenging market.

Please note that this is a public posting. I think there are plenty of consumers out there that would like to learn some of this information, too. This is also NOT intended to be negative about the process, but rather to share information in hopes of making the understanding of the process easier for us all!


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Comment balloon 11 commentsHolly Weatherwax • March 11 2009 05:57PM


Great idea to post the processes of the different banks.

Posted by Debi Braulik, Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale ( over 9 years ago

Short sales can be a lot like mating elephants. It takes a lot of noise and 22 montsh to produce results.

The problem is they are so busy.


Glenn Shong.

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

This is great information to know what to expect on aq future listing with Suntrust. Countrywide is slow too. Wells Fargo-Wachovia is fairly quick and so is American Home Mortgage-Option One.

Posted by Michael Wayne Jackson, Realtor - Senior Real Estate Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago


I have actually done several short sales, however none of them have been with Suntrust.  A lot of the process depends on if you are trying to short a FHA loan or a VA/Conventional loan.  FHA, in my opinion is the easier one to work with due to the fact they have "Big Brother" HUD.  The other thing I can tell you is that when you submit a short sale packet, be sure to include everything you need from the beginning.  If you "piece mail" it, your file will be in the big stack with everyone elses.  If you are complete, you will be in the short stack.  If I can help you any more, fell free to contact me!

Posted by Sylvia Seabolt over 9 years ago

The best thing I have found to do because they are so busy.  Is call everyday until you get an acceptable answer and follow up continually until it's complete.  Of course being respectful and professional.

Posted by Mark Watterson, Utah Real Estate over 9 years ago

Here's a some information written by a VP at Wells Fargo which has helped my clients:

Also, these questions have helped with my clients before making offers on short sales:

Thanks for posting!

:) PS

Posted by Patrick Schutte, REALTOR (Flex Realty) over 9 years ago

They are just slow.  One thing you forgot to mention is if you are the selling agent, check out the listing agent.  Is the listing agent an experienced agent.  Do they have experience with short sales?  If the agent dosn't know what he is doing, then you are wasting your time.

Posted by Brien Berard, Maryland Real Estate Agents - Laurel Real Estate (Remax Professionals Laurel MD) over 9 years ago

Thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences.  I hope that  it is helpful. Please continue to share--if we can make one of these sales easier, it is an accomplishment.

Brien, your comments particularly hit home.  I do think there are issues associated with an inexperienced listing agent.  At the very least the listing agent should be providing the information on the process and should be working the case through the bank--an agent who keeps the buyers agent informed of progress makes the whole thing MUCH, MUCH easier for us all. I think a lot (not all)  of listing agents see these properties as commodities; the more they can get on their books, the more they will make.  That does a disservice to the seller (most of all), the buyers and everyone involved in the process.

Unfortunately, when your clients fall in love with a house and the price is right, their ability to walk away because of the listing agent is severely compromised.

As a seller, pick your listing agents carefully (for all of the reasons that I mentioned).



Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 9 years ago

I am getting ready to present an offer to them, so good to know, typical, but good.

Posted by Heather Fitzgerald, REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate (REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Wells Fargo seems to have the process down. I had a short-sale last fall that they reviewed and approved within 10 days. I had to go back and look up the details because for reasons unrelated to the short sale it did not settle.

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 9 years ago

FYI, we finally got approval on April 23...that is a crazy long time! We are scheduled to close on May 29 which will be 5 months almost to the day we wrote the contract.  I think it is important that buyers know what to expect.

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 9 years ago

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