The nation’s leading mortgage lenders are extending extras for short sale transactions employed as an alternative to foreclosure – both in the form of monetary incentives for borrowers and streamlined procedures for real estate agents.
Wells Fargo says it has been making “enhanced financial relocation assistance offers” that can be as much as $10,000 or $20,000 to certain borrowers who choose to go through with a short sale or transfer the title back to Wells via a deed-in-lieu.
This extra incentive is being offered to distressed borrowers in Florida and other states where the foreclosure process is lengthening, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo explained. The exact amount of the relocation funds provided to individual borrowers varies based on a number of factors, the company says.
Wells Fargo noted that this type of additional relocation assistance is only available on first-lien loans that the company itself owns – which represent only about 20 percent of the loans Wells Fargo services. The company must follow investor guidelines for the remaining loans it services.
JPMorgan Chase is also offering a range of incentives to borrowers that agree to a pre-foreclosure sale “because if we can’t work out a modification, a short sale is a better result for the borrower, the servicer, the investor, and the neighborhood than a foreclosure,” the company said in a statement.
Chase says the amount of the offer “depends on a number of factors” but declined to share specific details on how much money it’s been providing to short sellers.
One agent in Florida confirms that he has indeed received a letter from Chase offering $20,000 to a borrower he’s representing in a short sale transaction.
Another agent in California says he closed a short sale with Chase where the borrower was paid $30,000 at closing for cooperating with the short sale.
“I have closed over 200 short sales and this was the most I have seen paid to a borrower,” the agent said.
Citi has confirmed that its average incentive offer is currently $12,000 for borrowers in cases where Citi owns the loan.
“Incentives are offered to customers experiencing financial hardship who need funds to proceed with the short sale,” a spokesman for the lender explained.
The amount, which is agreed upon upfront, varies according to the borrower’s individual circumstances and loan characteristics, Citi said. It is disbursed to the homeowner when the short sale is completed.
Bank of America says it is “committed to improving the short sale process” and has made procedural changes to cut some of the red tape for agents working with the bank on pre-foreclosure sales.
The lender now allows real estate agents to submit a backup offer on a transaction if the original buyer has walked away from the sale.
This means that agents no longer have to initiate a new short sale if the buyer changes, Bank of America explained. Instead, agents can move ahead with the original transaction in the Equator system, BofA’s short sale technology platform of choice, and continue to work with the same short sale specialist.
Bank of America says this policy change will save its agents time by not having to repeat a number of process steps.
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