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Short sale success thanks to Bank of America on Twitter

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Bank of America is on Twitter for the win…here is my tale:

Almost six months ago I got a short sale listing from a distressed (and stressed) home seller who wanted to sell with a short sale and couldn’t find a real estate agent to help.

I took on the listing because this woman was very organized and was barely behind on the mortgage. No late taxes or other liens in place and the house was well maintained and sparkling clean.

A couple months later I procure a first time home buyer who decides to take the gamble on the short sale and we present our purchase to Bank of America’s short sale division.

One Ringy Dingy…

I did my due diligence and called at least weekly to check on the file. Each time I called I was told that the file was in review which takes two weeks, awaiting a negotiator who then had another two weeks to review the file before we would hear anything. That answer worked on me the first time, but when I called a week later and was told the same exact thing, I grew a bit concerned.

At that point I asked if there was something we could do to move things along as it was nearing the foreclosure date and the answer was yes, we could request escalation.

Two Ringy Dingys…

One week later I call back, am told the EXACT same thing as my very first call and I get a bit terse with the representative. I tell them the file was supposed to be placed into escalation and they assure me that they will put it in this time.

Fast forward another week and you guess it….another phone call with the same answers. This time I insist upon speaking with a supervisor who informs me that there was no possible way the file could have been placed in escalation because it wasn’t even an accepted file until one day prior.

Well, I lost it. I am normally a very diplomatic, calm and dare I say even nice person, but I was pushed beyond patience and I let this guy have it. He must be well used to it because I think I even heard him whistle the Jeopardy tune and he was totally nonplussed by my anger. After I ran myself out and poked the red button on my cell phone really hard (I miss slamming the phone after those conversations, don’t you?) I went to Twitter to rant where someone might empathize.

Forget the phone, time to tweet…

I tweeted out that I was fuming at Bank of America because while I did anticipate a short sale with them would be long and perhaps even unpleasant, I did not anticipate that they would be lying to me.

Very quickly thereafter I got a response from @BofA_Help asking if they could well…help. After I verified that this was a real Bank of America representative we took our conversation to email and then a phone call.

Within hours of our call I had another phone call, this time from the assigned negotiator!

Once the negotiator was assigned it was smooth sailing and within ten days we had our short sale approval from Bank of America.

In the meantime the representative from @BofA_Help has followed up with me to make certain that my client is getting the appropriate service and I am won over by their proactive and effective Twitter based customer service.

Bank of America has impressed me with their implementation of social media tracking to see who is talking about them and by reaching out to quell my complaints and assist in a solution.

@BofA_Help on Twitter FTW!

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.

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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Ed Daniels - Metrowest Boston Homes

    May 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Well, after the 4th buyer has come and gone, and BofA dropping the ball for 250+ days, thank you for the helpful info. i will give them a try too. This home had a $410K buyer, recently I was only getting $360K buyers. I convinced a buyer to pay a requested BofA amount of $380K, then the investor had the nerve to counter $390K! Deal falls apart in frustration. Who wins? Listen up BofA… you will not do any better with your foreclosure the seller has decided on!

  2. sharonalters

    May 2, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Lesley, I’m impressed! BofA has such a bad reputation even the public knows about it when they don’t exactly understand what a short sale is. They still know Bank of America is hard to deal with. Amazing! But listen to this, we just got an answer from an Equator BofA file in TWO WEEKS! We are encouraged that the improvements they have been talking about really are finally happening.

  3. Lesley Lambert

    May 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I hear you, they are the Goliath with a bad rep, for sure! But I didn’t go looking for them, they found ME which is what impressed me the most. Proactive is good.

  4. BOA has gotten much better overall in the last few months. Still some issues, but miles above their recent reputation.

    Wells fargo on the other hand has been going down hill fast. Maybe I ticked someone off there?

  5. Lesley Lambert

    May 3, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Bank of America’s use of social media surveillance is a success story and I would hope other lenders like Wells Fargo would hop on board, too.

  6. Christine Latham

    May 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I have a stressed seller who is in danger of losing his home to foreclosure. He has tried to sell for a YEAR! Unsucessfully. I’ve secured a pre-approved and pre-qualified buyer who is asking for nothing except a reasonable closing date and bank approval for closing no later than May 17,2010. NOW, two months ago, when this went under contract, it was not an unreasonable date. Now, that the days are looming around the corner, the buyer is considering NOT waiting around and purchasing something with less wait. My seller will have a foreclosure sale date any day. AND HE’S DONE EVERYTHING TO COOPERATE! What a shame that someone who has not walked away, and has tried to work at keeping his home from foreclosing, the best that he could, is now considering the upsides of giving up! COME ON BANK OF AMERICA! YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS! I HAVE FULL PRICE CONTRACTS ON THIS PROPERTY…AND IT’S PRICED RIGHT!!!! Everytime a foreclosed property pops in a neighborhood, the values of other homes go down by approx. $5000! Not to mention what it must cost you to draw out a long and expensive foreclosure!
    Now, I’m very educated on the art of short sales. I’ve sent every piece of document that the bank can and will call for. AND I’ve been “esculated” into receiving a negotiator within 2 weeks. The only problem with this is, I’ve been told this TWICE. AND I CALL BANK OF AMERICA EVERY DAY!!! H E L P ! ! ! !
    Christine Latham, Wheaton Real Estate njre4u@comcast.net

  7. LesleyLambert

    May 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Christine, as this story says I suggest you try tweeting with them. All I can tell you is it worked for me. Good luck, I know how frustrating it is!

  8. Jill Angelino

    June 25, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I am a Realtor in South Florida. I needed to write and THANK YOU for posting your experience with Bank of America and Twitter. After 6 months of waiting, and 2 months after accepting BOA conditions on my short sale listing, only waiting for the approval letter, I was panicked. My listing had 2 loans..BOA being the 2nd. I was going to loose my 1st loan approval, and the buyer within 2 days. I went to Google in hopes of finding someone at BOA to help my cause, and stumbled across your article…So glad I did! I had never been on Twitter before, but took your advice and opened an account. After posting that I needed help on BOA help page, I was contacted within 10 minutes…and within 5 hours, had the approval letter I had been waiting 2 months for, and am now clear to close tomorrow! I am forever grateful for your shared knowledge. I would like to mail you a small token of appreciation. If you are comfortable sharing with me your address. There is no doubt, that without reading your article and using Twitter my sale would be dead! Thank you again!

  9. sean anguiano

    August 30, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    I am starting to wonder what’s happening on our offer. We are the only bidder on a short sale that is now 80 plus days in input. No decision, just dithering and zero action on Bank of America’s part. They have postponed foreclosure twice, there are no other investors, just BofA, and they don’t seem to care. As a buyer I have to wonder if they really want our offer, or do they want it to go into foreclosure?

  10. Rachel LaMar, J.D.

    August 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Thank you so much for this story! I just Tweeted a message to Bank of America about two short sales I have been waiting on, and they sent me a message within minutes. They will be calling me today…will keep you posted. I love Twitter – it has truly taught me so much and put me in contact with such incredible industry leaders…and I LOVE AgentGenius!

    • Chris

      August 31, 2011 at 4:59 am

      Well? 🙂

  11. Cyndee Haydon

    October 25, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Hey Lesley – thanks for the tip – when we ran into a brick wall we took your advice and connected with @BofA_Help on twitter – thanks to you we closed on a waterfront home and I just got a check for over $13,000 after 6 months with no progress ;D you ROCK!

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Social Media

Facebook wants your nudes now to protect you from revenge porn later

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook, attempting to get in front of revenge porn, is requesting that users send in all of their nudes.

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In a heroic and totally innovative attempt to combat revenge porn, Facebook has come up with the following solution: “PM US UR NUDEZ.”

No seriously. They want your nudes.

But don’t worry, they’re only going to be viewed by a small group of people for manual confirmation of said nudes, and then stored temporarily… for reasons.

That part gets a little fuzzy. Some sources report that Facebook isn’t actually storing the images, just the links. This is meant to convert the image to a digital footprint, known as a hash, which is supposed to prevent the content from being upload to Facebook again.

Others say Facebook only stores the images for a short period of time and then deletes them.

What we do know, is this is a new program being tested in Australia where Facebook has partnered with a small government agency known as e-Safety and is requesting intimate or nude photos that could potentially be used for revenge porn in an effort to pre-emptively prevent such an incident.

Revenge porn is basically when someone uploads your personal and private photos online without your consent. Rather than address the issue of whether or not it’s such a good idea to take photos on a mobile, hackable device, it’s better to just send a large corporation all your nudes… through their Messenger app. /sarcasm

For your protection.

According to the commissioner of the e-Safety office, Julie Inman Grant, however, they’re using artificial intelligence and photo-matching technologies… and storing the links!

If this isn’t convincing enough, British law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP wrote in a statement to Newsweek, “We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counter-intuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient.”

Oh, she wasn’t joking.

I’m not sure how many people still hold onto old intimate photos of themselves, but I am doubtful that it’s enough for this to really be effective as it only prevents intimate photos from being shared on Facebook. At least that’s the plan.

Reactions to this announcement have largely been met with amusement and criticism ranging from commentary on Mark Zuckerberg and Co. being total pervs, and theories of shared Facebook memories: “”Happy Memories: It’s been 1 Year since you uploaded 47 pictures of you in your birthday suit”!

Either way, I can only imagine someone’s inbox is flooded with crotch shots right now, and Zuckerberg has a potential new industry in the works.

Just sayin’.

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Social Media

Twitter might make a profit for the first time… ever

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter seems to be very popular but it may surprise you to know that this is the very first time they might make a profit.

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Twitter reports that after a year of slashing expenses and putting itself in a position to sell data to other companies, it’s expected to be profitable. What’s surprising (considering how #huge Twitter is) is that this the first time that it will be profitable based on “generally accepted accounting principles” – #GAAP!.

In the 11 years since Twitter took to the field, it has never once met this standard, operating at a loss of nearly 2.5 billion dollars since its inception.

Twitter has struggled of a number of reasons, but particularly after going public in 2013 it suffered declining user growth, the rise of the #twittertrolls (coincidentally, Troll’s are discussed in my favorite TIME piece about the internet – located here), and competition from Facebook for the tough realm of advertising.

Since 2013, shares fell steadily, but things have increased thanks to some optimistic changes – the promise to crack down on harassment and abuse, a feed arranged by algorithm instead of time, and Twitter’s most vocal fan of late, President Donald Trump.

For the numbers fans, Reuters provides some input: Twitter’s loss narrowed to about 21 million down from 103 million this year. They have worked to cut a great deal of expenses -16 percent across the board broadly impacting sales, marketing, and R&D.

This kind of focused core improvement (can) help tip the balance sheet on the expenses side – but generating revenues remains a challenge due to slow growth. Twitter hopes to relieve this by working out some deals to sell data – the currency of the 21st century.

Several months ago, TechCrunch made perhaps the most important observation – that despite the fact Twitter has changed the world, changed our marketing, and empowered us to connect with other people, it has remained unprofitable. Many small and large businesses profit from Twitter, but in these 11 years the company hasn’t #sharedinthewealth.

Twitter is touching every realm of business and for American’s, is touching every aspect of their lives given its new form as the preferred medium of the political sphere. Given that, they have much to do to change.

Facebook commands an audience five times the size of Twitter – and their ability to reach success for the future seems #questionable. And how Twitter’s success changes the scape of influence, outreach, and entrepreneurship is something else to be seen.

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Social Media

Is Facebook a potential Slack killer?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook’s steady ascent from social networking into the business world is giving Slack a run for their money.

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When it comes to the business realm, Facebook has steadily been increasing their reputation. Though Facebook is pinned as the social network, they are now proving to everyone that they can dominate in the professional sector as well.

Last year, Facebook launched an ad-free version of the site meant for the office called Workplace. Initially, 1,000 companies were signed on to try out this “Facebook for the office” in its starter phase.

As of last week, Facebook announced that 30,000 organizations currently use Workplace. These aren’t just small time companies. Some of Workplace’s users include Starbucks, Lyft, Spotify, Heineken, Delta and most recently Walmart.

It seems that overnight it grew from another side project to a valid rival for other professional communication tools like Slack.

Slack is the go-to site for business professionals. With over 6 million users and acquiring more every day, Slack is the place for teams to collaborate in real-time. It has virtually replaced email and external software when it comes to internal communication.

Slack has been successful at acquiring small corporations to use their service.

The problem is that Slack has yet to join forces with larger clients that have now turned to other applications. Just last year, Uber left Slack because they could not handle their large-scale communication needs.

In addition to being able to handle the needs of large companies, Facebook also offers cheaper services than Slack. A premium account with Workplace costs $3 per user each month while Slack charges double at $6.67 per user each month.

With the rapid growth and major reputation of Facebook behind it, many predict that Workplace will replace Slack, and other sites like it, in the not so distant future.

Recently, Facebook also launched the Workplace desktop app and plan to include group video chat. The biggest obstacle Workplace faces is the association with Facebook. It is ironic, since it is also their greatest strength.

The truth remains that many people think of Facebook solely as a social media network. Many companies forbid the use of it at work so the transition from the personal to the professional realm is still an uphill battle.

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