Negotiate Short Sales Better: Find the Investor

August 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Short Sale How To

Money Shirt 70

Short Sales Need Artful Negotiating

Negotiating a short sale requires an understanding of the process. When you submit the short sale package, you are dealing with a servicer, who collects the payments and administers the loan. They do not have as much “skin in the game” as the investor who owns the loan. So, you need to be able to involve the investor to get the right result.

How do you find the investor? You can ask the servicer. Sometimes they will not tell you if you ask “who is the investor”? However, some servicers like Bank of America have rules that if you ask a question that can be answered yes or no, they will answer. So, ask if the investor is Fannie Mae? If no, ask is the investgor Freddie Mac? You might get lucky.

The Internet provides an abundance of information. To see if the investor is Freddie Mac, go to and look it up. You can also call them at 1-800-FREDDIE (8am to 8pm EST). Similarly, to find out if the investor is Fannie Mae, go to or call them at 1-800-7FANNIE (8am to 8pm EST). This brings up some legal requirements.

In order to use the online services for Fannie or Freddie, you need written authorization from the borrower. So, include this in your letter of authorization that you get the seller to sign at the first meeting, so you are not only authorized to talk to the lender, but you are authorized to look up the investor on the Fannie, Freddie or any other website.

What if Fannie or Freddie are not the investor, which is a frequent even for luxury housing. Many servicers will not tell you who the investor is, possibly because they do not want the investor to know how poorly they are processing your short sale request.

However, many servicers have rules that require them to furnish the investor’s information if the borrower/seller requests that information in writing. So, add that to your letter of authorization, i.e. the borrower requests the lender to furnish you with the name, address, phone number and contact person for the investor who owns this loan.

Some commentators say that another way you can find the investor is to look them up in MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System. It allows borrowers to see which company manages and owns their loan. The site was made public as part of The Helping Families Save Their Home Act. The claim is that the site will inform borrower’s when the ownership of their loan changes. However, the only part of the site that is directed to homeowners allows you to check the servicer of your loan. How to check the owner is well hidden. So, if you can make this site work, please leave a comment on this post so we can share this service with everyone.

Why do you want this information? I was dealing with Bank of America/Countrywide on a California short sale. They were taking way too long to assign the request to a loss mitigation negotiator. Wells Fargo had the second loan on the property, and they had already assigned their short sale request to a negotiator, obtained a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) and were ready to negotiate a short payoff. Meanwhile, Bank of America/Countrwide is still waiting to get it to someone’s desk to order the BPO. On my weekly phone call, I made it clear to the “gatekeeper” that a written request to get the contact information for the private investor who owned the loan had been submitted. She found a way to order the BPO immediately to speed up the process. In other words, when the servicer knows that their client, the investor, will be looking into how the short sale is being processed, the servicer wants to make it look better.

If you want to get more tools for negotiating in real estate, look at my book, Create A Great Deal, the Art of Real Estate Negotiating by going to


17 Responses to “Negotiate Short Sales Better: Find the Investor”
  1. Alex Wong says:

    I am currently in the middle of a short sale as a buyer. Chase is the mortgage company on the property (there is a chase equity line on top of the 1st mortgage). It’s been 2 months since seller submitted the short sale package (or so I was told) and the seller’s attorney just informed me that it will take another 90 days. Does that sound normal? How does the seller attorney know it will take another 90 days? Is there anything I can do as the buyer to speed this process up?

    • Tim Burrell says:

      The attorney is probably relaying what they have been told by Chase. Unfortunately, this is a normal length of time, but the lag time is getting shorter. There is not much you can do to speed up the process, as you cannot talk to the lender, as only the seller and the listing agent (with the seller’s authorization) can talk to the lender. However, there are things the agent for the seller can do. Mention my website and point out this article about going to the investor or guarantor, and the other articles about calling the lender every week. You might buy my book, Create A Short Sale by going to and give it to the agent for the seller.

      • Lisa Armstrong says:

        @ Alex Wong, I am a short sale negotiator for a major banking institution and can tell you first hand that a lot of the lag time come from the individual that is representing you with your short sale tranasction.

        From my point of view I deal with a lot of not so smart agents that instead of getting whatever documents are being requested, they want to argue back and forth with the negotiator, send a lot of unnecessary emails, and send all the documents that were never requested.

        I would advise that you stay on whomever you obtain to represent you in your short sale transaction.

        People that are serious get results in less than 30 days, wise guys 6 months to a year.

        • Tim Burrell says:

          I can understand how you would see many situations where the agent is not on top of the game. Arguing with the negotiator is a waste of time, because they will not change what they want. Just send them what they want. As an agent you even have to accept sending the negotiator the same documents that you sent the week before when they cannot find them in the file. Just send them again. I have even had processors who wanted clearer copies of documents just to show that they could force me to send them, so we had to overnight them to all the parties instead of scanning and emailing. I would like to see more short sales take 30 days, as that is rare. However, it is interesting that this negotiator says that they can punish “wise guys” by making the process take a year.

  2. Betty says:

    Find out who owns your mortgage (as described above) and save your home:

  3. Awesome. Greetings from the Speedy DNS.

  4. branchenbuch says:

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  5. webdesin says:

    Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search.

  6. droid x case says:

    Proficient blog! I’ll probably be referencing some of this information in my next paper.

  7. quick loans says:

    Have you ever considered placing more clips to your site posts to keep the audience more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire post of yours and it was quite great but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more useful well let me know how it turns out!

  8. I just subscribed to your RSS feed, not sure if I did it properly though? Good article by the way.

  9. Thank you for that article.

  10. Angelo says:

    That is a very nice site
    thanks 4 that article.

  11. Browsergamer says:

    Thank you Tim Burrell for this great post. As a gamer I enjoyed reading it.

  12. good web site Tim! Thanks for the ideas & links to other useful sites!Talk to you soon!

  13. ?Negotiate Short Sales Better: Find the Investor | Real Estate
    Short Sales? was in fact actually entertaining and useful!

    In modern world that?s challenging to execute. Many thanks, Lorenza

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software