Are banks overwhelmed and understaffed for all the work coming out of the housing bust? On June 24, Ciitgroup said it was temporarily suspending new loans brought to them by independent mortgage brokers as it seeks to fix “quality control” issues regarding loan documentation. Rob Jenson, a real estate agent with the Jenson Group in Las Vegas says he’s been trying for eight months to get Bank of America to approve the sale of house for less than the loan amount, a so-called short sale that banks say they are working more diligently to accommodate. “It’s insane,” Jenson says. “It’s getting worse.”
The house Jenson is having problems selling was originally listed for $795,000 in November. It’s a five bedroom, 4,500 square foot home in the Vegas suburb of Summerlin. Jenson immediately got a full-price, all-cash offer which he submitted to the bank late last year. “It took two to three weeks to get a workout negotiator,” he says. “Then they order an appraisal, additional documents from the seller.” Two months later the bank said okay to $795,000, but by then the buyer had moved on.
That started the process all over again. Jenson brought in another buyer, but this one needed to get a loan. By then the house had fallen in value. The property appraised at only $747,000 and the buyer couldn’t get a mortgage for the higher purchase price.
Jenson said the bank negotiator he’s been dealing with said she’s got 145 files that she is working on at once. “Bank could create some jobs,” a frustrated Jenson says. “They should hire more negotiators.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.