Sovereign Bank Has Kept My Home In Short Sale Limbo For Almost Two Years

As anyone who watches enough house-hunting shows on HGTV is aware, the short sale process can sometimes drag on for several months as the bank that holds the mortgage drags its feet on approving the sale and reviewing paperwork. But one reader tells Consumerist her home has been under contract for a short sale since November 2010 because Sovereign Bank takes so long to process the paperwork that by the time it finishes, it needs to start all over again with more up-to-date documents.

Lauren tells Consumerist that the short sale came about after she spent a year trying unsuccessfully to renegotiate her mortgage with Sovereign.

“It was a year of lost paperwork, lost files, and no return calls,” she writes, adding that even though she responded to every one of Sovereign’s document requests within 24 hours, the bank “eventually declined our request for a re-negotiation citing lack of paperwork from us.”

And so they moved on to the short sale, and not long after the property went into contract in 2010, Lauren moved out in anticipation of closing the deal.

She writes:

Early on in the short sale process, we had gotten as far as the bank ordering a BPO [Broker’s Price Opinion]. They declined the offer, then the buyer made a counter offer. They seemed to think this was going to be acceptable, but by that time, the paperwork had expired. The paperwork expires every 3 months, but it takes them longer than 3 months to review the paperwork — every time it gets up for review, its expired!

Since then, Lauren claims she has been around this paperwork terror-go-round six separate times.

“Our paperwork is about to expire again,” she tells Consumerist. “At which point we need updated BPOs, an update HUD closing statement, updated bank statements, and we need to re-send all the other docs again.”

Lauren says Sovereign told her it’s the bank’s policy to not save paperwork once it has expired, so even those items that haven’t changed since the last time still need to be re-faxed.

And it looks like one recent rule change intended to streamline the process has only steered her into a dead end.

See, mortgage servicers are now required to provide a dedicated contact person to homeowners like Lauren, so that they don’t have to constantly re-explain their situation to someone new.

However, Lauren says that in the last three months alone, she has actually had to deal with four separate “single point of contact” people at Sovereign.

Yet, in spite of this revolving door at Sovereign, the bank has thus far refused to let Lauren speak to someone at a supervisory level, citing the “single point of contact” rule.

“We do not see any end,” she tells Consumerist. “Our real estate agent says he completes short sales all the time in 30 days, 60 at most.”

We’ve written to Sovereign to see if anyone at the bank is willing to at least review Lauren’s situation to see if there is anything that can be done to free her and her house from short sale limbo. If we hear anything back, we’ll be sure to update.

We’ve also suggested the Lauren file a complaint via the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s mortgage portal.