I have been doing short sales for over 4 and a half years now. Throughout that time I have handled my share of Countrywide files, with success of getting them approved and closed. To date I have now closed close to 200 short sale properties, with over half of those having second liens, that is about 300 approvals closed. Of those I would predict that about 35-40% of those have been Countrywide (Bank of America) files, so I have a fair amount of experience with them.
To give some brief background here, Countrywide used to be a stand alone loan provider which was started by Angelo R. Mozilo and David Loeb in , before being taken over by Bank of America, BAC in July of 2008. So when I talk about working with Countrywide (B of A), I am talking about the original Countrywide company. That being said when I starting doing short sales in 2005, Countrywide would issue excellent short sale approval letters on that specifically stated that “Countrywide and its investors will not pursue a deficiency judgment if the short sale closes…”. This statement was on every approval letter, whether is was a first lien, second lien, purchase money or non purchase money (recourse in the state of CA). It was a always given (in my experience) with out any request of any cash contribution or promissory note required by the seller. Even after Bank of America had acquired Countrywide in July of 2008, I had consistently received these same approvals on short sales, with the Countrywide letterhead at the top with the same statements of not pursuing the seller for any money. I continued on working with the main offices I had always worked with in Simi Valley Ca, Chandler and Tempe AZ, and Plano and Richardson TX. I even communicated with all of my top level contacts I had made over the years using the same @countrywide.com emails
During the spring of 2009 while I had about 30-40 short sale files open with Countrywide, now fully aquired by Bank of America, BAC. I started to see some drastic changes. The first came in late April of 2009, when I got an approval letter on a short sale while working on a Countrywide file, with a Bank of America, BAC letterhead at the top. Along with that was a statement that in it that read “BAC Home Loan Servicing, LP and/or its investors may pursue a deficiency judgment for the difference in the payment received and the total balance due…” To the inexperiencedreal estate broker this may have been missed, but not me. I was an experienced short sale agent. I was a bit shocked at first especially since I had received the old approval letter on another file the day before, with the old verbiage. A long story short, after trying to “negotiate” with my negotiator at the bank, and bringing this to the attention of every supervisor and VP I knew over at Countrywide, there was nothing anyone was willing nor could do. I was told this is the new policy set in place by Bank Of America and it came from very high up, and it could not and would not be changed. Shortly after, every office I was working with over at Countrywide, now Bank of America “officially” told me that this was a boiler plate short sale approval letter and I was receiving them all over the place on every short sale file.
For the past 5 months, I have conferred with numerous attorneys as to how to get this removed. I spoke with short sale agents all over the country, at seminars, classes, and read every blog and website I could to find out if anyone anywhere was able to get this removed. I even personally contacted all of my state and federal senators, congressmen and governor, but without any help. My search was unsuccessful, and although many people had employed many tactics, none I had been able to find were successful, or if they stated they were, were not able to show any proof. The attorneys I spoke with all concurred that something was up Bank of America’s sleeve in regards to these short sales, especially here in CA. Some guessed that they plan on coming after all of these short sale home sellers, some thought they were just protecting the rights of their investors but that nothing would probably ever come of it. I searched very hard and tried many different tactics to get this clause waived for my clients, and wasn’t able to do so, until just last week. The short sale hasn’t closed yet, but in my next written blog I am going to state how I was able to get this deficiency waived by the almighty Bank of America in my current short sale with them. It was not easy and quite complicated, but stay tuned for when I reveal how this was done and how I can now provide this service to my clients with have a loan with Countrywide (Bank of America.)