Okay, been awhile since I posted, but better late than never. I recently completed a short sale on a Central Oregon home with G-Mac (for those of you who don’t know who I am referring to, you have to read beyond the dash). My client was looking to avoid foreclosure and the nasty potential deficiency judgment, and hired us as her real estate agent for this short sale. This was a beauty. Here’s the scenario: Single family town house for sale in a resort community, 2 loans (both with the aforementioned lender), the first loan was $80k over list and the second added another $60k or so to the excitement. We had a lowball offer come in around give-me-a-break avenue and sent them walking with a counter near market value. Armed with a pre-approved price $5k under our advertised price, we received an offer right at list price. It was clean, all cash, no contingencies, and a great broker on the other end. Begin rant.
Over the course of the short sale debacle, one lender began to use a system called equator. Because the lender was so crappy at working short sales, inefficient in every way, and quite possibly the worst company to deal with, other lenders jumped on the technological breakthrough known as equator (they named it this because its halfway between the coal engine and the model T). In a nutshell, you log into the system, read your tasks from the faceless (and often brainless) negotiator and complete them. You upload all of the appropriate documents needed for a short sale and then wait for the next task. It is so efficient that if you upload documents with an underscore in the document name, it rejects them and won’t let you complete the task. One word: A.w.e.s.o.m.e
I’ll spare you the rest of the nightmares accompanying what appears to be an ms-dos based website more cumbersome than a bulldozer strapped to a 747 at takeoff.
So after I rename all of the documents and completely ruin every bit of systematic nomenclature I created to keep my files organized, I upload the required items, fill in the crossword puzzle, pin the tail on the donkey, and complete all of the tasks…for the first loan. I then call in to make sure the 2nd lien (with the same servicing company) is starting their evaluation of the short sale and the lender tells me they don’t show the loan as belonging to them. I call back 2 more times (overcome chromosomal issues by using best out of three) and they finally admit the bad loan is theirs. After 20 minutes on the phone, the negotiator sends me to equator to upload the same documents. Now I have 2 identically named property files in the equator system asking for the same things with different negotiatiors. Again, efficiency is why we are making so much progress on the war against banks. I call the 2nd lender back after upload and ask them if the current negotiator for the first loan will eventually handle the 2nd loan also. Nope. “Well, sir, these are 2 completely different loans and will need to be handled separately”. Sweet.
Time goes on and on and on and the 1st loan is telling me the investor is reviewing the file and we should know something soon (to her credit, she was responsive and kind). The next day, I receive an email from the equator system saying the short sale is approved. I login to dinosaur.com/brutal and see I have new messages. I click on the first file titled: 111 NW Any St and look for the approval message. Wrong loan. I hit the back button and click on the other file titled: 111 NW Any St and look for the approval message. I see the approval message with an attachment and still have no idea which loan is which (a lot like trying to distinguish between good superman and bad superman without knowledge of what either one looks like), open the attachment, cross reference the loan number after sorting through the renamed unorganized file system imposed by mr. awesome, and I discover we have approval on the 2nd lien. I call the 2nd loan negotiator and thank him. Then I ask if he can help me with the 1st. Expecting the same response given over the previous 28 days “I’m sorry sir, these are 2 completely different train wrecks” and some version of I can neither confirm nor deny, the guy tells me yes. WHAT? What is this, hotel California? I said great, thanked him again, hung up, and looked around for the wicked witch of the west, a tornado, Toto, something that would prove I was living an alternate reality and the response was merely a figment of my imagination. Nope. No tornado, no red shoes, no Auntie Em. Delighted I wouldn’t have to call a shrink or check into a mental ward for hallucinations, I closed equator and waited for approval from the first (cue finally Jeopardy theme song).
A few days go by and the 2nd loan negotiator calls me and asks if I have approval from the first (quick glance out the window for the Scarecrow). “No” I said. He takes a few seconds and says “Okay, I see it here in the system. You should have it this afternoon.” Rather than get hysterically upset with the guy, I thank him and hang up. And in the afternoon I received the approval from the first. I called the title company first and made sure they updated the title report for a 4 day closing (including the weekend) and then called the buyer’s agent and shared the great news. She was excited, called her buyer, I sent the addendum releasing the short sale contingency, and we closed and recorded four days later. Another one under the belt.
I call escrow to confirm that the final closing statement had been sent to the 2-faced lender with the same name. It was confirmed. 3 days later I recieve a call from Mr. Wonderful, the negotiator for the 2nd loan, and he asks if we’ve closed. I said yes and told him the documents and the funds were sent 3 days prior. He says cool and thanks me (confusing). A week goes by and I get another phone call from him: “We closed right?”, he says. I spared him the smart-ass comment of “No duh!” and answered yes. He then asked if I could email him the final closing statement. So, I did.
Three more days go by. I receive an email from G-Mac with “Urgent:Your short sale is in jeapordy of being cancelled and funds being sent back to escrow”. Frantically, I log into to stonage_software.brutal and click on secret link #1…no message. Back button, click on secret link #1 (really #2, but who knows) and see a new task. Best part, the task was added the day before with no notice, no email, no anything. I upload the final hud1 to the equator system, re-enter the information they already have (2 copies in the two files) including the final sales price, net to bank, borrower’s favorite color, and all of the other information contained in the pdf I just uploaded (after removing the underscores). Being that this was the day before the approval expired, I emailed both negotiators to make sure they received the file they needed. No response. “Honey?” I call downstairs to my wife, “Did you deposit the commission check from the NW Any St deal?” “Yes.” she says. “Why?” she asks. “Oh, no reason. Just curious. I love you!” I log off of the system to keep the zombies from crawling out of the depths of equator, place my head on the cold glass desk, and shake my head. What a frickin’ joke. End of Rant.