Nationstar Acquires Billions in Servicing Rights
(AGENT/GENIUS) – If you have listed or processed more than one or two short sales in the last year or so, then you may have had the pleasure of processing a short sale with Nationstar Mortgage. In 2012, Nationstar acquired billions of dollars in servicing rights from both Aurora Bank and Bank of America. So, they have certainly garnered a pretty large corner of the mortgage servicing industry.
Unfortunately, many of Nationstar’s pre-foreclosure servicing policies and procedures have real estate agents across the nation very unhappy. You see, Nationstar requires borrowers that want to sell their homes as short sales to auction those property through the website, auction.com. Don’t be misled by the name of the company. Nationstar does not own the property and auction.com is not auctioning off a property that went through the foreclosure process. This is a pre-foreclosure arrangement between Nationstar Mortgage and auction.com.
The Nationstar Short Sale Process
Here’s how the Nationstar short sale process works: After a short sale offer and all of the accompanying paperwork is submitted to Nationstar Mortgage, the listing agent is then notified that the property must be placed on the auction.com website. The property then becomes available for public bidding through the website. When a buyer makes on offer on auction.com, auction.com charges a 5% premium on top of the sales price at closing.
Agents and sellers are very angry about this process. Despite the fact that there is a fully executed, legally binding contract that has been submitted to the short sale lender, the seller must be willing to go through this process on auction.com or Nationstar will not move forward with the short sale. If the borrower refuses, the property could end up as a foreclosure.
It seems like a backwards process. Agents have already marketed the property and the seller—the rightful owner of the property until the foreclosure date—has selected the buyer. When the property is placed on a third party website, this legal contract is ignored. In fact, if the current buyer has a contract on the property to purchase it for $100K and an auction.com bid exceeds that offer, the current buyer will have to bid against other bidders in order to purchase the property. At the end of the auction, the highest bid wins and there is no opportunity to counter the offer after the auction closes. Remember that in addition to this process, there is the 5% buyer surcharge that is making many buyers very displeased.
While this auction process on auction.com benefits Nationstar, this process has created some controversy for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. Being able to accept the highest bid certainly helps Nationstar recover their losses more quickly, but what about the investor and the original buyer with the legally binding purchase contract? What about how that 5% surcharge which the buyer would not have paid in a more traditional short sale process?
Will the Nationstar Process Change in 2014?
It will be interesting to see how this process will evolve in 2014. Due to slightly increased interest rates, certain parts of the United States are already transitioning away from the extreme seller’s market with short market times and multiple offers. With more properties on the market and less buyers, properties that have a 5% premium may languish longer on the auction.com.
Just about three weeks ago, I saw the auction.com folks at a booth at a convention in Los Angeles. They were giving away mugs, baseball hats, and the most gorgeous and high-quality ballpoint pens. With that 5% surcharge, it’s no wonder they had nice goodies. But, will your short sale close on auction.com? Should you agree to work with auction.com when directed to do so by Nationstar Mortgage? As always with short sales, agents walk a fine line between doing what’s right and legal while also accommodating atypical lender requests. As agents, we constantly walk this tightrope. Just be careful not to fall.