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Only the Magic Mirror Knows the Answer to this Short Sale Question

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” When the Queen asked the mirror this question, she was inquiring as to whom had most pleasing appearance in all the land. However, I’m often asked the same question about short sales. Who’s the fairest (read: which bank is the most pleasing to work with)?

The answer, unfortunately, is not quite as simple as the question. One benefit of working with the major lending institutions (Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, GMAC, etc.) is that they have procedures in place in order to address the insurmountable volume of short sales that come their way. However, some of the major lending institutions have more efficient systems than others.

Navigating Equator

Bank of America, for example, implemented the Equator system for processing short sales a little over a year ago. For those of us who were spending months of our lives on hold waiting for short sale negotiators, this Internet-platform was a needed relief. That being said, the government’s HAFA program and the new Bank of America Cooperative Short Sale Program have muddied the relatively efficient process that Bank of America had created in order to process the short sales.

In addition to the major lending institutions, real estate agents and short sale negotiators also have the pleasure of getting to work with second lien holders—many of which are collection agencies that use more aggressive tactics for exacting payment of what is owed.

But if the mirror was to tell me about the fairest short sale in San Diego County, I think I might hear the words ‘Wachovia.’ In many cities throughout the nation (including San Diego), Wachovia has a local representative who is able to manage the short sale in no time flat. So, if I were to guess, I would say that the mirror might tell me that one lien held by Wachovia might be the fairest short sale in all the land—especially since you can obtain a short sale approval in less than ten days.

So, is your short sale the fairest in all the land or are you beginning to consider eating a poison apple to get through the experience?

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Photo: flickr creative commons by ollesvensson

Written By

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.



  1. 10 days would be incredible! I had 2 Regions Bank (Southeast regional bank) short sales get approved in less than 30 days, and I’m very pleased with that time line. In Florida, a right to collect the deficiency state, the banks take an average of about 80-90 days. Chase and Suntrust seem to both compete to take the longest. Add HAFA and it’s a mess.

  2. Mickey D

    February 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    If you’re going to be dealing with BofA, be sure to request a ” Cooperative Program Eligibility Review” – when the homeowner or authorized agent requests this, BofA will give you the terms that they will accept up front rather than the agent submitting offer after offer just to be turned down and starting all over again for each offer like a guessing game.

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