A different kind of equator
If you hear the word ‘equator’ associated with a real estate transaction, this does not mean that the property in question is located somewhere near the middle of the globe. It simply means that the short sale transaction (perhaps the property that you are listing, buying or selling) is being processed through an online (Internet-based) platform called Equator.
As of the time of this writing, the online platform, Equator, is used by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Nationstar, GMAC, and Service One. While each of these banks uses the system differently, the bottom line is that the use of an online system for communication between real estate agents and the bank aids significantly in facilitating communication. Historically, the banks are notoriously slow and inefficient in processing paperwork and approving short sales. Through the online platform, documents are uploaded and messages are sent. There is no need to send faxes or make toll-free calls, and those two facts alone improve efficiency.
How Bank of America is different.
One of the unique attributes of Bank of America’s short sale processing via Equator is with respect to the buyer. At the beginning of the processing sequence, the individual (usually the real estate agent) who is processing the short sale receives a request for the first five digits of the buyer’s social security number as well as other personal information about the buyer (birth date, address, phone, loan information).
When Bank of America added this tier to their short sale triage a few years back, we were advised that that this new step would help to assure that any transactions entering their system were not fraudulent in nature. And, believe it or not, Bank of America actually does verify the information you provide.
If you are buying or processing a Bank of America short sale in Equator, be prepared to provide this personal information along with your offer. If the buyer is unwilling to provide the requested information, that’s a tough nut to crack. Bank of America is generally unwilling to move forward without the buyer’s personal info; it doesn’t matter whether your offer is all cash and hundreds of thousands over asking price. Rules are rules, so be prepared to play by ‘em when it comes to Bank of America and the Equator system.