Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bank of America & Equator: Are We Guinea Pigs on a Treadmill?


If you haven't heard recently, Bank of America short sales are getting even… well, weirder. Their new plan is to implement an online system where real estate agents and borrowers can upload their own short sale information. It sounds great-- and it would be--if it worked. OK, you might have heard one or two success stories, but I can tell you from practical experience, until this system is refined your Bank of America short sales might take… longer!
The new system is called Equator, formally REOTrans. It is really a jerry-rigged uploading site that is also used for foreclosure (REO) offers to Bank of America. Here is my experience with it so far.
Day 1: I fax in my package to Bank of America for a new Destin short sale
Day 7: I call in to confirm the fax was received, as it takes Bank of America several days to recognize new faxes. No, and they cannot find my loan number. There is no such loan number! Huh? I call my seller. She says the loan number was changed in the past week.
Day 10: After faxing in a new authorization, I call Bank of America (BOFA) back with the new loan number. They said they changed the loan number because this file is going to their new online system, Equator. They instruct me to upload my short sale package online. My seller must also call in to get her own special password to use the system and upload her own financial documents.
Day 11: My seller calls BOFA during the day from work. She is on hold over one hour and transferred twice. During her hold time, she emails me "Still on hold, but they 'look forward to talking' with me soon". After she completes her call she tells me "I cannot believe this is what you deal with all day". She forwards me her password so I may upload all her documents for her. This means, all the tax returns, bank statements, financial worksheet, paystubs, etc. Each document must be scanned into our computer system as a separate file so we can upload them when asked.
Day 12: We try to access Equator with my seller's password. Login fails. No luck.
Day 13: We log in under my agent id. Here we upload our authorization and answer questions about the offer. Non-invasive questions like,"What is the buyer’s birth date? What are the first five digits of the buyer’s social security?"
FINALLY, we get to the offer amount. Let's use $160,000 as an example. OFFER REJECTED -insufficient. HUH? The last sale in this Destin condo complex was $150,000. So, why is our $160,000 offer insufficient? Who can I talk to?The machine? I call Bank of America and they repeat, the system says "insufficient", didn't I get a rejection email? "From generic.negotiator@bankofamerica.com I told them. Well, that is who you should email, I am told by the BOFA rep. "You are kidding, I am to email the "generic" negotiator?" The rep says, "Yes, that email is checked by different negotiators all day". OK, who am I to question the authority of Bank of America? I email generic.negotiator@bankofamerica.com (like an idiot) and of course the email address is invalid.


Day 14: Today. Plan B. I'll let you know how it goes. And I wish you better luck with Equator.


It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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