Oh man, there’s no rest for the weary!

When we were in the process of purchasing and renovating the 5745 house, we stopped pushing on the 4100 house because we didn’t want to end up with TWO houses to work on simultaneously.  Plus, we spent most of the money we had set aside for the 4100 house on the 5745 house….and needed to replenish those funds before we proceeded with purchasing the 4100 house.

Well, I got the call on Wednesday (10/24) that the 4100 Title is clear and the bank is ready to proceed with the sale/purchase.

Uh oh.


Made me feel a little sick.

I’m sooooo not ready to start working on another house.  Especially not in DECEMBER.  It’s a busy month with holidays, and it’s COLD, and it’s DARK.  Worst. Timing. Ever.

But ya just gotta roll with the flow, right?

But wait, there’s more!  And sadly, it’s not good….

We got the notice from the Title Co that the title is clear on Wednesday, right?  On Thursday we learned that Katie (the office assistant at Keller Williams who has been the primary person handling this transaction for the past 17 months) well, Katie no longer works there.  But that should be OK, right?  I’m sure she left everything all ready to go and her replacement (or John, the Listing Agent) will make it all happen.  So we give it a couple days.

On Monday we learn that Katie being gone is a bad thing.  John has had pretty much zero involvement (which we knew) and tells Scott (our agent) that he has no idea what is going on with the file and he’s sent it to a Short Sale Negotiator to take over….and in order for us to proceed, we need to use her (the Short Sale Negotiator) and she will be charging us $3,000 for her services.  Oh, and we’ll likely need to re-negotiate.

Um, hold up!  What??  We already have a contract in place, an agreed upon purchase/sale price, we already had a closing date ONCE and we’ve gotten re-approval every month and all we are waiting on is the clear title- and it’s CLEAR so what the freak is going on here??

I decide to plea with the Title gal to see if there’s anything SHE can do….I don’t think there is, but it never hurts.  I didn’t hear back from her, but I also didn’t expect to.

Then I call Bank of America to plea with them.  And that’s when I got the next piece of bad news.  They no longer hold the loan!  It was sold to GreenTree Servicing back in August!  WHAT!??!?  Wait!  How can that happen?

Here’s a timeline of what has taken place the past several months:

June 26th- the sellers bankruptcy is discharged, we just need to wait a few days for the file to update and the title to be clear.

June 28th- the title is mostly clear, still a couple items that need to fall off.

July 2nd- everyone is working on the file- still a couple items on the title- waiting for BK to become public record so they can review the file.

July 17th- receive a confirmation email from Katie that were are still the current buyers, the house is still for sale and our offer has been sent to the bank for approval- just waiting for those last 2 judgments to fall off.

July 25th- a copy of the BK is available- um, she did not include any of the liens on the 4100 house, nor did she even disclose that she owns that property!  The Title Co and both real estate agencies have legal teams looking at this.

We are told that the seller needs to re-file her BK and it will take a couple weeks.

Aug 2nd-  everyone is still working on the file, seller is cooperating, Katie has resubmitted the HUD-1 to the bank, should be any day now.

Sep 19th- receive a confirmation email from Katie that we are still the current buyers.  Those last two judgments are still on the title but are in the process of being removed.

Sep 30th- Scott requests a meeting, Katie responds that they are trying to get ahold of the sellers.

Oct 23rd- receive a preliminary title that shows it’s CLEAR and we can proceed!  Yay!

Then we find out that Bank of America no longer holds the loan, that Katie is gone and John has no idea what is going on, and they want us to pay money and re-negotiate.

I’m pissed.  I consult with an attorney (he is currently reviewing all our contracts) and also elevate this transaction with the CEO of the Keller Williams office that John & Katie work at.  Also have a call in with the Regional Director of Keller Williams- he is interested in reviewing this file.

Linda is the CEO and I sent her the following letter:

Hi Linda,

I’m hoping you can help me out. I have been trying to purchase my childhood home since May 2012; John Velez is the Listing Agent/Broker. I am seeking counsel to resolve this real estate transaction. I can provide you with a detailed timeline and email documentation of how this transaction has been handled over the past 17 months, but to sum up my main concerns quickly….

We are serious buyers. When the house was listed in May 2012, it was listed at $180,000. John told me that if I wanted to place an offer I had to do so immediately because other offers were in place and they were being submitted in a couple days. We offered $192,500, with $xxxx down. Our offer was signed and given to him on June 1st 2012. My agent told me that the read-receipt email wasn’t opened by him until 22 days later. He did not take the offer to the sellers until July 19th (48 days after we sent the offer to him).

Luckily, the first offer had fallen through and we were next in line. Our offer was accepted on 09/11/2012 with an acceptance letter from Bank of America and a closing date of 11/26/2012.

We paid for a home inspection and the home appraisal and made sure we had everything in line for closing.

Unfortunately, the title showed some liens/judgments that were unresolved, so the closing date fell through. For the next several months we were continually told “just another couple weeks”. We were also told that Bank of America kept granting extensions to the agreement.

Our most recent communication with the Keller Williams office on 08/02/13 stated that the new HUD-1 was submitted to the bank because the title should be clear any day.

On 9/19/2013 I received a confirmation from the Keller Williams office that indeed, we were still in first position and our offer has been accepted by the bank- but we are still pending a clear title. Everything is looking good!

We received notice from the Title Co on Wednesday 10/24/2013 (last week) that the title was finally clear! We were ready and eager to proceed- finally!

Sadly, Katie DiBartolo seemed to be the only person handling the transaction and we learned this past week that Katie is no longer working at that office.

We also learned yesterday that the seller’s loan was sold from Bank of America to GreenTree back on 08/13/2013!

How can that take place if we are in the middle of a purchase?

When my agent (Scott Osmon) spoke with John Velez yesterday to get an update, John told him that he has no knowledge of what has been taking place on this, that he has no paperwork, no file, and we need to start all over, by paying $3000 to a Short-Sale Negotiator?! That does not seem right. We already had a negotiated price and purchase/sales agreement in place!

We have spent so much time and effort on this making sure we had everything in line. I’m begging you to please help us.

Linda seems genuinely concerned and forwards this to Barb, a “Reviewing Broker” for immediate action.

I got a call last night from Scott- apparently John has been working on the file all afternoon and was working late last night!  Barb & John have requested to meet with me late this week so they can “explain how short sales work and explain why this has been taking so long and why we need to involve a Short Sale Negotiator”.  My response- I will not meet with John.   He can finish what was started, or he can meet with our attorney.  Although Scott suggested we leave off the “attorney” part for now- we don’t want to aggravate the situation, so we did, for now.  Scott basically told them that I do not want to meet, I just want the original file to proceed where it left off.

Scott has asked John to provide documentation of the HUD-1 submitted on 8/2 (supposedly) and of the approval that was quoted to us on 9/19.   If those files do not exist, we might have some legal leverage.  If those files DO exist, we might have some legal leverage.

Stay tuned!

Update: I got a call from Barb tonight after work. Our conversation was relatively brief.

 She said she is still gathering all the facts and looking through the “very thick” file and started to explain how short sales are complicated and so many aspects of it are out of the agent’s control….blah blah blah. I told her I understood that, that we knew it would be a lengthy process (although not THIS lengthy) and that a lot of the holdup was due to the judgments and liens on the title, but now that all of that has been cleared, we are eager to move forward.

 She then said that there’s conflicting information on when the loan was sold from Bank of America to GreenTree (one record shows it was back in May, another shows August). (Not my problem, and why does that matter to me???)

 She asked if we would meet with her next week so she could explain how the shortsale process works, and explain why this particular file is taking so long, and talk about the next steps. I told her the only meeting we are willing to have is the one where we sign an agreement to buy the house under the original terms and price. There’s no point in discussing what has happened, it’s done. The title is now clear and we just need to move forward.

 She mentioned the Short Sale Negotiator (the one that wants to charge us $3000 to proceed), saying that she is part of the GreenTree group and the negotiator is also doing a lot of research on this file. She started talking about how our old agreement technically expired in December of last year and how we would need to fill out all new paperwork because so much has changed during the past year. She didn’t say anything in particular that indicated a price increase or additional fees, but I could feel that she was steering me into a conversation that would lead to that.

 I commented that I’m aware that our “bank approval” expired in December, but that I had an attorney review the files and he said the agreement we have with the seller is still a legal binding agreement. I also commented that since we have an approval letter from Bank of America for a specific price, that GreenTree should also accept that same price. After a short pause, she replied with yes, that is correct.

 Her tone changed a bit after that and she asked for a few days to thoroughly review their files and said she would talk to the Short Sale Negotiator to see what she found and then get back to me on November 5th. She was apologetic that it would take so long to get back to me (??) I told her we weren’t in a particular RUSH to get the deal done, we just want to GET the deal done. I added that since our original offer we’ve incurred more expenses- with the seller no longer paying any closing costs, with the seller going in and removing things from the home that should have stayed with the home, with the home being vacant and closed up for over a year- the damages that can result from that.

 I reiterated that there should be no hold-up now that the title is clear and that we are willing to come in and sign new agreements as long as they contain the same terms and price.

I typed up that narrative within 10 minutes of talking to her and sent it to Scott. He was on the phone with her when he received it! Thankfully he was able to read my side while conversing with her, but we think we’ve nipped a couple things in the bud. He reiterated that no new agreement will be signed, that our current agreement stands and that they need to take the Bank of America approval to GreenTree and seek approval from them so we can move forward. We have the clear title and there’s no “negotiations” or new contracts needed. At that point Barb called John into her office and told him HE needs to get this wrapped up and since HE hired a Short Sale Negotiator when there was already a negotiated contract in place HE can pay those fees. They will not be paid by the seller, or the buyer, or by Scott or anyone else. (Silent big grin!)

Scott says we will put together a contract addendum that includes the Bank of America approval along with a brief narrative of the bankruptcy/judgement drama to document the timeline for that, to be sent to GreenTree in hopes they will honor our original price. (The risk of putting together a whole new agreement is that the seller, or John can turn it down. It will also null and void our previous agreements. NOT happening! The current agreement that I have with the seller is the GLUE that is holding this transaction together!)

I got a follow up email from her after her call with Scott that basically said this email serves as her November 5th update, that she can’t say what the final outcome will be, but that I have a strong advocate in Scott and that John is an excellent and ethical Realtor and she wishes us the best and hopes we are successful in acquiring the property.

(Stay tuned again!)