Make us your home page
Instagram

Few take advantage of Bank of America pilot short-sale program

Only about 3,000 Florida home­owners want to sell their houses in a short-sale program after Bank of America dangled cash payouts of $5,000 to $20,000 to avoid going into foreclosure.

The bank had targeted 20,000 homeowners in Florida in the pilot program. The lender services 1.1 million Florida mortgages and about 253,000 were delinquent at the end of October.

The short-sale program, announced in October, has riled some homeowners because Bank of America will not tell them how much money they will receive until the sales are nearly complete, real estate agents say.

"The bank is not putting in writing how much homeowners will get until the end," said Steve Capen, a short-sale specialist with Keller Williams Realty. "By that time, homeowners have entered into a contract to sell. We're going to have issues. Customers are going to be upset."

The deadline to apply for the program was Dec. 12.

With foreclosures taking nearly two years in Florida, delinquent homeowners might have rejected the cash offer because they could live rent free in their homes. While the bank evicts them in court, a homeowner could stash cash each month for moving expenses that would top the bank's offer.

For some delinquent homeowners, the cash offer may not be worth having to vacate the property and find another place to live.

In the program, qualified home­owners would get 5 percent of the unpaid mortgage balance as of August 2011, with a minimum payout of $5,000, Bank of America said. For instance, a homeowner who owed $100,000 as of August would get $5,000. A homeowner who owed $200,000 would get $10,000. And so on up to a maximum of $20,000. The sales price does not impact the payout.

Bank of America could not provide specific numbers for the program, but in a statement said it is "encouraged by the initial interest shown in the program."

Gunner Davis, an agent with Century 21 Beggins Enterprises in Apollo Beach, said the bank has imposed restrictions on income, employment and loan status that impact the cash payouts. Many sellers can get the $5,000 minimum payment, but he expects few to collect the maximum $20,000.

"I don't see how anyone . . . will get the $20,000," Davis said.

Currently, the program is only available in Florida but could be expanded to other states.

To sweeten the deal further, the lender said it would consider waiving the deficiency on the mortgages, which allows homeowners to sell the house for less than they owe without having to make up the difference to the bank. It can save homeowners thousands of dollars. The deals must close by Aug. 31.

Not every Florida customer is eligible for the program. Bank of America targeted homeowners who cannot afford their mortgages. The bank tested the program only in Florida because of the higher foreclosure rates here than elsewhere.

Andrew Duncan, CEO of Re/Max Dynamic in South Tampa, said the Bank of America program has been easier to navigate than other lender programs. Homeowners are getting answers quicker from the bank after receiving an offer on a home, he said.

He added: "It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it's been pretty positive."

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Few take advantage of Bank of America pilot short-sale program 12/28/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 8:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  2. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.
  3. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers, thousands of concealed weapons holders

    Corporate

    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people and information about thousands of concealed weapons holders were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson …

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  4. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

    Energy

    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary

    Banking

    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]